MasterCard strongly believes that the right corporate-startup partnership can give startups an accelerated path to scale innovative solutions.
As such, it has launched an initiative in 2014, called the MasterCard Start Path Global programme, to provide startups with a variety of operational support, mentorship and investment to develop the next-generation of commerce solutions.
Each quarter, MasterCard Start Path recruits a new class of startups to embark on the six-month virtual programme. Open to all non-US based startups, the programme is currently accepting applications for its next class until March 21, 2016.
The Start Path team will invite 20 companies to a Pitch Day in Toronto on May 11 and 12, 2016; whereby shortlisted applicants will not only pitch for selection into the programme, but also meet with big-brand programme partners.
Eight companies will be offered an opportunity to join the programme, which will kick off an immersion week in June 2016.
Strong innovation potential in APAC
According to MasterCard, Start Path has seen success in the Asia Pacific region and is intensifying its search here as a continuing reminder of the innovation potential in the area.
In Asia Pacific, the programme is currently working closely with startups including Moneytree and Visenze.
Moneytree joined the Start Path programme late last year. The startup's cloud-based personal finance app and financial data aggregation platform lets users track their financial account balances. Through Start Path, Moneytree is exploring technology integration and new business opportunities with MasterCard partners in other markets. The programme also provides access to customised mentoring from MasterCard experts and connections in geographic locations where Moneytree is looking to expand.
"Startups are actively experimenting with new solutions aimed at transforming the status-quo across a wide variety of industries including financial services, retail, and healthcare," said Stephane Wyper, global lead of MasterCard Start Path. "We can provide critical support through operational expertise and access to a steady pipeline of customers, channels and partners. In just two years, Start Path Global has a strong record of helping startups transform innovations into sustainable business propositions."
Start Path is also working with ViSenze, a machine intelligence startup and a spin-off of National University of Singapore. Its advanced visual search and image recognition solutions help businesses in eCommerce, mCommerce and online advertising. Using machine learning and computer vision technology, ViSenze can recommend visually similar items to online shoppers, either on e-commerce platforms when they browse or search by uploading a picture, or on content publisher platforms like social media and video networks.