Mastercard Lighthouse – the leading startup partnership platform in Nordics & Baltics – is once again scouting for startups at Latitude59, and showcasing the outstanding participants of their current programs. They are always looking for great Fintech and Impact teach startups ready to scale. Unlike typical accelerator and incubators, the Lighthouse program is free (without Mastercard taking any equity in the startup) and entirely focused on creating partnership with promising startups, large corporations and partner banks in the region, with the main aim of trying to help the companies succeed with their mission. Know anyone who should join? The application for the Fall program opens at their Grand Finale event at Latitude59!
Mastercard Lighthouse has two startup programs, both last about three months. Can you introduce them briefly? What kind of a founder could you help the most?
Lighthouse FINITIV is a search and partnership program focused on finding the next fintech unicorn. Our goal is to strengthen the financial services ecosystem by pairing the energy and innovation of Fintechs and Fintech enablers with the stability and distribution at large corporates and banks.
Lighthouse MASSIV is a partnership program focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and dedicated to helping one billion people live more prosperous and secure lives by 2025 – by helping impact tech companies scale globally through partnerships with large organizations.
Which startup has reached the furthest after participating in your program? Can you bring out a few positive case studies that you’re extra proud of?
For Lighthouse FINITIV it is Doconomy and Enfuce:
- After winning Lighthouse FINITIV in November 2019, Doconomy signed a partnership with Mastercard and together they developed the Carbon Calculator, which is a tool that helps consumers trace their carbon footprint through transactions. The Carbon Calculator is now being used by various top tier banks. Recently, Doconomy acquired the company Dreams Technology AB.
- Enfuce was our very first winner of the Lighthouse FINITIV program and they provide Card as a Service functionalities and have entered into a partnership with Mastercard. Since they participated in the Lighthouse FINITIV program Enfuce has grown considerably now servicing customers in multiple countries with a wide range of card products including digital solutions.
For Lighthouse MASSIV it is Desert Control and SPENN:
- Desert Control won the very first Lighthouse MASSIV program in May 2020, and since then the company has scaled rapidly. They signed many large partnerships, went public through an IPO in March 2020, and scaled into the United States (California) after showing successful pilots outside of Dubai, growing vegetables and fruits in the desert.
- SPENN, focusing on financial inclusion in Africa, won the Lighthouse MASSIV program Spring 2021 and following this win they were invited to join Mastercard’s global Start Path program. Furthermore, they have IPOed and entered a partnership with Mastercard for several African countries.
What is Mastercard’s mission and the bigger vision regarding being involved in the startup scene? What is the impact you are after?
Mastercard aims to do well by doing good. For that reason, the company has different initiatives globally related to fintech innovation, financial inclusion, social impact and sustainability.
In the Nordic & Baltic region, we launched Mastercard Lighthouse in 2018, to strengthen the financial services ecosystem in the region supporting startups with partnerships through Lighthouse FINITIV. Since 2019 we have committed to the vision of helping one billion people live more prosperous and secure lives by 2025, through Lighthouse MASSIV.
“We have been committed to the vision of helping one billion people live more prosperous and secure lives by 2025”
The startup scene and its trends are constantly changing. What’s the goal for 2023? How has your strategy changed since last year?
With the last three Lighthouse MASSIV programs we have been focusing our support increasingly on startups that have solutions combining sustainability, financial inclusion and social impact. We realized that our commitment to helping people live more prosperous and secure lives can best be achieved if we put our efforts on also tackling climate change specifically, as it is the biggest challenge of our time.
Despite the current economic downtrend, the FinTech and FinTech enabler ecosystem across the Nordics & Baltics remains vibrant and looking for ways to weather the storm. Among the applications, we have noticed a rise of personal finance management apps and solutions designed to improve the financial wellbeing and literacy of consumers as well as a clear trend of more fintechs adding sustainability and ESG to their business models.
Other trending domains this term is crypto, AI, AML and BNPL. For Lighthouse FINITIV the goal remains the same: bridging the gap between startups, scaleups and incumbents in the area of financial services, and creating the right conditions for growth powered by partnership.
What’s your stopper right now? What do you need to get to the next level and have an even bigger impact?
We’d rather talk about enablers and opportunities than stoppers. As Mastercard Lighthouse is a mature partnership program, currently running its 10th round, we’re constantly working on expanding our network of participating banks, partners, advisors and experts. We’re always on the lookout for new partnership opportunities through which we could add even more value to startups and scaleups, and support them on realizing their mission.
Finally – please share a tip for founders, the audience at Latitude59. Something you see, in your practice, ignored way too often but is crucial to making a founder and their startup successful.
Most startups can find their way in the ecosystem and get business development opportunities through joining accelerator programs. We noticed that there is not much out there for startups that are past that stage and are ready to scale their solutions. That is why we launched Mastercard Lighthouse – for startups in Seed stage or Series A, that are looking to enter new markets and are ready for partnerships with large organizations.
Quite often we also see that the companies take on too many deliverables at the same time while it pays off to focus to make it more manageable, and to start delivering their services step by step.
Also, an observation we made is that companies often lack a robust go-to-market strategy. The most successful companies pick a path, they validate their solution, and leverage successes to scale up and roll out their services. Running on every ball has the tendency to eventually thin out resources and create organizational challenges both on the short and longer run.
Come meet the Mastercard Lighthouse team and their startups at Latitude59 2023. Mastercard Lighthouse Startup Showcase – an official Latitude59 side event – will take place on May 24 from 10.00-14.00 at PROTO Avastustehas (Pantera Hall), where all 21 startups will pitch. The event is free and open to everyone, just make sure to sign up to secure your spot. The final six will advance to the Grand Finale, taking place at the Community Stage of Latitude59 on Thursday, May 25 from 13.00-14.00.
The 21 startups coming to Latitude59 2023 with Mastercard Lighthouse
- In the FINITIV class: Anyday.io, Tjommi, Penly, Uniify, 2021.AI, Two, Celeri, Fygi Technologies, Spense, goscore (Techstars ’22), Cino, Solid World, Mifundo, AMLYZE, Swapin
- In the MASSIV class: TrusTrace, Klimato, 4Life Solutions, No Isolation, Glint Solar, eAgronom
If you run a Fintech, a Fintech enabler or an Impact Tech startup ready to scale through partnership, make sure to apply to the next batch – all the information about the fall 2023 programs can be found at www.mclighthouse.com. Application rounds are already open during Latitude59 2023!