Visa Europe has not only opened the physical doors of its new international innovation hub in London, the payments network also is opening its figurative doors to working with companies across the fintech ecosystem to create what it calls a new generation of payment services.
The innovation hub, Visa Europe Collab, provides entrepreneurs and innovators with the insight, tools and connections Visa Europe has built through “50 years of industry expertise as well as the connections and scale offered by more than 3,000 European member banks and financial organizations,” according to an announcement. The purpose of the hub, which also will have locations in Tel Aviv, Israel and Berlin, is to bring the ideas of startups from conception to the commercial world.
Visa Europe Collab plans to take a minimum of 20 ideas during its first year through a “100-day innovation funnel,” from market testing and design to proof of concept. The best new validated and commercially viable services will become services that can be rolled out to Visa member banks, retailers and consumers throughout Europe.
“It’s not about acquiring startups or buying stakes. Instead, we’re giving Europe’s most innovative companies access to the mentoring, services and R&D of a community of like-minded organizations that want to transform the relationship citizens have with payments,” said Steve Perry, founder and co-creator of Visa Europe Collab.
Creating innovation labs and programs have been fashionable within the payments industry, likely because innovation has become so important in the industry. For example, MasterCard opened a technology hub in New York City last October, and American Express accepted submissions last year for its Financial Innovation Lab, which provides researchers and practitioners from nonprofit organizations the opportunity to test their ideas on the American Express Serve prepaid account platform. Also, Citi last year launched Citi Mobile Challenge, a global competition to facilitate concepts among technology developers surrounding mobile banking and payments.
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