“Payment Acceptance” start-ups dominate Lighthouse FINITIV 2022 Spring Program5 april 2022 | Stockholm, Sweden | Av Annika Kristersson
Five payment acceptance start-ups stand among the 15 selected to meet Mastercard in the Lighthouse FINITIV program. Since its launch in 2018, Lighthouse FINITIV has created a forum for selected start-ups to enter partnership discussions with Mastercard and its largest Nordic & Baltic partner banks. This Spring, the program returns to Denmark, Norway and Lithuania, where once again “acceptance start-ups,” or start-ups focused on helping merchants accept payments, stand out as the most prominent theme.
Since the program’s founding, just 22 participating start-ups (18% of the 120 total companies admitted) have focused on payment acceptance, with the rest focusing on other verticals like issuing, crypto, lending, and compliance. This year, Danish companies Vibrant and Groo join Tipit, Vority and Vayapay to form the longest list of acceptance focused start-ups ever admitted to a single Lighthouse class.
- “At Lighthouse FINITIV, our goal is to strengthen the financial services ecosystem across the Nordics and Baltics," says Program Manager, Lana Brandorne. ”Payment acceptance has always been one of the program’s focal points, and Mastercard continues to invest in improving the merchant experience through acceptance and acquirer initiatives. With the benefit of hindsight, we can also say that some of our most successful alumni--including Aiia, Shopbox, Unwire (now Softpay), GoAppified and Kevin--have come from the acceptance side. We’re excited to spend even more time on acceptance initiatives with the help of this class.”
Over the past three and a half years, many Lighthouse alumni have gone on to achieve strong outcomes. Last year alone, Lighthouse alumni raised over €70 million in venture capital funding, according to Lighthouse analysis. Enfuce (’18 Class) singlehandedly raised a €45 million Series C to mark one of the largest funding rounds for a female-founded fintech in the Nordics. Aprila Bank (’20 Class) signed a partnership agreement with DNB in Norway and Kevin (’20 Class), an account-to-account payments start-up, grew from 30 to 130 employees in 2021, according to Lighthouse analysis of company LinkedIn data. While our 2021 fall winner Earthbanc went from auditing and reporting from 2M to 13.6M carbon tons and protecting 1.5 million Hectares of forest, equivalent to 2,803,751 football fields. These success stories stand on top of wins from prior years, including Aiia’s acquisition by Mastercard in 2021 and GoAppified’s acquisition by Loomis in 2020.
- “During the past 3 years, Lighthouse showed us how innovative the Nordic and Baltic region is. There is no slowing down and the fintech sectors is reaching all-time highs with more capital being brought in and thus attracting even more entrepreneurs to build fintech products. Payments have been leading this innovation and thus proves to us the importance of this community. We want to do our part to strengthen the ecosystem through open innovation platforms such as Lighthouse. It was a tough decision to select 15 companies among all the applicants, but we are excited to start working together with some of the most promising fintechs of the region this spring. This time the majority of companies are within payments vertical and we cant wait to explore what partnerships could come out of this program”, says Mats Taraldsson, Head of Innovation and Fintech Engagement, Mastercard Nordic and Baltic
Lighthouse remains a competitive program for start-ups to enter. This spring, 167 companies applied by submitting partnership proposals and company details. Twenty-six shortlisted FINITIV applicants pitched Mastercard and its partner banks prior to the final class selection.
- “Our team is looking forward to meeting new fintechs for the main purpose of exploring synergies and bringing even more value to our existing and future clients across segments. We have been one of the banking partners for Mastercard Lighthouse program since the beginning and thoroughly enjoy exploring mutually beneficial opportunities with innovative fintechs." says Ida Schulin-Zeuthen, Everyday Banking Corporate Product Owner, at Danske Bank.
During the program, admitted start-ups will be able to present their solutions and discuss possible collaboration areas with partners in a 1:1 setting. Mid-program, companies will be matched with relevant investors from the Lighthouse Investor Circle, a group of 40+ investors covering Europe and North America. Additionally, the companies will meet pro bono growth advisors including Fintech Mundi, Invenio Growth and AWS. The program also facilitates meetings with Mastercard Marketing and Communication teams for guidance in making their story and messaging clear and enticing.
- "While personally, this is my first year engaging in the program, SEB partners with the Lighthouse program since it was established in 2018. We treat it as one of the best sources for interacting with quality start-ups for potential collaboration. Numerous partnership discussions have been taking place in order to explore mutually beneficial opportunities with innovative fintechs. It is a great cooperation for both sides to blend competence, share knowledge and develop better financial services for the whole society,” says Marius Ribokas, Innovation Lead at SEB LT.
Meet the Lighthouse Spring Class of 2022:
- Vourity is a SaaS platform for unattended payments and access. (vourity.com)
- GROO is an innovative loyalty community platform, which enables consumers to pay their bills/subscription via cashback. (groo.dk)
- Vibrant is a payment app using tap-to-phone technology to transform smartphones into a contactless payment terminal. (vibrant.io)
- FellowPay is developing a solution that raises the credit limit of its customers’ Mastercards. (fellowpay.com)
- Sepior provides key management and wallet solutions for Digital Asset management and security using MPC. (sepior.com)
- Paiblock is a platform that provides a secure place to gather and connect all the dots of the digital life. (Paiblock.app)
- Lendwill is developing a mobile app to help young adults build a globally verifiable credit history on the blockchain. (lendwill.com)
- Stack by.me is the new investment app for the young and inexperienced, helping you get started through knowledge and network. (stackby.me)
- Zeipt is an open API SaaS platform for sending smart receipts from checkout directly to the consumers applications in real-time. (zeipt.com)
- Tipit collects, allocates and distributes cashless tips straight into a waiter’s bank account with 0 integrations. (tipit.lt)
- Kernolab helps companies create bespoke banking and payment experiences within their products, without the hurdles associated with traditional banking. (kernolab.com)
- Verified Payments is a BaaS platform enabling B2B customers launch their own payment and embedded finance products in weeks. (verifiedpayments.com)
- SME Finance is developing digital financing solutions to solve the problem of lack of funding for SMEs in Europe. (smefinance.eu)
- Pixevia develops AI-driven store platform similar to Amazon Go experience. (pixevia.com)
- Vayapay makes mobility frictionless with simple payment solutions. (vayapay.com)
About Lighthouse Program:
Mastercard Lighthouse is an open innovation platform designed to strengthen the entire financial services ecosystem. Lighthouse is a free program designed to catalyse symbiotic partnerships between fintechs, Mastercard, and leading Nordic and Baltic Banks. Pairing the energy and innovation of fintechs with the stability and distribution at large financial service firms, Lighthouse produces partnerships that strengthen the entire ecosystem. Each five-month program hosts workshops for 15+ fintechs from the region. The program brings banks, investors, advisors and fintechs together to explore partnerships via open innovation. Read more about Lighthouse at www.mclighthouse.com
About Lighthouse FINITIV:
Mastercard Lighthouse is an open innovation platform designed to strengthen the entire financial services ecosystem. FINITIV is a free program designed to catalyze symbiotic partnerships between fintechs, Mastercard, and Tier 1 Nordic partners. Pairing the energy and innovation of fintechs with the stability and distribution at large financial service firms, FINITIV produces partnerships that strengthen the entire ecosystem. Each five-month the program hosts workshops for 15+ fintechs, and brings banks, investors, advisors and fintechs together to explore partnerships via open innovation. Read more about Lighthouse at www.mclighthouse.com