As Mastercard announced the latest wave of start-ups joining its global Start Path programme at Money20/20 Europe in Copenhagen on June 28, the company is simultaneously making the call for additional applications from qualifying late-stage start-ups – marking the perfect opportunity for the fast-growing pool of African fintech talent to benefit from the mentorship and knowledge-sharing that Start Path offers.
The initiative is open to fintech and tech start-ups from Africa and across the world who are shaping commerce by rethinking banking and payments and who are well established already, having raised a significant seed or Series A round of investment.
During the six-month virtual programme, Start Path provides the selected start-ups with the operational support and mentorship they need to develop the next generation of commerce solutions and grow the footprint of their operations. Start-ups accepted to the programme benefit from the knowledge of a global network of Mastercard experts, access to Mastercard customers and partners, and the ability to innovate on top of Mastercard solutions.
Focus is being placed on Africa to ensure the continent is well represented, with start-ups from all corners of Africa encouraged to submit their application. “African fintech start-ups are bringing fresh thinking to an increasingly connected commerce industry that relies on enhancing customer choice and experience to survive in the competitive and fast-paced digital age,” says Amy Neale, VP, Mastercard Start Path.
To date, one African start-up has been selected to the programme and has since partnered with Mastercard to introduce a game-changing e-commerce solution for developing markets plagued by cash: NetPlus benefited from knowledge-sharing and mentorship sessions in New York, London and Singapore where NetPlus met with other start-ups and Mastercard customers.
Building on the experience, NetPlus then partnered with Mastercard to develop an e-commerce solution that overcomes the challenge of payments still being made in cash at the point of delivery by allowing customers to pre-authorise the payment when placing their order online – with payment only being released once the customer has confirmed their satisfaction on delivery. This has advantages for both merchants and customers.
“The NetPlus and Mastercard collaboration to launch a groundbreaking e-commerce solution proves that there is world-class talent on the continent and that start-ups are contributing significantly to the development of Africa – with programmes like Start Path serving as a springboard to greater growth by enabling these companies to receive exposure they wouldn’t otherwise get,” concludes Neale.
Applications for the next six-month virtual programme will be accepted until Tuesday August 1, 2017. The programme is open to start-ups that meet the following criteria:
- Solution live in market;
- Established and experienced team;
- Targeting sizeable market opportunity;
- Demonstrable advantage over competitors;
- Seed or Series A investment recently secured.
Mastercard Start Path is a global effort to support innovative startups developing the next generation of commerce solutions today. Start Path was launched in 2014 with an objective to help startups to grow their businesses faster than they could by themselves.