Inside Visa’s Innovation Center

How does Visa think like a startup? For starters, they say, by having space where clients and payments innovators can collaborate to build the next generation of commerce applications with them. Vijay Sondhi, SVP of Innovation, takes PYMNTS inside OMC, Visa’s San Francisco lab, to get an inside look at how it is shaping the future of innovation at Visa.

The OMC is Visa’s 112,000-square-foot innovation center located at the base of Market Street in downtown San Francisco.

Visa says the goal of the center is to provide a collaborative space for Visa’s tech experts, clients and payments innovators to build the next generation of commerce applications.

“It’s an approach of being open and collaborative. [We’re] open to all kinds of stakeholders and collaborators; merchants, issuers, acquirers, startups, governments,” said Vijay Sondhi, SVP of Innovation at Visa. “We bring these partners into the innovation center and we work with them. We roll up our sleeves, we start developing rapid prototypes, we use design thinking … and we do all of that in a matter of days or weeks.”

Two such examples are displays that connect consumers with retail in new and creative ways.

Visa’s “Everywhere Shop” allows people to locate, select and pay for products entirely on their mobile phones.

And, its “super-connected car” turns a vehicle into a commerce platform that includes payment.

“You can get into a car, sign a document such as the leasing contract or insurance with your finger, all in about 2 seconds,” Sondhi said. “You can then tokenize your car by tapping the dashboard with your phone. The car is now ready to be a payment device for tolls, DMV, insurance, oil changes … you name it”

Visa hopes these initiatives promote a culture of innovation across the company.

“Our goal here at Visa is to have the best of both worlds. We want to be able to work in a large company that has scale and resource, but work in a nimble fashion the way a startup would,” Sondhi said.