It is a great honor for us to deliver the 3rd Cohort of the Visa Innovation Program successfully. During the program, we’ve recorded lots of PoCs between the startups and the corporate stakeholders of the program (Visa and partner institutions). The demo day, which took place on December 1st, was a blessing experience for all stakeholders of the Visa Innovation Program. Thanks to all hubs that run the program, CrowdPolicy from Greece, 11 Ventures from Bulgaria, and Hackquarters from Turkey. Congrats to all program partners who did an excellent job working to make our partnership with Visa a success.
Moderated by Mihaela Savova and Martin Valchev, the demo day opened with the welcoming speech given by Todor Nikolov, who is Senior Business Development Manager at Visa. “We are delighted that we have seen more than 40 PoCs arising from the program so far. Those PoCs are real pilots who turn into real partnerships that create much better ecosystems. Bringing experienced payment professionals and these innovative startups together, the influence of this regional program is going far beyond the region.”
The demo day schedule consisted of fintech startups’ pitches, our mentor Selim Yüksel, Vice President of Akbanks Innovation Center’s talk on why they collaborate with startups, and 3 discussion panels with Visa Innovation Program partners in which Hackquarters COO Sabina Babayeva was the moderator. After the keynote speech from Marni Kruppa, Head of Fintech Europe, Visa, the event continued with a fireside chat on the art of fundraising and finally, the path to the land of unicorns between Hackquarters Founder Kaan Akın and Payhawk Co-founder& CEO Hristo Borisov.
In the keynote speech about the current path of Payment Trends, Marni Kruppa shared valuable insights on global payment and the fintech ecosystem. “Covid-19 has affected the world in unprecedented ways. This global pandemic influenced considerable economic shifts amongst consumers. These changes should be integrated as effective levers to better engage with consumers. Covid accelerated key payment trends and pushed businesses to adopt. E-commerce leaps forward by several years. A2A gains momentum, and open banking introduces new products and services. The rise of Crypto/Stablecoins is inescapable. “Buy-now-pay-later” experiences significant growth. The popularity of digital wallets is increasing.”
When it came to the fireside chat between Kaan Akın and Hristo Borisov, the journey of Payhawk was on the stage. Hristo shared numerous invaluable insights on how to grow a startup at each stage and execute fundraising processes. It was an exciting point that Payhawk was rejected by 42 investors while raising seed capital, but convincing the investors took just eight days for Series-B. “You don’t need to be a profitable business from day-1. Like the Amazon example, you can focus on your market share and growth; you can care about profitability. Business decisions have three layers. The first layer is the ground layer, and it is your business philosophy: the vision of your company and your mindset. The second layer is your daily management decisions. The third is the final actions on the customers: your image and visibility. You have the right to make mistakes for the second one; you can take bullshit daily management decisions, but you cannot make a mistake for the first and the third layers. This might ruin your business.”
Here are Hackquarters’ startups who pitched during the event;
Finedine: FineDine is an AI-driven digital ordering and restaurant management platform that helps restaurant operators increase sales and customer engagement by using deep learning & data-driven insights.
Fintegre: Fintegre is an affordability solutions platform. We provide those services in 5 verticals; consumer Finance, ınsurance, buyback & trade-in, rental & subscription programs, closed-loop marketplace.
HASO: HASO is a “Buy-now-pay-later, customer and risk management platform with a merchant and consumer front end.
Norma: Digital banking and financial management platform for Freelancers, Sole-traders and Micro-SMEs
Paratic: Paratic provides cash management software solutions. It allows all banks to be managed from a single platform.
Soliclub: Soliclub is a single application for access control and payment systems.
Participants voted for funny, special prizes during the event for The Mars Conqueror, The Salvage Startup, and The Unicorn Startup (of the future).
And the winners were:
The Mars Conqueror: Finqware from Romania
The Salvage Startup: Fintegre from Turkey
The Unicorn Startup: Paratic from Turkey