MasterCard extends partnership programme to African startups

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MasterCard has announced the extension of its six-month partnership programme for startups Start Path Global to Africa as well as Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Latin America and Canada.

The extended programme builds on Start Path’s efforts over the past 18 months to provide operational support, partnerships, or investment to over 40 commerce-related startups, including Nymi, ZenCard, BillHop and Gone.

MasterCard said Start Path Global puts the startup first, not requiring founders to relocate and taking no equity. Startups are provided with immediate access to more than 60 MasterCard experts, opening the door to pilot opportunities with MasterCard or MasterCard customers, while retaining full ownership of any intellectual property (IP).

“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.”

Startups will also benefit from access to Start Path Partners, a group of more than 20 leading companies in banking, retail, and technology including Rakuten, SAMSUNG CARD, TSYS, Target, Bank of Montreal, and Santander InnoVentures. The partners programme was created to provide these customers with a first look at unique technologies and to offer startups a direct line into corporates to test their solutions.

“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 programme 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.”

Each quarter, MasterCard Start Path will recruit a new class of startups to embark on the six-month virtual programme. Applications to join the next class are open until September 18, with non-US based startups with a live solution, established teams, and recently-secured seed or Series A investment invited to apply.

Up to 18 startups will be invited to pitch their solutions to the MasterCard Start Path team in London on October 27-28, after which a final list of between six and eight companies will be chosen for the class beginning in early November. The class will be invited to attend the first Start Path Global Partner Summit, where they will have the chance to engage with prospective Start Path Partners and industry thought leaders.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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