BBVA Open Talent awards entrepreneurs in Switzerland
The country’s Open Talent Final at the Zurich Impact Hub in the trendy Zurich West district went as punctually as Swiss clockwork. Jointly organized with Seedstars and Open Innovation, Switzerland’s first ever edition of the event was a success in terms of turnout and certainly lived up to all the hype. Entrepreneurship, enthusiasm and innovation pervaded throughout event, which was evident during the final project lunch, where attendees had a moment to share their impressions and ideas.
Alfonso Gómez opened the event and emphasized how proud BBVA was to welcome the Swiss entrepreneurs, many of them hailing from renowned universities such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) or the University of Zurich, both European benchmarks in research and innovation with over 30 Nobel prizewinners in their classrooms.
Alfonso mentioned that “BBVA is looking for the best entrepreneurs to work together at this present juncture of change and transformation.” He has also thanked Seedstars for helping organize the event.
Following the scheduled agenda, Business Development Director Javier Rubio unveiled the Open Talent key “BBVA runs this event to discover the best startups that will help us design the future of financial services and improve the lives of people and companies.”
Finally, he invited the winner to participate in the Open Summit in Madrid on 16 and 17 October, and get a firsthand glimpse of BBVA’s innovation ecosystem.
The final consisted of a five-minute presentation for each project and a round of questions per participant. The finalists were: (I add some notes in English on their respective presentations, which you might find useful).
- Speaker: Francesco de Santis, Chief Marketing Officer
- Brings the highest financial standards to equity crowdfunding: blockchain, security. Located in the Crypto Valley of Zug
- Speaker: Rodrigo Amandi, Chief Operating Officer
- Algorithm to provide intelligent advice on wealth planning, to finds the perfect portfolio
- A tool available both wealth advisors and clients: Robo-advisor
- Speaker: Stefan Benkert, Chief Executive Officer
- Crowdfunding platform, Swiss Marketplace lending
- Speaker: Michael Kaimakliotis, Chief Executive Officer
- Investment suite plus complete set of technologies. Alternative platform to classic Wealth Management
- Speaker: Douglas Azar, Chief Executive Azar
- Specialized platform in Non-bankable assets
- 50% of customer assets are not with banks, but in Real estate, art, passion investments and business deals
- They will include a blockchain layer to enhance security.
While the jury was deliberating
- Solid regulations
- Attractive tax rates
- Location at the heart of Europe
Switzerland faithfully mixes tradition -heritage, insurance and sustainable financing- and innovation -data, artificial intelligence and cryptology-
Traditional banking versus fintech
The guests for this panel were:
Charlie Graham-Brown: Seedstars
Ralph Hartmeier: Swisscom Kickbox
Javier Rubio: BBVA
Rik Krieger: Sonect
The panelists shared some interesting reflections with the audience on the future relationship of traditional banking and fintechs. In particular, Javier Rubio from BBVA commented on “the great opportunity posed by the banking transformation, since it calls for new ideas and professionals in the sector who possess new ‘skills’ and are ready to take on major challenges” .
He particularly pointed out an example of telecommunications companies, which have been going through an arduous business model transformation in recent years to become completely revamped companies using technology to streamline the creation of new products for marketing across new digital channels.
In response to an audience member’s question on his opinion regarding the Swiss regulation, he answered that “the regulation has come to stay and we need to find a way to turn it into an opportunity by adapting it to our business model.”
To conclude the panel, Javier said that collaboration between technology companies and fintechs is the key to the future. He set ‘BBVA Valora’ as a model and “the best example of collaboration between a startup and a bank to create a new innovative product.”
After an interesting round of questions, Alfonso Gómez presented the prize. The winner of Switzerland’s first Open Talks was Credit Gate 24, a company specialized in financing private individuals and companies, connecting offer and demand via its proprietary digital ‘Marketplace’.
BBVA Open Talks, the Swiss final of Open Talent, has been a success in its organization and has enabled BBVA in Switzerland to establish a relationship with local entrepreneurs. The event will undoubtedly mark a before and after in the ecosystem of BBVA for the search for innovation with the start-ups of the Alpine country.