Mastercard helps emerging brands grow, diversify and build their businesses, supporting their programs today and serving up what we know they will need in the decades to come. Recognizing the important role fintechs play in the world’s rapid digital transformation, Mastercard is continuously diversifying its business by diversifying its perspective: looking to new partners, new markets and new ways to build on its core competency as a payments network.
The most recent African fintech to join the Start Path program is Hello Tractor, which operates across Nigeria and Kenya. Hello Tractor is revolutionizing mechanization services across emerging markets by bringing together tractor owners and smallholder farmers through Internet of Things technology and allowing farmers to access affordable tractor services, plant on time and increase yields. It is one of 11 global startups welcomed into Start Path.
The current global shift towards digitization and open banking is transforming the future of commerce and connectivity as we know it. We are particularly excited to partner with regional innovative fintechs, such as Hello Tractor, through our Start Path program. These partnerships are crucial as we continue to build the digital economy through ongoing innovations that deliver locally-relevant payment solutions to empower communities and harness Africa’s potential.Raghav Prasad, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard
Globally, Mastercard is welcoming 11 new startups to its Start Path program, offering a powerful network, innovative technology and deep expertise to help them grow their business and scale sustainably. Since 2014, Mastercard has invited more than 230 later-stage startups worldwide to participate in its six-month virtual program, providing technical guidance, operational support and commercial engagements within the Mastercard ecosystem.
Hello Tractor is revolutionizing how farmers access tractors in a region that has been plagued by low rates of mechanization. By partnering with Mastercard through the Start Path program, we have the opportunity to unlock additional value for our farmers by expanding their access to banking and payments infrastructure. This combination of innovations holds unlimited promise for this continent and the global south.Jehiel Oliver, Founder Hello Tractor
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, several African fintechs have benefited from the Start Path program including Ukheshe, MAX, N-Frnds, Flutterwave, Kasha, mfarmPay, Netplus, Lidya and Lipa Later. Providing a simple, single entry point to Mastercard’s wide fintech portfolio and access to everything startups need to grow quickly, these fintechs have achieved accelerated growth from the program over the past few years.
Start Path evaluates more than 1,500 applications each year and selects approximately 40 startups that offer the most promising technologies and demonstrate a readiness to scale. Startups in this growing network have gone on to raise $2.7 billion in post program capital and collaborate with Mastercard, major banks, merchants and other high-profile organizations.
Consumer expectations are evolving more rapidly than ever and banks, financial institutions, and digital players are looking for even more agility in bringing new solutions to market; Mastercard’s global reach and local roots afford it the ability to foster a strong, carefully curated network of technology partners that are qualified based on Mastercard standards and industry requirements. Mastercard is expanding its Engage program to support even more solutions and deliver better learning and promotional opportunities for partners.
Engage identifies, serves and promotes a network of more than 170 strategic partners who comply with Mastercard certification and rules, to build and deploy new solutions on behalf of fintechs, banks and merchants. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, Engage signed almost 50 new deals with partners such as Antelop, Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security, MeaWallet, Netcetera, Payair and Thales across Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa.
Strengthening the capabilities of technology partners is even more critical during times of crisis, so fintechs can innovate faster and better serve consumers and businesses. Engage has enabled more than 200 million cards to support financial growth and market entry for fintechs around the world. Additional resources are now available for partners through the new Mastercard Engage website.