By Deborah Barta, Innovation & Startup Engagement, Mastercard Labs
Innovation is at the top of Mastercard’s agenda, and here in New York’s vibrant Silicon Alley, game-changing ideas and companies are transforming the fintech landscape. For the past few years, we have participated in the FinTech Innovation Lab New York to connect with fintech startups and support their growth.
Partnering with the Lab is a natural fit for us as an organization. We are committed to supporting the startup ecosystem and helping fintech companies to scale and grow. We have found that our collaboration with the Lab complements our wider fintech innovation strategy.
We have forged some great relationships with startups in the Lab. The startups we mentor through the FinTech Lab have the opportunity to meet with senior executives from a range of Mastercard subject-matter experts, functions and business units, including our marketing, data science and technology teams. We offer them mentoring and help with their positioning, with an eye to guiding them to build a more powerful market proposition. Startups from the most recent class, for example, had direct exposure to our CEO, Ajay Banga, which included the opportunity to ask him questions and share their ideas with him.
Fintech companies will find that many members of our team came from accelerators or startups and have a deep understanding of the challenges faced in finding the right decision-makers, refining product-market fit, and pitching their propositions. Our mentors are true partners, opening the right doors and helping address the pain points in their growth and product strategies.
Fit with Mastercard’s Start Path program
One of the valuable aspects of the FinTech Innovation Lab for Mastercard is how it dovetails with our own Start Path program for later-stage tech startups. Start Path is a six-month virtual program that helps the best startups from around the globe to scale through access to Mastercard’s technology, solutions expertise and commercial partnerships.
To date, we have closely worked with over 200 startups from 118 countries through the Start Path program—with eight more joining us this October—and they have raised a cumulative $1.5 billion in capital between them since joining the program.
The FinTech Innovation Lab offers Mastercard the opportunity to spot companies that could grow into strong contenders for Start Path while they are in the early phases of development.
With our eye on helping more great startups scale, we are excited to see what the Lab has in store for 2020. Start Path is particularly interested in meeting companies with breakthrough concepts around open banking, cybersecurity, data & analytics, small business enablement and more. We also have a keen focus on connecting and collaborating with female-led startups.
As we’ve learned from our participation in the program over the years, bringing together the scale and reach of a global institution like Mastercard with the innovative thinking of startups can spark ideas that have the potential to radically alter finance and technology. Best of luck to the class of 2020—we’re looking forward to meeting you!