Viva Wallet: The history of the Greek Neobank and its path to the top of fintech

If there is one company in the domestic fintech space that can be characterized as an eminently success story, that is Viva Wallet. The Greek Neobank, with innovation, technology and the vision of its founder Haris Karonis as a vehicle, managed to become a leader not only in the Greek electronic payments market but also one of the most important players in the global fintech, gaining great support in foreign markets.Of course, the undeniable business success of the Viva Wallet project is confirmed by the big names that have entrusted Viva Wallet’s vision for the payments of the new era. Tencent, Breyer Capital and just recently the giant JP Morgan are just some of the big players that have invested large sums in Viva Wallet.

Viva Wallet is the first European Neobank to have a Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure with branches in 23 countries in Europe with over 600 employees. It mainly provides services in 19 different languages and payments in 10 currencies.

At the same time, Viva Wallet is an official member of Visa and Mastercard for acquiring and issuing services. Viva Wallet provides businesses of all sizes with payment acceptance services through the innovative Viva Wallet POS application, the add-on Google Play devices and through the sophisticated payment gateway in online stores.It also offers business accounts with a local IBAN and a Mastercard business debit card.

Viva Wallet Holdings holds a Greek banking license (VIVABANK SA) and an electronic money institution license from the Bank of Greece, in accordance with the provisions of the PSD II Directive for activities in the EEA-31 region and the United Kingdom.Its history is rich and the changes that have occurred are many, always managing to maintain a successful course and a big name.

In 2000, Haris Karonis, founder of Viva Wallet, founded Realize SA, which initially became active as a software company, providing online solutions and systems based on banking transactions, as well as transactions of airlines and telecommunication providers in Greece and Southeastern Europe.

In 2006, Viva Electronic Services ( was founded against the backdrop of the VOIP (Voice Over IP) industry and later travel services, while in 2010 the expansion in the market of electronic tickets for entertainment, sports events, etc. followed. The soon becomes one of the leaders in the Greek e-ticket market.

Later, in 2011, Haris Karonis and Makis Antipas founded Viva Payments, which is licensed as a payment institution for the European Economic field.

The evolution of Viva Wallet, of course, does not stop here. In 2014, the company acquires an Electronic Money Foundation License and announces the completion of the Series A funding round, headed by the Latsis family office.

Then, in 2015, Realize SA was renamed Viva Wallet and became the parent company for all Viva companies. Viva Wallet is building its own infrastructure and is starting to work with Microsoft to become the first European cloud-based payment provider, specifically in Microsoft Azure.

Two years later, Viva Wallet becomes the Principal Member of Visa and Mastercard for the provision of services and thus begins to gain control of the entire value chain of electronic payments throughout Europe.

A year later, Viva Wallet opens its first branches, in Belgium and the United Kingdom, while at the same time completing a Series B funding round of 15 million euros.

From 2011 to 2018, the founders of Viva Wallet reinvested a total of 19 million euros to the company through retained profits.

In 2019, Viva Wallet continued its European expansion plan, establishing offices in many European countries, including the Netherlands, Portugal, France and Romania.

By the end of the year, Viva Wallet has managed to open branches in 15 countries and has expanded the services offered which now include card acceptance and issuance services as well as local IBAN accounts. In the same year, Viva Wallet announced a Round C funding round, led by Hedosophia, totalling 75 million euros, which was completed after six months.

In 2020, Viva Wallet expands its services to 23 other European countries. On August 3, the company announces the acquisition of Praxia Bank’s banking license, following the completion of the share purchase agreement between AMC Oak (Shareholder) and Viva Wallet Holdings (buyer).

Makis Antipas, CIO and Co-founder of Viva Wallet is appointed CEO of the new Vivabank. Vivabank’s goal is to increase the group’s services by providing credit services to European merchants.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Viva Wallet has managed to keep its growth path undiminished, with a percentage exceeding 15% on a monthly basis, mainly as a result of its widespread European footprint and its ability to provide e-commerce and exclusively digital payment products to businesses across Europe.

By the end of 2020, the total capital raised by the company reaches 95 million euros, of which 19 million come from investments by the investors themselves, while 76 million come from Series A, B and C funding rounds and investors.

The big acquisition by JP Morgan

Last year, Viva Wallet raised 80 million euros with the participation of recognised companies and organisations such as Tencent, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Breyer Capital. That same year, the company launched the Viva Wallet POS app, an innovative payment solution that disrupted the entire payments market, turning Android mobile devices into card terminals.

Over the years, Viva Wallet has developed its own leading technological infrastructure, utilizing and believing in the ability of Greek engineers, many of whom returned from abroad after the financial crisis.

Viva Wallet invests dynamically in research and development in Greece and will continue to invest heavily, believing in new talents.

Finally, JPMorgan, the major American giant, recently proceeded to acquire 48.5% of Viva Wallet.

Specifically, as mentioned, Jamie Dimon informed the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that JPMorgan intends to expand its office in Greece, invest in Viva Wallet and attract high-level staff to the country.

Viva Wallet wins votes of confidence and attracts large investors, constantly developing its capabilities and investment plans.

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