Marisol Menendez

Chief Open Innovation Officer, South Summit - Spain Startup


Marisol is an expert with more than 20 years of experience in the areas of open innovation, fintech and digital transformation. She is Chief Open Innovation Officer at South Summit, the global open innovation platform that connects startups, investors and corporations to generate business opportunities. Formerly Head of Open Innovation at BBVA, where she developed a close-knit, global network of allies and partners that have proven critical to the success of the open innovation project. An Industrial Engineer with an MBA, Marisol is known for her inclusive leadership style, talent for creating high-performance teams, and ability to establish lasting connections. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, has significant international work experience, and loves to travel.


Work Experience


South Summit / Spain Startup
Chief Open Innovation Officer

Chief Open Innovation Officer at South Summit, the global platform for open innovation that connects startups, corporations and investors to generate business opportunities.

She leads the Open Innovation practice at South Summit, aiming day to day to demonstrate the real value that Open Innovation brings to all ecosystem players, in all sectors and all countries. Also to demonstrate the real value of Open Innovation (collaboration between startups and corporations), consolidate Spain's position as a global reference and strategic bridge between Latam and Europe, and boost innovation in collaboration activities for the Spanish speaking world.



Global Head of Open Innovation

During her six year tenure, Marisol led the Open Innovation project, which aims to connect and collaborate with fintechs for the purpose of accelerating the rhythm of innovation and digital transformation of financial services. The Open Innovation project is built upon 4 main pillars:

Ecosystem Building: All activities that build the fintech and tech ecosystem all over the world, with activities such as:

BBVA Open Talent: What began as a local Social Responsibility program is now the biggest and longest running fintech competition in the world and the main source of outside-in innovation for BBVA, with 900 startups from 81 countries in 2018.

BBVA Open Summit: Achieved first time involvement of C-level executives in major fintech and innovation events with an associated 1M€ budget.

Partnerships: Responsible for creating and maintaining parternships with Venture Capital, ecosystem builders, Government officials, key academia and institutions

Internal Scouting: The differentiating factor of the strategy is to structure and create continuous relation with all business units to understand priorities and needs.

One Team and breaking silos: Leveraging on deep understanding of the corporation and banking business she’s leading the efforts of internal collaboration of previously siloed teams such as: communications, marketing, design, UX, research, event management, and talent & culture.

Matchmaking and Follow Up: These are all activities related to connect the right startup to the best team within BBVA and look for business opportunities. Open innovation put together a fast track process involving budget, and all teams that have a say in pilot scale up and implementation (compliance, legal, security, procurement, financial, etc.). Key values: Transparency, reciprocity and trust.


BBVA New Digital Business Innovation Manager
2010 –2013

Developed and implemented innovation projects for ATMs & social media. 


BBVA Enterprise Systems
ERPs Project Manager
2006 – 2010

In charge of the implementation and deployment of PeopleSoft Human Resources and SAP Financials / Supply Chain in Spain and Latin America.


Strategy Consultant
1997 – 2006

Achieved a leadership position in ERP deployment projects (PeopleSoft and SAP) for large corporations in Europe and Latin America. Gained deep knowledge of and became a renowned expert in corporate process analysis.



PhD Candidate

Open Innovation Hasselt University, Belgium
 2015 – present

Executive MBA

IESE Business School, Spain
2009 – 2011

Industrial Engineering

Universidad Panamericana, Mexico
1995 – 2000


Honorable Mentions