Three companies from the UAE tech start-up community have reached the finals of the ‘Visa Everywhere Initiative,’ a programme designed to foster the next innovation in payments.
Chosen from a total of 190 entries, Qpal, Bebuzzd and Sippy will compete against entrants from the wider MENA and Levant region and Pakistan, for the opportunity to secure funding of up to $50,000 to develop their ideas after the October 11th conclusion of the initiative during the GITEX Technology Week conference in Dubai.
The Everywhere Initiative posed three real-life business challenges, each category of which will have one winner:
• Enabling electronic payment acceptance among smaller merchants and providing secure eCommerce solutions
• Transforming the transit experience at airports
• Building customer loyalty through the right offers at the right time.
Candidates were asked to submit entries that focus on harnessing Visa’s network and technologies to resolve each challenge. One winner per brief will be selected, with each receiving funding of $25,000.
Winners will be invited to a working meeting with Visa, with a chance be offered an opportunity to create a prototype. Visa will then select one overall winner to receive an additional funding pot of $25,000.
Karl Tlais, Senior Director - Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, Visa, said: “We are delighted with the response to our ‘Everywhere Initiative’ and the quality of submissions we received is an indication of the region’s rich talent pool and innovative spirit.
"I would like to congratulate Qpal, Bebuzzd and Sippy on making it to the finals, and wish them and the other finalists luck as they enter the final stretch. When they come together in Dubai for the final, they will not only have the chance to turn their ideas into reality, but also potentially help shape the future of payments in the region.”
Qpal, a mobile payment solution that enables merchants to accept event attendee payments for food and beverages quicker than conventional cash methods, is competing in the ‘Acceptance Challenge’ category.
Bebuzzd and Sippy are both finalists in the ‘Loyalty Challenge’ category. Bebuzzd is a one-stop loyalty programme marketplace for users who earn and redeem points for their purchases. Sippy is a subscription-based mobile application that offers prepaid coffee plans while partnering with local and independent coffee shops in the UAE.
To date, almost 1,500 FinTech startups from across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia have participated in the ‘Visa Everywhere Initiative’ global programme.
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