On June first we celebrate the International Children’s Day. For three teams (in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey) it was the day to present to the larger SEE fintech community our 3-year-old project, the Visa Innovation Program, which during the past year and a half became bigger, bolder and borderless.
For those of you landing for the first time on our page – in 2018 there were three separate fintech programs, supported by Visa, launched in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey – that existed as standalone platforms until 2020. The purpose behind them was to nurture the establishment, support the development and catalyse the growth of local fintech startups, as well as to engage them with the larger finance ecosystem (Visa, banks, non-banking financial players), the merchants and the governments. Thus, creating opportunities and innovative products and services for the end consumers and the businesses to be presented on the local markets.
2020 brought us many challenges, however, the strategic vision and the combined power of the teams of Eleven Ventures (Bulgaria), Crowdpolicy (Greece) and Hackquarters (Turkey) resulted in the creation of one consolidated, borderless platform offering endless possibilities for the fintech community in Europe. And despite the fact that we are positioned in SEE and often talk about this region and its capabilities, the latest edition of the Visa Innovation Program proved that in the fintech sector borders no longer exist.
In 2021, Season 3 of the Visa Innovation Program started in an impressive way – attracting more than 190 companies from all over the world, which applied to join our network. Out of those, we accepted 18 companies operating in payments, smart cities, personal finance, open banking, and investing to become part of our now regional program!
All of this led to our Borderless Day – the first regional initiative bringing together startups, banks, financial institutions, investors and other supporters from Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Overall, we had a total of about 150 participants joining from across Europe!
The first part of the event was dedicated to present the new additions to the Visa Innovation Program family – those 18 companies we mentioned above. You can read more about them here. Other than that, there were some great insights shared by the program’s local partners: Daniel Tomov from Eleven (Bulgaria), Kaan Akin from Hackquarters (Turkey) and George Karamanolis from Crowdpolicy (Greece). They spoke about the importance of VCs in corporate innovation, how to make a business global, as well as utilizing the banking infrastructure in the right way.
In the second part of the event, we facilitated a total of 71 meetings between the startups and the participating banks and investors, out of which 29 were about cross-border opportunities. The meetings were organized in a speed-dating manner, and explored countless PoC and investment opportunities among the attendees.
Some of the banks and investors who met with our companies
Watch Our Borderless Day
If you’ve missed the online session, we recommend that you watch the full video below and experience it firsthand!
And to Wrap This Article Up
We’ve never imagined that getting bigger, bolder, borderless can be so enjoyable and we are excited to be on this journey! Starting strong and united, we are looking forward to a great third season full of opportunities!
So stay tuned…