Two Tel Aviv-based financial technology start-ups will represent Israel at a major event being held by MasterCard in Dublin next month. The Israeli companies will be vying against fintech start-ups from across Europe for a spot in the MasterCard Start Path accelerator.
One company, Sling, has a platform that allows micro-merchants to accept electronic payments from consumers via smartphone, and the other, Shopnfly, allows travelers to browse and pre-purchase items that can be picked up at a duty-free shop, delivered inflight or to a destination hotel.
Started last September, the Start Path program will provide chosen companies with a four-month program to help them streamline their technology. After that, they will embark on an eight-month period to integrate their technology in MasterCard’s ecosystem.
The two prospective Israeli candidates for the new Start Path program were chosen last week as 45 Israeli fintech start-ups pitched their ideas to a set of MasterCard executives, said Andras Hemberger, MasterCard Israel Country Manager.
“It’s not surprising that the MasterCard Start Path Pitch day in Tel Aviv brought excellent results. With so many innovative products, the MasterCard guests were shown a wide range of new and creative solutions,” he said.
The companies chosen to pitch for a slot in the Dublin finals included start-ups with commerce-focused technology in such areas as biometrics and payment security, authentication customer intelligence and insight, ecommerce and mcommerce (mobile commerce) technology, online marketplaces, loyalty and rewards, and location-based services.
Financial technology is quickly becoming one of Israel’s strongest technology suits, according to Garry Lyons, MasterCard’s Chief Innovation Officer. In 2014, over 50 Israeli start-ups applied for Mastercard’s Innovation Award competition, a contest which awards winners up to $25,000 for their innovative technology.
“We don’t have a research and development center in the country right now, but we come here all the time to look at start-ups,” said Lyons at the 2014 event. “I continue to be impressed by the level of innovation in Israel and quality of its entrepreneurs. Israel is a fantastic place, especially for things like security technology and payment technology — both things that naturally interest a company like ours.”
According to Stephane Wyper, Global Lead, MasterCard Start Path: “The entire Start Path team was overwhelmingly impressed with the ideas, innovation and creativity of all the start-ups. It was difficult to select only two, which shows the strength of innovation across Israel.”