The Visa Europe Collab, an international innovation hub, has been unveiled. It involves a network of partners from across the digital and fintech ecosystem, and aims to offer startups and technology entrepreneurs “the insight, tools and connections to forge technologies and services ”that will “transform citizens’ interactions with payments”, the company said.

“Visa is in a unique position to help innovators develop and scale their ideas,” said Steve Perry, founder and co-creator of Visa Europe Collab. “We have 50 years of industry expertise as well as the connections and scale offered by more than 3,000 European member banks and financial organisations.

Image: Flickr/Håkan Dahlström
Image: Flickr/Håkan Dahlström

“We are now creating a network of partners and a community that will help us provide the mentoring, advice and experience startups and entrepreneurs need to get their ideas off the drawing board and into the commercial world.”

In its first year, Visa Europe Collab aims to take a minimum of 20 ideas through its 100-day “innovation funnel”, from initial scoping and qualification, through market testing and design to proof of concept.

Of those completed proofs of concept, the “best validated and commercially viable services” will be handed back to the main body of the Visa business, said Visa, where “they’ll be nurtured into fully grown services” that can be rolled out to Visa member banks, retailers and consumers across Europe.

Visa Europe Collab’s partners include design agency Seren, Cass Business School and UK accelerator Digital Catapult. Perry said: "It's not about acquiring startups or buying stakes, instead, we’re giving Europe’s most innovative companies access to the mentoring, services and R&D of a community of like-minded organisations, that want to transform the relationship citizens have with payments.”

Initially based in London's Tech City, Visa Europe Collab will shortly open in other innovation hotspots, including Tel Aviv and Berlin.