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Startups compete to transform the future of commerce with Visa

Check out the pitches of the 5 startup finalists in the CEMEA finals replay below:

Investment in innovation means making sure good ideas get in the hands of more consumers. That’s where the Visa Everywhere Initiative comes in. Startups and fintechs are driving critical change in the payment industry. Transactions on a digital device grew from $4.1T in 2019 to $5.2T in 2020, accelerated in part by the pandemic. Digital access allowed consumers to get what they need when they needed it most, thanks to the innovative minds behind startups and fintechs worldwide. 

Visa is opening the door to nearly 2,000 global startups around the world to deliver digital solutions to consumers around the globe. Finalists will compete on a global stage to solve challenges for how we pay, save, and invest, driving accessibility for more people.

“In the region, lack of financial services is a serious issue that affects the individual, forcing them to rely on costly and inconvenient alternative services or facing a lack of credit for loans or lack of ability to build their savings,” says Andrew Torre, regional president for Visa CEMEA. “The Visa Everywhere Initiative entrants show how regional startups are focusing their entrepreneurial spirit and know-how on tackling the challenge of financial inclusion, access to credit and other historic pain points experienced.”

On June 9th, five startup finalists went head-to-head as they presented their innovative solutions to five distinct payment problems to the panel of judges below.

Expert Panel of Judges:

  • Tad Tilahun | Senior Vice-President, Head of Products and Solutions, Visa CEMEA 
  • Otto Williams | Senior Vice-President, Head of Partnerships, Innovation & Digital Solutions, Visa CEMEA 
  • Neil Caldwell | Senior Vice-President, Head of Merchant Sales & Acquisitions, Visa CEMEA 
  • Shereen Abdulla | Senior Manager, DIFC Fintech Hive
  • Rena Zuabi | Value Creation, Disruptive Investments, Mubadala 
  • Ines Rocha | Director for Financial Products, SME Finance & Development Team, EBRD 

5 Startup Finalists:

  • Habtamu Tadesse | Founder & CEO, ArifPay 
  • Alexander Grishin | Executive Director, Corp.bank 
  • Giorgi Tsurtsumia | Co-Founder & Co-CEO, PAYZE
  • Iman Urooj | Head of Business Development, Safepay 
  • Michael Femi Simeon | Co-Founder & CEO, VPD Money

While these startups all brought innovative solutions that covered various facets of digital commerce, the winner of the CEMEA regional Visa Everywhere Initiative finale was Giorgi Tsurtsumia, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of PYZE received $15,000 USD, recognition and access to Visa’s global network, and a chance to compete in the Visa Everywhere Initiative Global finals in September for  $100,000 USD in total prizes. Visa will also help guide PAYZE and incubate the company as they take their great idea to market. The audience favorite, Iman Urooj | Head of Business Development, Safepay , also received $10,000 USD.

CEMEA Finals Winners:

Overall winner | Giorgi Tsurtsumia | Co-Founder & Co-CEO, PAYZE

Audience Favorite | Iman Urooj | Head of Business Development, Safepay