Mastercard Start Path points to future paytech trends

New round of funding focuses on blockchain, digital ID and increasingly important role of start-ups in the future of payment technology


The recent announcement by Mastercard that it is to support a further 11 later-stage fintech and tech start-ups through its Start Path programme has highlighted a number of key trends for payments technology.

The 11 selected companies from across five countries are working on the largest array of innovations the programme has seen to date, including the development of new blockchain uses, protection of digital identity, and the digitisation of donations, among other solutions.

Mastercard launched Start Path in early 2014 to provide operational support, commercial access and strategic investment for start-ups that are building innovative solutions in financial services and commerce. Since launch, the Start Path team has evaluated roughly 1,600 start-ups per year and engaged more than 150 of them around the globe.

“The diversity of Start Path proves how quickly the pace of innovation is happening in so many areas,” said Amy Neale, vice president, Mastercard Start Path. “Providing a range of companies with the resources and introductions they need to scale allows us to enable new ways to build the future of commerce together.”

The latest Start Path companies are:

AID:Tech delivers digital entitlements transparently through blockchain technology and digital identity.

b.well makes managing health care and insurance simple by unlocking insights on patients.

Flutterwave is fostering digital payments acceptance and infrastructure for banks and businesses across Africa.

Goodworld powers the world’s only technology for frictionless hashtag payments on social media.

HYPR reduces the risk of data breaches by eliminating the need for a centralised credential store.

Mobeewave enables smartphones to accept contactless payments without external hardware.

Railsbank gives companies access to a global banking network through simple APIs.

Sensibill’s platform turns everyday purchase receipts into a core part of the digital banking experience.

ShieldPay’s instant digital escrow facility enables everyone, everywhere to transact with each other in total confidence.

Trunomi unlocks the power of customer data using data rights management.

Zeta Optima is a new way to manage employee claims, fuel card, medical allowance and other tax-saving benefits.

Revealing trends

Mastercard’s latest selection of organisations highlights a number of paytech trends that we can expect to see in 2018 and beyond. These include:

  • An increased need for transparency through the likes of blockchain
  • Growing demand for payment inclusion through innovative payment acceptance solutions
  • Development of payment partnerships outside the payments ecosystem
  • Growing diversity of the paytech environment
  • True globalisation will be at the heart of payment technologies moving forward
  • Anywhere, anytime access via as many platforms as possible is being demanded
  • The growing importance of the payment journey, payment experience and social payments.

The final point on the list ties in with one of the central trends of this year’s Money20/20 Las Vegas event. There, Kahina Van Dyke from Facebook commented: “A couple of years ago, no-one understood the social aspect of payments. But actually, every payment has a story and a concept, whether you’re donating to a charity or sending money to friends. Payment is a conversation.”

Payment security

Of course, underpinning all payments technology trends is the need for security, highlighted by several of the Start Path beneficiaries.

Recognising the continuing rise of transactions between people who don’t know each other, ShieldPay has developed a unique and patent-pending technology that protects both buyer and seller in any payment by verifying both individuals, securing funds from the buyer and only releasing them to the seller when both sides are happy. It’s mission, it says, is to eliminate peer-to-peer fraud and enable everyone, everywhere, to transact with each other in total confidence.

Then there’s HYPR – the provider of enterprise-facing decentralised authentication solutions. Hot on the heels of HYPR’s recently announced Series A funding round of $8m, Mastercard’s strategic investment further enables HYPR’s solutions to extend to the millions of users across the Mastercard payments ecosystem.

With 30 billion devices predicted to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020, ensuring they are secure and properly authorised when used to make a purchase is critical. HYPR’s solution improves security and reduces the risk of an enterprise data breach by putting consumers’ credentials on the device itself instead of in a central database.

This approach provides consumers with greater security and usability. It also has applications for online banking, merchant services, connected cars and other IoT initiatives.

“People need the peace of mind that their personal information, their money, and their identity are secure in the digital age,” added Bob Reany, Executive Vice President of Global Products and Services for Identity Solution at Mastercard. “We are committed to advancing a consumer-centric vision of security grounded in giving people the ability to maintain control of their data. HYPR’s technology is a smart way to keep critical data where it belongs – close to the consumer.”

Mastercard has put its cards firmly on the table; its clear the organisation recognises the fundamental shift from physical plastic cards to digital payments – and the way this digital evolution is transforming the way consumers and businesses interact with payments.

Applications open

Applications for the next 6-month virtual program will be accepted until Monday 15 January, 2018. The program is open to start-ups who are rethinking banking, payments and commerce and have raised a significant seed or Series A round of investment. Interested start-ups can visit https://www.startpath.com/ for additional information and to submit an application.

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