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Women founders competed to transform the fintech industry with Visa

Visa is making its network available to drive inclusive economic growth with the goal of giving everyone, everywhere access to the global economy. This year, Visa has opened the door to women-owned startups to share their digital solutions that promote greater accessibility in the way we pay, save, and invest. Finalists are now ready to showcase their solution worldwide on TechCrunch.

Five startup finalists went head-to-head in the Visa Everywhere Initiative Women’s Special Edition competition—where they presented their innovative solutions to a panel of industry judges. Tylisha Summers of SpenDebt was crowned as the overall winner and Stefania Di Bartolomeo of Physis Investment as the audience favorite.

During the finals event, Visa hosted a fireside chat with motivational speaker and former NFL coach Dr. Jen Welter. As the first female NFL coach, Dr. Welter is committed to empowering women of all industries and inspiring diverse work environments. She sat down with Visa’s Erin Pursell to discuss her experiences as a female coach in a male-dominated industry, the impact women can make in tech and all industries, and how female founders are important to the next generation of diverse talent.   


  • Eve Halimi of Alinea – a social app targeted at GenZ
  • Stefania Di Bartolomeo of Physis Investment – sustainable investing software for institutional investors 
  • Tylisha Summers of SpenDebt – helping people pay off debt automatically with everyday spending 
  • Nikki Varanasi of Staax – simplifying building wealth by making investing in shares of stock as easy as receiving a payment 
  • Luan Cox of FinMkt – consumer financing SaaS for lenders, merchants and enterprise partners 

Monetary prizes:

  • Overall Winner: $10,000 USD 
  • Audience Favorite: $10,000 USD 


  • Adriana Saman, Principal, Clocktower Technology Ventures 
  • Anabel Perez, President & CEO, NovoPayment 
  • Brian Cole, SVP, Head of North America Product & Solutions, Visa  
  • Deirdre Cohen, SVP, Head of US Acquiring, Visa 
  • Elle Rustique, Founder & CEO, TipBrightly 
  • Veronica Fernandez, SVP, Regional Head, North America Business Solutions, Visa

Keynote Speaker:

  • Dr. Jen Welter, motivational speaker, former NFL coach

The Visa Everywhere Initiative Women’s Special Edition is a part of a larger series of competitions in the U.S. focused on inclusivity. During Black History Month, four finalists competed in the finals for the Black Community special edition, which recognized SoLo Funds as the Overall Winner for redefining capital and banking for the everyday American, and Zimbali Networks won the Audience Favorite category for a Web3 fintech that offers Digital-Currency-as-a-Service. 

Applications for the U.S. LGBTQ+ Special Edition are open until June 5, 2022

The Visa Everywhere Initiative is now a network of 8,500 startups around the world and growing. Since its 2015 launch, the program has helped startups in more than 100 countries collectively raise more than $16 billion in funding, addressing one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face in their startup years. Every year, Visa has expanded the Visa Everywhere Initiative to include unique startups solving unique problems in the world of payments. This year, they intentionally focused on reaching a more diverse group of innovators. In the U.S., the Visa Everywhere Initiative 2022 Special Editions will spotlight Black, Women and LGBTQ+- founded startups during Black History Month (February 2022), International Women’s Month (March 2022), and Pride Month (June 2022), respectively.