Two London-based fintech start-ups - Everledger, which uses the blockchain to record ownership of valuables, and Origin Markets, a platform which directly connects corporate bond issuers with institutional investors - have won the 2015 BBVA Open Talent Europe final.
The London showcase was the final leg in BBVA's seventh annual Open Talent contest, which is a key element in the Spanish bank's ambition to transform its business using digital technology. There were entries from 63 countries into this year’s BBVA Open Talent, with finals in Mexico City, New York and Barcelona.
As well as exploring commercial opportunities with BBVA, Everledger and Origin Markets will join the winners of the Open Talent Latin America final (Destacame.cl and Bitnexo) and those of the US and Rest of the World competition (Modernlend and Lendingfront) in two separate immersion programmes, one in London and the other in Mexico City.
Gustavo Vinacua, BBVA’s open innovation and innovations centre's director, says: “Both Everledger and Origin have what BBVA Open Talent is looking for - original ideas, great technology and a strong team.”
Everledger, which was launched in April 2015, uses the blockchain to make a permanent record of ownership and provenance of diamonds, luxury goods and valuables. The service provides new methods of ownership records, fraud detection as well as smart contract vehicles for financing and insurance purposes.
“We are excited to be working with BBVA, they clearly understand innovation and the opportunity this technology provides, especially in luxury goods," says Everledger’s Leanne Kemp. ‘Already, we’ve stored details of 855,000 diamonds and BBVA is key to unlocking a section of the market that we would not have imagined possible at this stage of our business development cycle."
Origin Markets was founded in March 2015 by two bond traders, Raja Palaniappan and Robert Taylor, who believed they could undertake bond issuance in a more direct way. The Origin platform launches in beta in October 2015: the company has had expressions of interest from over 15 major borrowers and investors, and is already working towards completing its first transaction with its pilot customers.
“The bond market has yet to be touched by disruptive technology,” says Origin’s Palaniappan. “We believe we’re going to create a more transparent and liquid market for all."