In its second year, the Everywhere Initiative will once again present three real-life business challenges for startups to solve. The first leg of the competition starts this weekend with The Everywhere API Challenge, in which startups will pitch an innovative payment solution that will leverage the recently launched Visa Developer platform. The open platform offers developers easy access to Visa APIs and services to enhance or build products related to the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, charitable giving and much more.
During the Live Pitch in Austin, five startups will propose their ideas at the Visa Everywhere Lounge on March 12 to a panel of judges. The winning team will score the opportunity to receive a $25,000 award to develop and execute a prototype or pilot of their idea, plus they’ll automatically enter into the 2016 Everywhere Initiative finals in San Francisco.
In partnership with startup ecosystem manager, Kite, Visa has invited these exciting startups to compete in this year’s opening event:
- NYC-based msg.ai, a pioneer in the conversationalcommerce space, will pitch a partnership with Visa to activate Visa Checkoutwithin messaging apps, allowing consumers to make a purchase while chatting with a retailer.
- LA-based Ledge, a mobile finance platform for P2P lending, will propose a prototype that would integrate Visa Direct to power the exchange of funds in Ledge campaigns.
- Event base, a mobile technology platform for major events like SxSW, Comic-Con and Sundance based out of Canada, will pitch how it can integrate APIs like the Visa Checkout API to offer VIP exclusivity to Visa cardholders.
- From Silicon Valley, Hiku is a small connecteddevice that allows you to scan and automatically repurchase an item, such a paper towels, when running low. The company will pitch using a Visa coupon API to allow brands to offer coupons on the device.
- Houston-based Knocki turns anything in your home into a smart device with a simple tap. The team will propose using Visa APIs to power transaction controls and direct purchases, such as tapping your washing machine five times to order detergent.
The Everywhere Initiative was created to cultivate new relationships with emerging talent in the startup community and to bring new ideas to enhance the Visa ecosystem. Entries for the main competition will open on April 14. Two upcoming challenges include The Everywhere Global Events Challenge, which asks startups to creatively leverage popular social media channels to engage fans at Visa-sponsored events. The Everywhere Cardless Challenge asks startups to imagine a cardless world and creatively encourage Visa cardholders to load their Visa cards onto every digital payment platform they use.
The ultimate winner of the Everywhere Initiative will receive $50,000 and a year-long mentorship from Visa’s product and technology teams to refine their prototype and test its viability in the real world. Best of luck to all of the Everywhere Initiative participants and may the best startup win.