Drugstoc, the Nigerian startup led by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chibuzor Opara, has emerged victorious in the 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) Global Finals, securing the coveted grand prize of $50,000.
“Adding to their accolades, Drugstoc also claimed the Audience Favorite Award, pocketing an additional $10,000 in winnings,” reports state.
The triumph took place at the TechCrunch Disrupt event, hosted at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, on September 19, 2023.
Drugstoc faced stiff competition from four other notable finalists, including:
- Jonas Overgaard, Founder and CEO at Anyday.
- Saksham Shubham, Business Head – APAC at Decentro.
- Jeff Catalano, Co-founder and CEO at Payment Porte.
- Carolina Nucamendi, Co-founder and CEO at Waivr.”
Drugstoc’s journey to victory began earlier in August 2023 when they secured the first-place prize of $20,000 in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) edition of the VEI.
Notably, this achievement follows in the footsteps of another Nigerian startup, Thrive Agric, which clinched the global VEI prize in 2022.
The panel of judges for this year’s competition featured prominent figures from the industry, including:
- Ayodeji Arikawe, Co-founder at Thrive Agric and the global winner of VEI 2022
- Emily Man, Partner at Primary Ventures
- Rodrigo Barros de Paula, Regional Head of Fintech Partnerships for LAC at Visa
- Akshay Chopra, VP, Head of Innovation & Design for CEMEA at Visa
- Ralph Koker, Visa Direct VP & Head of Market Expansion at Visa
- Dan Roesbery, VP, of Fintech Business Development at Visa
These judges evaluated each finalist based on several criteria, including the quality of their solution and presentation, the potential for partnerships with Visa and clients, and the appeal, uniqueness, and feasibility of their product or solution.
The Visa Everywhere Initiative stands as an open innovation program designed to assist startups in uncovering new growth and partnership opportunities while offering them a global stage to showcase their groundbreaking solutions.
Since its inception in 2015, VEI has welcomed promising startups and fintech firms from over 100 countries, collectively raising more than $16 billion in funding—a testament to its role in surmounting the challenges that often confront early-stage entrepreneurs.