MasterCard’s Start Path programme to support African startups

MasterCard recently announced that startups in Nigeria and other African countries can apply for its Start Path Global programme — a six-month partnership initiative for startups that extends its existing footprint to a greater number of countries globally in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Over the past 18 months, Start Path has provided a variety of operational support, partnership, or investment for over 40 startups that are developing the next generation of commerce solutions, including Nymi, ZenCard, BillHop and Gone.

Furthermore, Start Path Global has been designed to put the startup first which means a startup will no longer be required to relocate, no equity will be taken, and there will be immediate access to over 60 MasterCard experts, opens the door to pilot opportunities with MasterCard or MasterCard customers, and with full ownership for any intellectual property (IP) developed.

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“Start Path thoughtfully connects the right partners with the right startups to build the future of commerce together,” said Stephane Wyper, Global Lead of MasterCard Start Path. “And now with our global expansion we will be able to target a broader range of startups and help them achieve success.”

A statement by MasterCard revealed that as Start Path expands internationally, startups will also benefit from access to Start Path’s partners.

According to the leading electronic-payment company, Start Path Partners was created to provide carefully selected MasterCard customers with a first look at unique technologies and to offer startups a direct line into these corporates to test their solutions.

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“Working with MasterCard Start Path introduces us to disruptive, early stage companies that may have the answers to overcoming the critical pain points facing global commerce,” said Mariano Belinky, Managing Partner at Santander InnoVentures. “Businesses graduating from the Start Path program should all be well prepared, proven, and ready to go to market. These are just the types of ambitious startup businesses we’d like to meet.”

The call for applications to join the next class is open until 18 September, and is open to all non-US-based startups who meet the following criteria: Solution is live in market; Established and experienced team; Targeting sizeable market opportunity in the retail and financial technology space; Demonstrable unfair advantage over competitors; and has secured Seed or Series A investment.

Eighteen startups will be invited to pitch their commerce solutions to the MasterCard Start Path team in London 27 and 28 October. From there, a final list of six to eight companies will be chosen for the upcoming global class which will begin in early November.

Paul Adepoju


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