By David Penn
Mastercard will welcome five fintech startups to its inaugural Start Path Open Banking Programme.
The initial cohort will feature two Finovate alums: UAE/San Francisco-based Dapi and mmob, a Best of Show winner from the UK.
The new, open banking-oriented program will enable fintechs to leverage Mastercard’s open banking expertise and market insights to scale their businesses.
A pair of Finovate alums – one from the UAE and another headquartered in the UK – have earned spots in Mastercard’s new open banking-focused Start Path programme. Dapi, an open banking API provider based in the UAE, and mmob, a UK-based embedded finance innovator, will join three other fintechs in Mastercard’s three-month programme.
“Open banking is a natural progression of how Mastercard has always embraced innovation and consumer trust with equal measure, and how we’ve remained a trusted partner for our customers,” Mastercard EVP for Fintech & Segment Solutions Blake Rosenthal said. “We are thrilled to launch the Start Path Open Banking programme and welcome five high-growth startups from around the world to collaborate with us and accelerate open banking innovation.”
Rounding out the inaugural class are Finantier, an open finance platform based in Indonesia; Mono, a fintech headquartered in Nigeria that helps businesses access financial data and facilitate payments; and US-based Paywallet, which helps lenders and other financial services companies improve payment certainty.
Mastercard’s Start Path Open Banking programme is designed to work with open banking startups as they scale their businesses and explore opportunities for co-innovation. The five companies selected for this year’s programme have demonstrated “strong synergies” with Mastercard’s approach to technology and consumer choice, according to a statement. The companies will spend three months working with and learning from Mastercard’s open banking expertise and platforms via its wholly-owned subsidiaries – Finicity and Aiia – both of which are also Finovate alums.
Making its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope earlier this year, mmob won Best of Show for its Intelligent Partnerships Infrastructure, which enables businesses to build better digital experiences via embedded finance solutions. The company, founded in 2020 by Irfan Khan (CEO) ad Arsalaan Ahmed, serves both firms looking to embed new products as well as those who want to have their own products embedded into other solutions. mmob helps businesses integrate the kind of complimentary products and services that boost conversions and create new revenue streams.
“We will be using the next three months to work with Mastercard’s teams, develop our product and introduce mmob’s solution to Mastercard’s global network,” mmob said in a statement.
In March, mmob secured US$6.6 million (EUR 5.9 million) in funding. The investment came courtesy of angel investors, high net worth individuals, and banking executives. The funding will enable the company to expand in both the UK, where it is headquartered, as well as in Malaysia. With partners including PensionBee, Anorak, Uinsure, and Superscript, mmob announced its latest partner, iwoca, back in September.
“As big banks reduce their risk appetite, we believe embedded finance is the future of SME lending,” iwoca Commercial Growth Director Colin Goldstein said when the partnership was announced last fall. “Mmob presents an exciting opportunity for us and a win-win for everyone involved in its ecosystem.”
Dapi, headquartered in the UAE, demonstrated its technology at FinovateMiddleEast in 2019. An infrastructure API technology company, Dapi facilitates connections between banks and fintechs across the Middle East. Founded in 2019 by Mohammad Aziz (CEO) and maintaining offices in San Francisco, California as well as the Middle East, the company offers both data aggregation and payment initiation services with a single integration.
“Dapi’s mission is to provide the building blocks for a thriving fintech ecosystem in emerging markets around the world,” Aziz said in an exclusive interview with Finovate. “Our API serves as the bridge between financial applications and banks, empowering developers to create digital wallets, budget trackers, investment applications, and more.”
In January 2021, Dapi raised US$3 million in funding, bringing its total capital raised to US$5.2 million courtesy of investors including the Pioneer Fund, Y Combinator, and BECO Capital. The company began the year partnering with NymCard, a banking-as-a-service provider headquartered in the UAE. The strategic agreement will enable end customers to top up their card accounts from any local bank account in real-time and at lower cost.
“We are very excited to have Dapi onboard,” NymCard VP of Strategic Partnerships Nabil Tabbara said. “Our strategic partnership with Dapi solves a major pain point for clients who are looking to build frictionless card programmes. This is a big step forward for the region’s fintech ecosystem as we combine our effort to help them become more profitable.”