Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 01, February 2022: The Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program is inviting fintech and payment startups in the Kingdom 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 the opportunity to partner with a global, trusted brand like Visa.
This year’s program has expanded to include 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.
Breakdown of total Saudi Arabia VEI prize money:
- 1st place: 200,000 SAR ($53,000)
- 2nd place: 150,000 SAR ($40,000)
- 3rd place: 100,000 SAR ($27,000)
- Audience favorite award: 50,000 SAR ($13,000)
The VEI finale for Saudi Arabia will be held on May 17, 2022 with the winner – in addition to receiving prize money – having a guaranteed spot at the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) regional finals on June 8, 2022 to compete for a total of 170,000 SAR ($45,000). The CEMEA regional winner will then move on to the global finale in Qatar in November 2022 where up to 640,000 SAR ($170,000) in total prize money will be awarded.
“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 Andrew Torre, Visa’s Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Supporting companies who are building solutions that power seamless money movement everywhere is a top priority for Visa. We are delighted to be bringing Visa Everywhere Initiative to Saudi Arabia and I look forward to seeing the many brilliant ideas from the Kingdom this year.”
“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.
The competition also saw Karachi-based fintech, Safepay, win the CEMEA Audience Favorite award and $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, which 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 fintechs that are 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.
More information and application details are available here.