Mastercard is on the hunt for Kiwi startups looking to collaborate and scale their businesses, announcing applications for its startup engagement programme Start Path.
“Whether it is to scale their business or drive profitability, startups are increasingly looking to collaborate with corporates to both tap into their operational expertise and to test new technology,” says Stephane Wyper, global lead Mastercard Start Path.
Wyper says Mastercard’s Start Path works with startups to drive new businesses forward and is an integral part of Mastercard’s broader startup engagement effort that is focused on partnering with the best startups to collaborate and create new experiences for its customers, business partners, and the broader financial industry.
“Start Path was established in early 2014 as a way for Mastercard to work directly with global startups building innovative solutions covering everything from blockchain to artificial intelligence and chatbots,” she explains
Over the last two years, Start Path has worked with over 90 companies across 24 countries. Mastercard is currently running active pilots with or has directly invested in nearly 20% of the companies.
“In 2014 we wanted to look beyond Mastercard and support innovation that was being developed by new and upcoming, early-stage companies,” says Wyper.
“We believe every startup is unique and that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to working together,” she says.
“We have put in place different mechanisms including pilots with Mastercard business lines, access to our APIs, and connectivity to our customer base and partner networks.”
Wyper says Start Path has seen success in the Asia Pacific region, and it is intensifying its search as a ‘testament to its vibrant startup community’.
“The objective of the programme is stay close to innovations that are coming out of the region and to drive success for the early-stage companies that are working on next-generation commerce technologies,” Wyper explains.
“The six-month, virtual programme will help startups from the region tackle business problems and introduce them to new opportunities around the globe.”
Peter Chisnall, Mastercard country manager for New Zealand & Pacific Islands, says New Zealand’s innovation heritage and ethos is well known here at home and internationally.
“We’re excited to be opening up Start Path to Kiwis and hope to see local startups taking up the opportunity to participate in the programme and potentially take their ideas to the world,” he says.
“The startup community in Asia Pacific has been growing at an unprecedented rate and the region has been churning out some major success stories,” Chisnall adds.
Start Path is currently working with seven startups that have presence in Asia Pacific. The team has selected Singapore as a hub to host its “Immersion Week,” which is designed to provide exposure to its current class to the city’s vibrant entrepreneurial community and engage with local thought leaders and partners.