Vision and values

On route to BBVA AI Factory SL

Today BBVA AI Factory SL is constituted as a legal entity, and I have the honour of writing to you as its CEO, and the good fortune to be accompanied by Marta Sanz as COO in this new venture.

We are not starting from scratch, far from it. The step we are taking today is the result of the confluence of different paths that have been meeting over the last few years and which I would like to tell you about below.

My path began in 2008, when four partners (Juanjo, Fernando, Paco and myself) started an exciting adventure called Madiva Soluciones SL. The goal was clear: to market our own products created from data. A great team was formed, which was the basis for the success that would follow. We worked hard, learned a lot and enjoyed doing it.

Three years later, still unbeknownst to me, a group of visionaries at BBVA began to explore the opportunities that the exploitation of financial data could offer. They set up an innovation programme that turned out to be the seed of what in 2014 would become BBVA Data & Analytics, one of the cornerstones of the bank’s data-driven transformation.

That same year, 2014, was the year of the acquisition of Madiva by BBVA to collaborate in the digital transformation strategy in which it was immersed. In this new stage we also worked hard, learned a lot, contributed as much as we could and, of course, we also enjoyed doing it. We put into production different products and services in several countries such as Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, driving the creation of value and the generation of impact.

In 2019 I left the management of Madiva and moved to the Data discipline at BBVA. At the same time, the bank decided to create the AI Factory, a space where profiles from different disciplines work together with the aim of using data and analytics to transform the financial business, based on two principles: ethics and responsibility. Our efforts in recent months have focused on getting to know our customers better, personalising their experience, and improving the current relationship model. And to do all this by improving operational efficiency with the premise of “automation by design”.

Then came 2020 and with it, the pandemic caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. There were, at least for me, no references to look to or be inspired by. It was a full-blown slap in the face, in family, personal, professional and business relationships. In my opinion, it brought out the best in each and every one of the people who make up this great team. I was happy to see how networks and relationships were built far beyond the professional. I also felt very proud to belong to an institution that from the beginning understood the depth of the human, health, social and economic crisis that was about to hit. BBVA took a step forward and made it an absolute priority to protect the health and safety of all our employees, customers and society in general. Without a doubt, this past year has been different, we have worked hard and well, I have learned a lot and from many, and I have “enjoyed” it.

And so we come to today, when a new stage of this vital journey begins. BBVA Data & Analytics SL becomes BBVA AI Factory SL. The new company has the data analytics of BBVA Data & Analytics and maintains its values and principles, which will continue to shape our character and our way of doing things. In addition, the entity adds the experience of Madiva Soluciones in product creation and the technical capabilities of Data Engineering necessary to achieve our objectives.

Our mission as a company is to create data products aligned with the bank’s strategic priorities, maximising the generation of value for all the businesses and countries in which BBVA operates.

I do not see this step we are taking today as a change of direction. Quite the opposite: it is the next stage in a journey that began more than a decade ago. I feel committed, confident and grateful. I am accompanied by a great team of people I know, respect and admire and who have already more than demonstrated their work capacity, talent and human qualities. I would like to thank Elena Alfaro, Jon Ander Beracoechea, Marcelo Soria and Marco Bressan for their vision and ambition, as well as their hard work in bringing the impact of Artificial Intelligence to the entire Group. And to Juanjo Divassón, Fernando Alfaro, Paco Gonzalez and Alejandro Ruyra for their complicity, support and ability to “think backwards”.

As a good friend of mine says: “We all have a 10-year-old child inside and we have to feed it every day”. For me, that “food” can be summed up in facing challenges that allow me to continue learning every day.

I am sure that in this new stage we are going to work hard, we are going to learn a lot and we are going to enjoy doing it. And it will be a shared success.

A warm embrace,