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Mastercard looks to the future with artificial intelligence startups

AI dominates new wave of Start Path Global businesses as applications open for summer intake

Mastercard has welcomed five new startups to its Start Path Global programme – the company’s global initiative to support innovative later-stage startups who are reshaping the future of commerce.

The programme is open to startups who are rethinking banking and payments and have raised a significant seed or Series A round of investment.

Three out of the five startups joining Start Path’s 2017 spring wave are focused on artificial intelligence (AI). These startups are using AI to analyse consumer behaviour, enhance in-store or in-branch customer engagement, and compute bill and payment data, driving a variety of retail innovations. The other two startups have developed solutions that extend retail access to consumers through point of sale innovations.

London-based Divido provides retailers and lenders with an omni-channel platform that allows their consumers to spread the cost of major purchases through installments. Endor, from Tel Aviv, is the first intelligence software platform that lets business users ask any predictive question and get high-quality results with unmatched accuracy and speed in any domain.

The other startups in the spring 2017 Start Path class include:

  • Regalii works with more than 30 leading banks and fintech apps to give consumers an innovative way to manage their finances and pay their bills in the U.S. and Latin America.
  • Fluid AI combines AI and augmented reality to help banks and retailers create next generation customer experiences in branches and stores.
  • NetPlusDotCom enables retailers to transition from ‘bricks’ to ‘clicks’ and support their customers with digital payments capabilities.

“Fintech startups around the world are designing a digital future,” said Amy Neale, Vice President, Mastercard Start Path. “They’re bringing a different approach to enhance customer choice and experience across the industry. Our work with these startups helps connect new technology with reliable, secure financial networks and processes to create an even more rewarding and seamless commerce experience.”

Putting Ideas into Action

Since 2014, the Start Path team has received interest from more than 5,000 startups leading to working with 100 companies spanning 24 countries. Through the first four classes, 20 percent of the participants have worked with Mastercard in commercial engagements or pilots.

In Europe, Mastercard is collaborating with DigiSEq, an Internet of Things payment device enabler, to connect DigiSEq device manufacturer customers with Mastercard tokenisation services and enable payments on wearables. In 2016, Mastercard worked with Rainbird to build a virtual assistant to augment knowledge-sharing and decision-making across the MasterCard UK loyalty sales team. Mastercard is also partnering with VAT Box on sales tax recovery. VATBox was formally brought on as a Mastercard supplier to handle VAT recovery.

Applications now open for summer 2017 class

Mastercard also opened the application period for its 2017 Start Path summer class, to be comprised of later stage startups. 

Applications for the six-month virtual programme are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications to join the next wave will be accepted through 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017.  Interested startups can visit to submit an application or for additional information.

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. Startups that join the program can 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. Mastercard customers that join the program as partners get connected to the best and brightest startups and gain access to innovations from across the globe. 

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, travelling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.