At Mobile World Congress 2017, Visa announced that the Everywhere Initiative, an innovation program designed to encourage the development of the “next big thing” in payments, will expand into Europe. Entrants in Visa’s first-ever European Everywhere Initiative will have the opportunity to compete for a chance to win up to €50,000 to support a development program with Visa, or through business partnership with Visa’s clients, and potentially have access to Visa APIs, executive mentors and technologists. In addition to this new European program, Visa will also continue to host its Everywhere Initiatives in North America, Latin America and Asia in 2017.
“In a highly dynamic industry, Visa’s Everywhere Initiative allows us to explore a host of ideas that solve business challenges, influence our product roadmaps, support our customers, and shape our culture of innovation,” said Shiv Singh, senior vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa Inc. “Every time we expand this program into a new region, we aim to attract talented entrepreneurs with fantastic ideas to the payments space, and we hope to see similar great outcomes in the European market in the months ahead.”
Beginning in March 2017, Visa will invite eligible participants in Europe to submit their business solutions that apply to one of the following three briefs:
- Local Community Challenge: How can digital payment technologies help create products that connect people and enrich local communities?
- Regional Intercity Challenge: How can mobile technologies and connected devices transform the experience of intercity travel?
International Travel Challenge: How can new products and services, based on Visa APIs, deliver a more seamless international travel experience?
Live Competition at Mobile World Congress
To introduce the first-ever European Everywhere Initiative, Visa is hosting a live competition at Mobile World Congress on February 27, with five emerging technology companies competing for a €25,000 cash prize. These companies include:
- Biowatch: Allows NFC payment and authentication based on vein pattern technology via a Bluetooth-enabled watch. Biowatch is based in Switzerland.
- Maintool: Develops smart straps which, when attached to any watch, tracks a persons’ body vitals. Maintool is based in France.
- Evopark: Helps consumers quickly find parking spaces in surrounding parking garages, with a simple monthly payment option. Evopark is based in Germany.
- Wia: Offers a cloud-based platform for IoT solutions, with scalable back-end services like server management, data replication, and storage. Wia is based in Ireland.
- Kwik: Provides a Wi-Fi-based connected button which allows consumers to instantly buy products and services from merchants and other service providers. Kwik is based in Israel.
Judges of the competition include Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Operations; Jean-Claude Deturche, senior vice president at Gemalto; Mark Antipof, chief officer of client engagement at Visa; Avin Arumugam, senior vice president of Internet of Things at Visa; and Shiv Singh, senior vice president innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa.
Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is an innovation program designed to encourage the “next big thing” in payments, as the payments industry shifts from plastic to digital and new entrants join traditional stakeholders in payments. The program first launched in the U.S. in 2015 and to-date, nearly 1,000 start-ups have collectively raised $1.7 billion in funding, with ultimately 60 finalists and 14 winners selected.