Startups entered more than 500 submissions in Visa’s second-annual The Everywhere Initiative, a competition that poses three real-life business challenges to the startup community in order to generate new, game-changing ideas for commerce and to drive the Visa Inc. business forward:
The Everywhere API Challenge
Startups were asked to use any relevant Visa APIs from the Visa Developer Platform to build a payment solution that would enhance the customer experience via an existing or new app.
The Everywhere Global Events Challenge
Startups were challenged to use popular social media channels to engage fans at Visa-sponsored events by bringing in advertising technology, influencer networks and other related platforms.
The Everywhere Cardless Challenge
Imagine a world without physical cards—that’s exactly what startups were asked to do as well as explain how to encourage consumers to load their Visa cards onto every digital payment platform they use.
A judging panel of Visa business and technology leaders reviewed all 518 submissions (30 percent more than last
year) to determine the top 15 best ideas. The finalists for this year’s challenge are:
The Everywhere API Challenge:
- Final – issues a credit card that allows consumers to give merchants a unique credit card number or a disposable one-time use number for one-off purchases.
- Layer – allows businesses to natively integrate rich messaging into their web and mobile apps.
- Stamplay – makes it easy for developers and non-developers to combine APIs as if they are building blocks.
- Wellth – allows health insurers and healthcare providers to reward patients for taking measurable steps toward maintaining their health.
- Zeel – delivers on-demand massages from licensed, vetted massage therapists to homes, workplaces and more.
The Everywhere Global Events Challenge:
- Angel.ai – powers conversational commerce on websites, apps and messaging platforms.
- Captiv8 – a platform that connects brands to content creators and influencers on popular social media channels.
- HYP3R – a platform for engaging influential fans and guests at specific locations on a personal level, in real-time.
- Vengo – delivers connected, compact vending machines that allow customers to pay with smartphones via NFC (near-field communication).
The Everywhere Cardless Challenge:
- Biomio – allows businesses to replace traditional passwords with a platform that supports multiple ways to verify identity, including biometrics.
- msg.ai – allows brands to use artificial intelligence-powered chatbots to provide consumers on-demand support and experiences via messaging apps.
- Ringly – designs smart jewelry that notifies wearer of messages, calls, calendar alerts and more.
- Sound Pays – a mobile wallet that uses inaudible sound waves to allow consumers to buy directly from video content as well as pay online and in-store.
“We were amazed by the talent brought forth in this year’s challenge,” said Shiv Singh, SVP Global Head of Digital and Marketing Transformation at Visa. “They took advantage of Visa’s open platform and rich set of APIs and SDKs and really looked at how to engage consumers in completely new ways. It was exciting to see what the future of marketing and payments might look like from the perspective of a Silicon Valley startup.”
The Everywhere Challenge launched in Austin with a live pitch of The Everywhere API Challenge. The winning pitch came from Ledge, a P2P lending platform that uses a campaign structure similar to that of popular crowdfunding platforms, except pledges are automatically repaid with interest. The Everywhere Initiative also expanded to Visa China and Visa Australia this year in an effort to encourage innovation in payments and digital commerce around the world with Visa’s support while tapping into emerging talent. “It’s difficult for any company—no matter how good the product or service they provide—to rise above the trend and really be able to demonstrate they are the best-in-market solution,” says Pete Borum, co-founder and CEO of Reelio, last year’s The Everywhere Initiative winner. “Having the opportunity to work with Visa, one of the best known brands in the world, is really fantastic validation for a startup in an environment that is saturated with startups.”
Finalists are invited to Visa’s headquarters in San Francisco at the end of June to present their ideas. A selected winner in each challenge will receive up to $50,000 to produce the solution as well as a year-long mentorship from Visa’s marketing, product and technology teams to help bring the solutions to market.