Mastercard invites European startups to second Start Path accelerator competition

Mastercard has invited payments and commerce startups to apply for a place on its second Start Path Europe accelerator programme.

Up to eight startups chosen by the global payments provider will be placed on a 12-month mentorship programme, where they will receive support from a pool of experts at company.

Participants will also be introduced to Mastercard partners to explore pilot opportunities, as well as offering access to the firm's technology.

The mentorship, delivered onsite and via 'virtual programmes', will launch on April 2015, with the application process closing on 19 February.

"Start Path Europe is unique, because we tailor the support to match the individual needs of a startup, rather than applying a 'one size fits all' approach," said Stephane Wyper, global lead of MasterCard Start Path.

"Our goal is the success of each startup and helping them grow faster than they could on their own."

Last year's competition saw Ridango, Zencard, Xpreso, Instabank, MePin, and Storee chosen from applicants in 30 countries.

"Start Path Europe has been hugely beneficial for us," said Simon Pleass, co-founder and CEO of Dublin-based commerce firm Xpreso.

"With MasterCard's support, we have engaged with a number of large organisations about commercial opportunities and accelerated our sales pipeline."

A number of financial services firms - from banks to insurers - have sought to engage with startups, partly to help identify and access innovation that is created externally. For example, Barclays has launched its own accelerator, while foreign exchange firm Travelex has created a £25 million investment fund.


Matthew Finnegan

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