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Open API! Shamir Karkal to Head BBVA’s New Developer Platform


Former CFO and co-founder of Simple, Shamir Karkal has joined BBVA in a new role: head of Open APIs.

In a blog post discussing the move, Karkal described his vision for BBVA’s Open APIs to Amazon Web Services, using the concept of an “AWS of banking.” Pointing out that Amazon had built “the world’s fastest-growing technology business” in AWS by granting third-party access to its platform, Karkal said:

BBVA has a huge opportunity to do the same – open up our core platform and services – and in turn enabling others to build companies on top of these and thereby helping us build a new business.

BBVA_ShamirKarkalKarkal credits BBVA’s current initiatives in this direction, both its Open Talent hackathons and collaborations with companies like Dwolla. To get the Open APIs project underway, BBVA has set up a closed group of partners to build new applications before opening up the project to outside developers. Check out BBVA’s invite-only Alpha.

Karkal co-founded Simple in 2010 along with Josh Reich (CEO) and Alex Payne (CTO). The company, which previewed its technology as Bank Simple at FinovateFall 2011, was acquired by BBVA in February 2014. Previous to Simple, Karkal was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. With a background in software engineering, he has an MBA in Finance from the Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

Known as one of the more technically innovative banks in Europe, BBVA was founded in 1857 and is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. The company has more than 117,000 employees in more than 30 countries, and more than 47 million customers. At FinovateEurope 2013, BBVA demonstrated Stockbuzz, its stock market sentiment-analysis technology.