How startups can work together with a bank to disrupt the fintech industry, hand to hand

Marisol Menendez 05
Quite interesting opportunity if you are a fintech startup or an company with innovative ideas that might contribute to the banking industry’s evolution and transformation (such as big data, security, e-commerce, commercial intelligence, marketing tools, loyalty programs, IoT, APIs and others).

BBVA just launched its seventh edition of BBVA Open Talent.

We asked more information to Marisol Menéndez Álvarez, in charge of Open Innovation at BBVA.

Marisol, what’s the main goal of BBVA Open Talent?

At BBVA, we are committed to innovation. We have been partnering with entrepreneurs for over seven years now. We have a passion for discovering and promoting talent from whom we can learn and share knowledge.

How does BBVA Open Talent actually work?

We want to apply the learnings and experience with entrepreneurs from past editions, to bring the most ambitious and the most mature edition to date. The competition is an open innovation, interaction and joint contribution exercise for the bank in which startups will have a great opportunity to win €180,000 in cash prizes and a 2 non-consecutive weeks in an immersion program, visiting Mexico and London. During these two weeks, winners will be able to meet people from some of the best companies in the fintech ecosystem, the will meet with VC’s, angel investors, potential customers, they will have the opportunity to use BBVA’s contacts to their benefit…and the most important: work together with BBVA to disrupt the fintech industry, hand to hand.

Which startups are you targeting?

We are targeting innovative fintech projects in areas like mobile banking, payments and money transfers, cryptonetworks, alternative lending, risk analysis, wealth and investment management, financial inclusion and education, fraud management… but also related ideas that contribute to the industry’s evolution and transformation, such as big data, security, e-commerce, commercial intelligence, marketing tools, loyalty programs, IoT, APIs and others. Our goal is to establish a lasting relationship with innovative startups so that together we can change the world of finance.

Any specific requirements startups have to meet in order to be eligible to participate in BBVA Open Talent?

Yes, we are looking for startups:

  • Founded after April 1, 2011
  • Less than 1 Million Euros of Revenues in 2014
  • Less than 1,5 Million Euros of investment in 2014
  • With a working Beta or product.

How and when to apply?

Startups must apply to the competition not later than July 13th. More information in, application here 

What are the next steps after application?

20 finalists of each region (USA and rest of the world, Europe and Latin-America) will be announced on August 7th. All finalists will pitch in the region finals to a crowd comprised of venture capitalists, angel investors, local entrepreneurs, traditional finance/banking professionals, and last but not least, executives from BBVA along with coverage from local and national press. In addition, as reward only for being finalist, they will spend the day before the competition meeting with BBVA decision makers (including but not limited to team members from Innovation, Ventures, Digital M&A, Internal Venturing and Business Development).


Then a great opportunity to disrupt the banking industry. And doing it with a bank like BBVA is even more interesting.

FYI, BBVA is a global bank with operations in more than 30 countries and over $600B in assets, with leading roles in Spain and Mexico.

BBVA has embarked on a bold transformational strategy to become the world’s first digital global bank, making movements as the creation of a $100M fintech focused venture fund, acquiring Simple, Madiva, Spring Studio, investing in Coinbase…and recently giving another one more step to consolidate his digital transformation: Carlos Torres Vila, former head of digital banking, has been announced as the new CEO. BBVA Open Talent is a huge example of this innovative spirit of the bank and open innovation efforts.

BBVA is Corporate Founding Member of Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), the pan-European open innovation platform promoted by the European Commission and driven by Mind the Bridge Foundation.