MasterCard to hold ‘hackathon’ competition in Israel

Credit card giant is looking to recruit local start-ups for its next generation of financial tech applications

Israeli start-up Pricence accepts first prize in the 2014 MasterCard Israel Technology Award event. (Courtesy)
Israeli start-up Pricence accepts first prize in the 2014 MasterCard Israel Technology Award event. (Courtesy)

Over the past several years, MasterCard has sponsored a series of financial technology events and contests in Israel, looking for top technology to enroll in its Start Path accelerator in Ireland.

So good has been the crop of companies recruited that MasterCard is now planning an API hackathon in Tel Aviv on 11-12 June — the first of 10 it plans to run around the world, with Israel honored for its tech prowess.

MasterCard has good reason to be impressed. Location tech company KitLocate — the company chosen by MasterCard in 2012 for its first-ever Israel Technology Award — was eventually bought out by Russian search giant Yandex, which, according to reports, paid about $20 million for the Israeli firm.

The 2013 winner was mobile customers service firm CallVU, which this year was chosen to be part of the prestigious TexChange program, which brings promising Israeli start-ups to London to develop partnerships and business deals. And in 2015, two companies that participated in the MasterCard Start Path Challenge, Shopnfly and Sling, were chosen as charter members of El Al’s new Cockpit accelerator program.

The hackathon, officially called the Masters of Code Competition, is a series of two day-long events in which top programmers will use application programming interfaces (APIs) developed by MasterCard. The APIs tap into assets, data and products and services from MasterCard that can be used to harness big data, credit card technology, location data and more to create apps.

The participating teams will be expected to create innovative prototypes that demonstrate artful coding and design skills, while also articulating clear cases of business use — all focused on driving the next generation of commerce applications, explained MasterCard.

Judging the event will be some of Israel’s and MasterCard’s top tech experts, who will choose the winners based on their app’s impact, design, creativity, simplicity and usage of MasterCard’s APIs.

The winning team from Tel Aviv will then join other winning regional teams to participate in the Grand Finale Masters of Code Hackathon in Silicon Valley — and join MasterCard for its Northern California Priceless Experience.

“We are delighted that Tel Aviv is part of our global hackathon series,” said Andras Hemberger, country manager for MasterCard Israel.

“Israel has a thriving culture of start-ups, especially in the financial technology area, so it’s the ideal location to tap into exciting new ideas.”

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