• The programme aims to drive innovation in retail services and improve customer experience.
• Zone2boost offers selected companies backing to help them grow, the support of major leading multinationals in their sectors and the ability to access high volumes of customers from day one of launch.
• Visa has joined CaixaBank, Global Payments and Worldline1 as a spearheading partner in this initiative.
The international innovation initiative Zone2boost has finalised its first year of activity with more than 300 start-ups assessed, eight start-ups incorporated into its acceleration programme and a committed investment volume of €800,000.
The programme kicked off its activity in a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a programme of choice for start-ups during a truly challenging period. However, despite this situation, it has met its annual forecasts. Zone2boost is open to studying projects all over the world, although, during 2020, it concentrated on the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Barcelona as a first step.
The start-up Deliverea, which provides stores with a tool to manage logistics and offers a solution to manage shipments, returns and package monitoring, is one of the selected companies. Another of the companies that Zone2boost has started to work with is Proppos, which, through artificial intelligence, is able to recognise any kind of product in store, without having to scan it, whilst offering a truly rapid purchasing experience. Nemuru, a financing platform that connects companies, banking institutions and consumers, is another start-up selected in 2020. Zone2boost has also invested in and is collaborating with Bitphy, smart platform for retail trade that detects points of improvement in the sales channel and offers information automatically.
In addition to these four companies, inAtlas (offering big data and location analytics), Fuell (a software technology company that facilitates companies’ expenses management and flexible remuneration), Payflow (an application that provides employees with instant access to their salary) and Deeder (supported by blockchain technology, the company allows contracts to be signed through messaging apps) have also been selected by the international innovation programme.
Visa has joined the project
Meanwhile, Zone2boost has brought in Visa as a partner, which has joined CaixaBank, Global Payments and Worldline as a driving force for the project. Visa will contribute to the program through its knowledge and experience in the identification and accompaniment of start-ups in their growth and monetisation process, as well as through Visa products and APIs that will help to enrich the value propositions of the identified fintechs.
“At Visa, we continually evaluate technology of all kinds, especially those that have the potential to improve our clients' digital payments user experience. So we are looking for investments that really extend our reach to the global commerce ecosystem and Zone2boost is a great opportunity to identify new collaboration prospects”, says Eduardo Prieto, Managing Director of Visa in Spain.
For the companies behind Zone2boost, all multinational in their activity and leaders in their fields, the initiative is an opportunity to drive innovation and co-create new services for businesses with start-ups offering great added-value.
In addition, the collaboration with start-ups and SMEs provides its firms’ members, CaixaBank, Global Payments, Worldline and Visa, with improved agility and efficiency in innovation, accelerating the concrete steps it takes from an idea to a new product or service launch, whilst helping them to identify talent.
In turn, for start-ups, collaborating with these companies allows them to scale quickly, as it gives them access to a multitude of highly valuable resources, whilst bringing them a significant portfolio of customers, with a wide distribution channel, improving their brand positioning and gaining visibility.
Innovative solutions for businesses
The mission of Zone2boost is to identify innovative business initiatives in the fields of technology for commerce and financial services in general, and to help them grow. The time period through which the entrepreneurs are supported varies from six months to two years, throughout which the new companies may evolve from very early stages (seed levels) to a level that can allow them to successfully access the market through A and B investment rounds. The companies driving the Zone2boost initiative plan to invest €3 million by 2022.
Besides the investment, the business teams of partner companies are incorporating solutions and projects developed by the start-ups into their commercial offer, in order to offer new innovative services that help businesses and improve the user experience.
 Ingenico was one of the founding partners of Zone2boost in 2019. Since October 2020, Ingenico is part of Worldline.