One program. Three hubs. Borderless access.
Applications for 2021 Program is now closed. You can join our upcoming events.
The Visa Innovation Program is an equity-free pilot-centered collaboration platform spanning across Southeast Europe. The program enables fintechs to solve payment and commerce challenges of tomorrow, further enhance their own product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners.
We are looking for the best and brightest companies to address our challenges. The applicants need to provide proven solutions to drive innovation and technological advancement for Visa and Visa’s clients.
If you believe your company addresses one or more of the challenges, you are welcome to apply and become part of the Visa Innovation family.
Accelerate SMEs post COVID-19 pandemic recovery with digital solutions
- Support SMEs for opening/growing e-commerce businessInnovate across digital onboarding process chain
- Proliferate soft POS use cases with enhanced UI
- Bring best of both worlds, online & instore shopping , under hybrid UX
- Help SMEs grow business through credit/instalments with innovative models (ex. Buy now, pay later models)
- Leveraging PSD2 to allow every SME to become a fintech company
Move cash-intensive payments on the card rails
- Migrate cash dependent B2B, C2B or B2C payments on card rails, e.g. procurement platforms, merchant charge backs etc. stepping on Visa Direct, B2C connect etc.
- Move gig-economy payments (i.e. from employer to gig-workers) on card rails.
- Innovate solutions building on Visa’s vision on becoming network of networks, e.g. RTP/A2A, blockchain/distributed ledger, cryptocurrency, etc.
Introduce new type of payment experiences and infrastructure for the post-plastic world
- Create financial inclusion and innovative propositions for millennials, un/underbanked, citizens subject to government support
- Design aggregated retail banking proposition platforms, e.g. individuals’ management of cash flow, personal finances, investments, savings, etc.
- Imagine innovative solutions to digitalize governments payments, i.e. payments to government and disbursements from government
- Digitalize end user experience (e.g. digital card issuance, automated credit scoring, instalments, credit at check-out, buy now & pay later)
- Create value-added services to enable Visa’s network partners (e.g. fraud management - AML, cybersecurity, digital issuance, payment credentials e.g.)
Help governments in embedding payment as part of their digital city experience design efforts
- Leverage on open data to roll our digital-first, interconnected, services for tourists and locals in the area of urban mobility, public administration and utilities
- Improve the safety and wellbeing for the visitors and local communities via digital tools
- Simplify public services’ access and usage in the post-Covid era
If your team has already completed a proof of concept related to the proposed challenges or has a market-ready solution, you are the right fit for the Visa Innovation Program.
See all mentors here.
Hackquarters is the leading startup accelerator and corporate innovation partner, based in London and Istanbul, combining superb global reach with deep local knowledge. Founded in 2015, Hackquarters is connecting the most promising startups with the leading innovative companies. Hackquarters has engaged with over 10,000 startups from 100+ countries; of which 800 are currently part of various programs.Visit Hackquarters Programs
Visa is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.About Visa
This website and the innovation program is operated by Hackquarters in Turkey. Your relationship is with Hackquarters and applications are made to them. You should only submit publicly available information as the information you submit during your application will not be treated as confidential information. If you are selected, your involvement in the program is conditional on you signing the Innovation Program Terms and Conditions, which form a binding contract between you and Hackquarters. Visa sponsors the program and may be involved in selection of participants, but Visa accepts no responsibility for the operation of the website or Innovation Program. For the avoidance of doubt, Hackquarters is not acting as an agent of Visa and has no authority to make commitments on behalf of Visa. As Hackquarters, we hereby notify you as a Data Controller that, according to Turkish Personal Data Protection Law No. 6698 (the "Data Protection Law"), your personal data, including name, e-mail and phone information to be applied in Turkey and shared by you upon our request as relevant, limited and proportional to the purposes for which the data are processed, will be processed with the purposes of the operation in Turkey required by the program you applied, subject to the terms and conditions set out in the Turkish Data Protection Law and other laws to the purposes for which the data are processed.
What do you provide to the participating companies?
Partnership opportunities with potential clients and partners across Visa’s global network
Region-wide market access into SEE
Masterclasses, design sprints, PoC and pilot support and peer to peer gatherings for practical knowledge exchange
Diverse mentor network involving Visa, Eleven, Crowdpolicy, Hackquarters global fintech industry luminaries and bank expertsAccess to global VCs and angel investors
Networking and exposure to international events and conferences
Latest APIs from Visa Developers Platform to supercharge your product
Opportunity for EUR 100K convertible note or a larger investment by Eleven, considered on a case-by-case basis.
What are the main phases of the Program?
Pre-program phaseThe Selection Jury will review your application to get acquainted with your product / solution and team, and will evaluate potential matches with Visa/Visa Clients. It will also do an active scouting to find prospective candidates. In case initial fit is identified, you might be invited to an interview - the main objective is to validate your interest in participating in the Program and examine the mutual interest for further collaboration throughout the Program Core Phase.
Core program phase (3 + 3)Main course (up to 3 months)During the Main course of the Program (up to 3 months; non-residential), you will enter a carefully crafted bunch of workshops, mentoring sessions, networking and design sprints, anchoring Visa’s design thinking methodology and will work to elevate your business model to better fit the defined market challenges. The Program’s objective is to have you in perfect shape and ready to examine future pilot opportunities with Visa/ Visa Clients with your product/solution being integrated into their offering.The Main course’s schedule is tailored, depending on your/your mentors’ engagements and does not require you to be full time engaged with the Program within this period.PoC Support (up to 3 months)After the Main course, you will be entering in the PoC Support phase (another 3 months), where Program mentors in residence will guide you to approach the proof-of-concept (PoC) phase faster. You will be working side by side with experienced entrepreneurs who will help you to navigate with speed and ease the enterprise environment.
Post-program engagementAfter the end of the Core program, you might be selected by Visa/Visa Client to launch a pilot. No matter the outcome, you will become part of our Visa Innovation Program family where we will further engage your team in community activities, bringing many business opportunities and fellow entrepreneurs for mutual support.
Do you engage with teams and projects from Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey only?
No. In fact, we see true fintech innovation potential throughout the whole CEE region. Feel free to apply even if you are a company based outside ofTurkey, Bulgaria or Greece.
Just have in mind that some of the Program’s activities take place locally in Istanbul, Sofia, Athens, if the situation allows.
Do you offer a coworking space?
Due to pandemic the Program will be held online; though we provide nomadic membership in Kolektif House as per request.
Do you offer accommodation for teams travelling from different countries or cities?
No. We can’t offer any accommodation options for the participants.
Still, we may recommend some trusted service providers for finding long-term or short-term accommodation.
If I am a solo-founder do I need a team in order to join the program?
We do strongly believe that a capable team is what makes or breaks a successful startup company. Thus, we are looking for teams with diverse skillset, market expertise and entrepreneurial spirit.
Is there a fee for participating in the program?
The program is completely free of charge for the participating companies and there is NO fee or equity stakeholding associated with taking part in the activities.
Where is the Visa Innovation Program taking place?
The activities associated with the Visa Innovation Program take place primarily online, due to the COVID situation.
Who can participate?
1- Startups and scale ups having a market-tested solution
2- An experienced team with an entrepreneurial spirit
3- A solution addressing one of our ‘areas to reinvent
4- Committed and dedicated founders, ready to lead future pilot-centred project
Who runs/initiated the Visa Innovation Program?
The Visa Innovation Program is a collaborative initiative between Visa and the local partners in Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece respectively Hackquarters, Eleven and Crowdpolicy.
Would you support a project that only targets the local market, but is very good and can be very profitable?
As a general rule, we believe the most successful startups will be easily scalable and can target global markets. In the beginning, you may be piloting with national clients, but we are looking for global growth ambition.