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Driving an inclusive digital economy through small business empowerment and open banking innovation – Mastercard

May 26, 2024

Mastercard welcomes 15 startups to Start Path that are empowering small businesses to grow and unlock innovation through open banking
As the fintech landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, Mastercard is embracing opportunities to support and collaborate with startups to build the future of open banking and small business innovation through the Start Path startup engagement program. Fifteen startups are joining Start Path across the Small Business and Open Banking programs, where they will be exposed to exclusive collaboration opportunities with Mastercard, helping them to refine their technologies, scale their solutions and solve real-world problems.  
The Start Path Small Business program is growing with nine fintechs from around the world, each tailoring solutions that meet the evolving needs of small businesses in today’s digital economy. As entrepreneurs seek solutions to support improved cash flow, access to capital and operational efficiency, Mastercard has identified its next cohort of companies that are empowering small and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs, to build, run and grow through cutting-edge technology.  
Mastercard has also handpicked six companies for the Open Banking program, providing exposure to its market-leading open banking technology, data connectivity and analytics offerings. Open banking enables businesses to work smarter, both when making decisions and when managing their finances. Helping more small businesses harness the power of their data can increase their ability to access capital and improve their financial lives in a safe and secure way.  
Through Start Path, companies get access to Mastercard’s ecosystem of banks, merchants, partners and digital players across the globe. Each track offers curated programming and a dedicated sponsor who helps selected companies identify innovation opportunities and provide curated introductions to partner with prospects. To date, more than 380 companies from 54 countries have participated in Start Path.    
Akahu [New Zealand]: Offers reliable, secure and deeply functional account connectivity infrastructure. 
“Open banking converts banking services into open APIs. It’s a new frontier for building better products, not just in banking, but in any sector that can harness financial data or account-to-account payments,” says Josh Daniell, co-founder of Akahu
Atomic [U.S.]: Puts consumer payroll and payment data to work, building connected experiences that grow account primacy and increase engagement. 
“Solving problems for consumers is what brought me into the fintech space. Consumers should be free to give their validated data to anyone and open banking should simplify the experience of changing financial institutions – it is about giving consumers choice and a better experience,” says Jordan Wright, co-founder and CEO Atomic.
Fena [U.K.]: Helps small businesses manage, sell, track,ship and get paid orders across multiple channels. 
“Technology in finance tackles the root problem: unequal access to financial resources – that’s where my passion for fintech comes from. Open finance offers a chance for individuals and small businesses to gain control over their finances, thereby equalisingequalizing opportunities across the board,” says Gosia Furmanik, founder of Fena
Portabl [U.S.]: Operates a reusable identity layer for open banking and payments through a single sign-on. 
“What drove the creation of Portabl was that financial access and mobility are constrained by outdated approaches to identity. ID and open banking payments are on a collision course, and we can’t wait to see how that simplifies and protects modern money movement,” says Nate Soffio, co-founder and CEO of Portabl
SensePass [U.S.]: Offers a frictionless checkout process, enabling merchants to accept any payment method, both online and in-store, seamlessly. 
“What truly ignited my passion for fintech was witnessing firsthand the growing chasm between the seamless online payment experience and the often clunky in-store process. Open banking will play a major part in the payment revolution, creating an alternative to credit and debit rails,” says Moty Arcuschin, co-founder and CEO of SensePass
WeMoney [Australia]: Provides a financial wellness platform that helps Millennials and Gen Z track their money all in one place to achieve their savings goals. 
“I’m attracted and passionate about solving the hardest problem that exists in financial services – having consumers completely understand their finances. Ultimately, open banking is the best way to allow consumers to achieve their financial goals faster – permissioned use of their data helps them achieve financial clarity and access to financial products and services,” says Dan Jovevski, founder and CEO of WeMoney
The following startups have been selected for the Start Path Small Business program:  
Duplo [Nigeria]: Helps businesses simplify and automate their financial operations across payments and reconciliation as well as vendor and spend management. 
“Duplo is making conducting business transactions seamless, with an ambitious goal to power commerce across Africa. We’ve built an industry-agnostic product that completely automates the back-office processes and automatically syncs payments with Enterprise Resource Planning platforms in real time,” says Yele Oyekola, co-founder and CEO of Duplo
Eedenbull [Norway]: Reinvents spend management through AI-powered tools. 
“Our card and spend management software, Q Business, embraces the power of AI to truly transform the landscape for small and medium-sized companies. We’re dedicated to supporting SME success, making things easier and enabling their businesses to thrive in today’s competitive environment,” says Nicki Bisgaard, founder and CEO of EedenBull
Fiskl [U.K.]: Provides an AI-powered financial management and accounting platform that reinvents the financial stack for small businesses globally. 
“Fiskl stands at the forefront of financial innovation, transforming small business accounting with intelligent automation that turns hours into minutes. Our platform is a testament to the power of AI, reshaping tedious financial tasks into strategic assets for entrepreneurs,” says Alina C. Lapusneanu, founder and CEO of Fiskl
Freely [U.S.]: Enables restaurants to use their credit card as a working capital tool, while allowing vendors to earn cash back for accepting credit card transactions. 
“While many restaurants want to pay their suppliers via credit cards, historically food vendors have disincentivized this payment method due to the cost of acceptance. At Freely, we’re dedicated to changing this paradigm by incentivizing distributors to embrace card transactions and empower restaurants to unlock the crucial cash flow they need,” says Ahmed Nawash, founder and CEO of Freely
Omnevue [U.K.]: Enriches traditional data sets with financial-grade Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data, allowing banks to leverage ESG compliance while lowering the cost of equity to build new green revenue opportunities. 
“Banks and financial institutions are making substantial investments to meet new regulations and disclosure requirements relating to their ESG performance. Omnevue’s set of solutions is leveraging mandatory compliance and transforming it into a platform to deliver new and appealing financial products for SMEs as well as customer incentives to decarbonize,” says Daniel Jeczmien co-founder and CEO Omnevue
Pallo [U.S.]: Grants access to the first all-in-one platform for the self-employed individual to seamlessly manage their business and personal finances, as well as budgeting, accounting and taxes in one place. 
“Pallo is revolutionizing the industry by breaking down the silos in today’s financial tools, offering the self-employed a unified, seamless experience under one roof. Our platform integrates accounting, tax and personal finance, eliminating the need to juggle multiple tools and providing a comprehensive solution for all financial management needs,” says Sanin Mody, co-founder of Pallo
Pemo [UAE]: Automates expenses for MENA small businesses through an all-in-one spend management solution. 
“Efficiently handling employee spend and expense reports is a universal challenge for accountants, finance directors and general managers. Pemo is eliminating administrative tasks and providing the Middle East and Northern African businesses with an automated solution that categorizes expenses, captures receipts and offers management teams comprehensive visibility on corporate spending,” says Alessandro Duri, co-founder of Pemo
Quartix [U.S.]: Unlocks supply chain finance for small businesses and the banks that serve them. 
“Supply Chain Finance (SCF) is a financial product traditionally offered by the largest banks to Fortune 500 companies, helping them to stretch payables with their vendors without compromising vendor relations. Quartix democratizes SCF by providing cutting-edge digital SCF infrastructure ‘as-a-service’ to any bank interested in offering SCF to its mid-sized clients,” says Noam Mani, co-founder & CRO of Quartix
Uplinq [Canada]: Leverages billions of data sets to deliver credit decisioning support technology for small business lenders around the world. 
“Uplinq is a purpose-driven company with a mission of helping all small business owners globally gain access to fair and ethical credit. With Uplinq’s technology, small business lenders are able to approve a significant number of additional loans, especially to minority and underserved segments, which would have otherwise been declined based on traditional underwriting criteria,” says Ron Benegbi, founder and CEO of Uplinq
Media contact: Jen Langione, Mastercard Global Communications, (917) 408-2941,


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