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Issue: 1239 Date: 5/22/2014
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MasterCard launches new startup accelerator program

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        MasterCard Worldwide has established a new startup accelerator called MasterCard Start Path, which will incubate and accelerate early stage companies at MasterCard in Dublin, Ireland.

        The program is being led by MasterCard Labs, which is based in O'Fallon, Missouri.

        The program was developed to help identify selected startup companies with innovative commerce solutions that can benefit from MasterCard's help, said Amanda Gioia, a senior business leader with MasterCard Worldwide here.

        "We are connecting startups with experts from across MasterCard to provide guidance on key operational challenges," Gioia said. "This includes leveraging the technologists and our other talented staff members in St. Louis within a wide array of areas, including amongst others, compliance and processing."

        Applications for the program are due May 16. Selected companies will be announced in July. Those companies will receive close to $50,000 (35,000 euros) to co-locate to Dublin, near MasterCard's global headquarters, and work toward gaining early market validation through a pilot with a significant customer.

        Start Path shows MasterCard's continued commitment to innovation, Stephane Wyper, Start Path global lead at MasterCard, said in a statement. "The future of commerce will be shaped both by traditional players and by startups that are already experimenting with the next generation of solutions. We are giving these startups direct access to our extensive knowledge and experience, to help them uncover new ideas, and ultimately create better experiences for consumers, merchants and other partners."

        While in the accelerator program, startups will work with MasterCard staff in different areas of the business.

        Gioia did not disclose a budget for the program.

        MasterCard runs a similar accelerator program called Commerce. Innovated., a three-month program that works with startups with innovations in the commerce space and a path to revenue. Direct funding is not part of that program, but MasterCard - and its partner in the program, Silicon Valley Bank - require companies give Silicon Valley Bank and MasterCard the right to invest in a Series A funding round.

        MasterCard's Operations Center in O'Fallon, Missouri, is home to MasterCard's technology center, where much of the work centers around maintaining and innovating the company's payment network and developing new technology.

        MasterCard Worldwide employs roughly 2,000 in the St. Louis-area. The company reported net revenue of $8.3 billion in 2013, up 13 percent from 2012.

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