The Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a globally open innovation program is inviting fintech and payment startups to showcase their innovative products and solutions, with finalists gaining firsthand exposure to key fintech stakeholders across banking, merchant, VC, and government sectors. Winners of the competition will be awarded monetary prizes and stand the opportunity to partner with a globally trusted brand like Visa.
This year’s program includes startups that are using cryptocurrency and Visa Direct- a payment solution that can help businesses move money to billions of endpoints worldwide via card and account rails, in innovative ways. Finalists from across the world that are driving economic growth will converge in Qatar this November for the VEI finals.
“Fintechs and other payments innovators are transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments, making it easier for more people to access the money they need when they need it – and the pandemic has seen this become more critical than ever,” said Corine Mbiaketcha, Vice President and Regional Manager, East Africa.
Past editions of VEI have given some of the most promising innovators in the payments space a shot at accelerating their growth. Mookh Africa, a tech startup based in Kenya, won the overall prize at the 2018 edition of the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Visa Everywhere Initiative, as well as the Social Business Payment Challenge. In 2021, Arifpay, a universal mobile Point of Sales (mPOS) platform designed for use by merchants, banks, and consumers in Ethiopia, won the Ethiopian edition of the competition and was a finalist at the CEMEA edition.
“Competing on a global stage alongside some of the most prestigious startups in the world and, more importantly, being able to receive that global exposure and support from a trusted brand like Visa was an exceptional achievement for PAYZE,” said Giorgi Tsurtsumia, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of PAYZE as well as 2021 VEI CEMEA Winner. PAYZE is an e-commerce-oriented fintech that enables businesses across CIS countries to accept payments from around the world through a single integration. With the support of Visa’s network and a cash prize of $25,000, the PAYZE team is busy fulfilling their vision, having processed more than 250,000 transactions across 2021.
Deep Dive Africa is back: bringing together investors and startups
The competition also saw Karachi-based fintech, Safepay, win the CEMEA Audience Favorite award and US$10,000 in prize money. Safepay specializes in secure payment processing for e-commerce stores and helps merchants increase checkout conversions, expedite receivables, and streamline sales by allowing their customers to pay online.
The VEI network includes 8,500 startups from around the world, and this number continues to grow every year. Since its launch in 2015, the program has helped startups from over 100 countries collectively raise more than $2.5 billion in funding, addressing one of the biggest challenges faced by early-stage entrepreneurs. Every year, the scope of VEI is expanded to engage with unique startups and solve unique problems in the world of payments.
This year, the program will have a clear focus on CEMEA, a region with tremendous opportunity for fintech that is developing innovative products and solutions aimed at supporting the community. The latest edition of VEI sees two new editions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the global finale in Qatar in November 2022.
VEI is seeking innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs who are uplifting communities by solving payment and commerce challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and sectors, including:
Enablers of digital services and digital issuers
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency
- BIN sponsors
- Program managers
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency
- Alternative lending
- Personal financial management
- Money transfer and remittance
- Digital banking (aka neo banks)
- Digital wallets, peer-to-peer (P2P), and transfers
- Employee benefits
- Corporate cards (aka expense management)
Value-add for merchants and/or consumers in the finance space
- Data and analytics
- ID, authentication, and security
- Merchant services and tools
- Process and payment infrastructure
- Retail technology
Small- and medium-sized businesses
- Money movement (disbursements, Intra-account, P2P vendor, and payments)
- Acceptance (e-commerce and mobile acceptance)
- Risk management (chargebacks, etc.)
- Brand management (Community building, etc.)
Visa does not acquire any equity from Visa Everywhere Initiative competitors as part of this competition.