Nigerian Firm, 9 Others Pitch at MasterCard Connecting Tomorrow Forum

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By Dipo Olowookere

Leading technology company in the global payments industry, MasterCard, recently welcomed 10 start-ups to its Start Path programme at the MasterCard Connecting Tomorrow Forum. The event, which held in Barcelona, Spain, is part of its efforts to drive the startup ecosystem.

MasterCard Start Path is the company’s global initiative to provide start-ups with the operational support and commercial access needed to scale.

The programme brings together a global network of innovators, ranging from start-ups to banks and merchants, to shape the future of commerce in an agile and accelerated manner. Start Path evaluates roughly 1,600 applications per year and invites about 40 later-stage start-ups to participate each year.

Representing numerous countries including Nigeria, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Jordan, the UK and the US, the participating start-ups are developing innovative financial services technologies that exemplify a new level of innovation and convenience in customer experience.

During the MasterCard Connecting Tomorrow Forum, the selected start-ups were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to an audience of more than 250 potential investors and partners.

Speaking on the forum, Gaurang Shah, Senior Vice-President, Product Management, Digital Payments and Labs, MEA, MasterCard said, “Start-ups are reimagining all touch points of the consumer lifecycle and we must harness their unique approach to addressing emerging challenges to our advantage. Through the MasterCard Start Path programme, we are able to combine our assets and expertise with the startup community’s out-of-the-box ideas and unconventional business models to shape the future of commerce together.”

The ideas presented by start-ups ranged from new approaches to enabling small merchants to accept payments and manage personal data and digital identities, to solutions that allow consumers to pay together for e-commerce transactions, as well as programmes that empower citizens to be in control of their financial obligations across multiple geographies.

Representing Nigeria is Lydia, a leading financial services platform to improve access to credit and finance across frontier and emerging markets starting with Nigeria.

Launched in November 2016, businesses who are looking for $500 to $50,000 in working capital, are able to apply online or via their mobile phone and get a decision in 24 hours.  Lydia was co-founded by Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin.

Other start-ups on the list are Agora Services (USA), Billpocket (Mexico), Extend (USA),  Jaib (Jordan), Meeco (Switzerland), Pay By Group (USA), Rewire (Israel), Silot (Singapore) and Simudyne (UK).

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