In today’s increasingly complex world, innovation doesn’t only happen behind closed doors. You never know what new idea in AI, augmented reality, robotics, blockchain technology or biometrics will be the next big thing – and that’s why partnering is key. Mastercard, too, collaborates with innovative startups around the world.

Mats Taraldsson, Head of Digital Business Development and Fintech Engagement for Mastercard in the Nordics and Baltics, says the best part of his job is working with creative people to build new innovative solutions, making life easier for consumers, merchants and governments.

The future is digital. It’s not just a world beyond cash, but a world beyond plastic as well.

“All devices have the potential to become a commerce device. Like paying for your groceries with your car keys or paying for a bus ride with your ring,” Taraldsson says.

Behind all these innovations lie technological advancements.

“Through tokenisation, we can connect practically any device to our payment card in a secure way. And with biometrics, we can also build a world beyond passwords as identification is done for instance by recognising our unique heartbeat pattern, facial expressions or fingerprints,” Taraldsson continues.

The power of partnership

Innovation and development are in Mastercard’s DNA.

The company has its own network of innovation centres – Mastercard Labs – around the world, where important research and development is done. However, in the ocean of innovation, no company is an island. To be able to take better advantage of the world full of possibilities, you need partnerships – a network of innovative players, who can all help each other reach their goals.

In addition to collaboration with the big players, Mastercard works with startups to create breakthrough solutions and to build the future of commerce together.

When a startup has its business, technology and innovation models figured out, a meeting with Mastercard’s experts can be arranged.

“We get to know each other better and dig deeper into what kind of collaboration we could start. Mastercard can help open doors and introduce startups to an interesting network of contacts. On the other hand, startups can provide us with further new services we can jointly offer to our customers,” Taraldsson explains.

At the Mastercard Developers portal, developers can find open APIs for use in their innovation process.

Later-stage startups that already have a business set up can apply to Mastercard’s Start Path programme, designed to help startups scale up their business and seek international opportunities. 

Nordic innovation wonderland

Mastercard has cooperated with several Nordic startups.

For example, Finnish MePIN – working with payment security – was one of the first startups to complete the Start Path program in 2014. And now, a Swedish-British startup called Divido is participating in the current spring 2017 class of the programme.

At the moment, there are several hundreds of Fintech startups in the Nordics and Baltics, which means there is great potential according to Taraldsson:

“The Nordics and Baltics are very innovative markets. We have sound infrastructure and access to the internet. We know technology and embrace new technological solutions. There are also a lot of creative people here, with great ideas and the will to implement them.”

Start Path

  • Start Path Global is our virtual partnership program to help later stage startups achieve scale.
  • Six-month virtual program with two immersion weeks in different cities around the world.
  • Mastercard offers expert advice, access to its products, technology and APIs and a global customer network.
  • Application twice a year. Application for the spring 2018 program is currently ongoing, with the application deadline 15 January 2018: www.startpath.com

Read the article in the latest issue of CoFounder magazine.

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