Visa has opened application to its 2022 Visa Accelerator Program, calling on technology startups across Asia Pacific to present their innovative, market-tested solutions in the digital payment field with potential for regionwide adoption.
The application period is open until January 9, 2022. The program seeks to help local startups to identify commercial opportunities where they can collaborate with Visa and its extensive network of bank, merchants and government partners in the region.
"As the world transitions from a pandemic to an endemic state, there is great demand for digital-first experiences that shape new thinking around digital currencies and open data. And many startups have developed new innovations to tap these opportunities," said Chris Clark, regional president, Asia Pacific, Visa. "We want to support these startups by helping them go from a local success story to a regional player, providing guidance and connections to navigate the complexities of entering new markets."
Now on its second year, the accelerator program in Asia Pacific was launched in December 2020. Visa introduced the Accelerator Program in Asia Pacific in December 2020. Its first batch of startups called “cohort” included the following: Brankas, a fintech that provides financial software and solutions; Curlec, a subscription management platform that facilitates recurring payments and disbursements; DigitSecure, an omnichannel acceptance platform; ModusBox, an open-source platform for real-time payments; and, Open, a neo-banking platform for small businesses
Startups from the first cohort include Brankas, a fintech that provides financial software and solutions; Curlec, a subscription management platform that facilitates recurring payments and disbursements; DigitSecure, an omnichannel acceptance platform; ModusBox, an open-source platform for real-time payments and Open, a neo-banking platform for small businesses. The startups concluded their activities with a product pitch to hundreds of Visa's clients and partners across the region.
Breaking into new markets
The Visa Accelerator Program is designed for startups that have launched successful solutions in their home markets but are looking towards the next stage of growth. As a network working for everyone, Visa is uniquely positioned to help startups break into new geographies and reach new customer groups.
“It would have taken us two to three years to enter Southeast Asia and we were able to do this within six months thanks to Visa's dedicated go-to-market support and structured approach to solutioning and product positioning with clients,” Anish Achuthan, Co-founder and CEO, Open.
Seshu Kulkarni, CEO of DigitSecure, said: "Visa's product and market insights, executive mentorship, and technical expertise, have helped DigitSecure further strengthen our capabilities, enhance our go-to-market strategy, increase brand visibility and also open doors to new clients."
Under the program, a cohort can quickly test and validate partnership opportunities through an accelerated Proof of Concept (POC) over the course of 4-6 months.
Unlike traditional POCs that take valuable time and resources away from the startups, the Visa Accelerator Program is designed to quickly test and validate partnership opportunities with Visa and its extensive network of partners, assess market demand, and move forward with a fast-tracked path to pilots, partnerships and commercialisation post-program.
"The sheer magnitude of the contribution from the Visa team was incredible. They were able to mobilise resources from tech to development across the Asia Pacific region for us,” said Steve Haley, director of economic development at ModusBox.
Todd Schweitzer, co-founder and CEO of Brankas, echoed the same sentiment: "The program highlight was seeing our product live in the market with our banking partners – Visa took an action-oriented approach in joining forces with Brankas and launching new products with us."
"Our experience with Visa has been unparalleled – to be able to work at this speed with us, considering their scale, has exceeded all expectations,” said Zac Liew, co-founder and CEO of Curlec.
Key technology focus areas
With increased expectations for digital-first experiences from consumers and businesses, startups in the 2022 cohort will tackle some of the most pressing financial and technological opportunities in Asia Pacific.
For its latest edition, the program is focused on the following technology areas:
- New Flows: How to simplify connectivity between consumers, businesses, and governments to support new flows across domestic and international networks.
Examples of this include:
- Bridging network connectivity across schemes, wallets, RTP systems, etc.
- Facilitating new use cases or reaching new users in gaming, social commerce, government flows, bill payments, etc.
- Payment infrastructure enablers
- Digital Currencies & Blockchain: How to shape the development and adoption of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies to power transformative new commerce applications.
Examples of this includes:
- Digital asset custody
- Crypto rewards
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
- Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
- DeFi applications
- Oracles and cross chain interoperability
- Open Data Solutions: How to enable new data partnership models, and build advanced decision-making and scoring capabilities.
Examples of this include:
- Digital identity
- Consent management
- Decision modelling to support credit scoring, sustainability use cases, etc.
- Fair and equitable AI & ML modelling
- Financial management
- Risk, fraud and security
- Growth marketing
- Buy Now Pay Later & Loyalty: How to drive deeper engagement across the payments value chain through differentiated offerings such as new credit models and loyalty solutions.
Examples of this include:
- Value chain enablers for buy now pay later, instalments and new credit models
- Consumer and merchant loyalty and engagement solutions
- New retail and checkout experiences, including alternative payment methods and new form factors
Interviews with potential participants of the Visa Accelerator Program will be conducted on a rolling basis, with selected startups being notified in March 2022. The program is set to run between April and September next year.