Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

MasterCard supports mobile lending, password-free authentication startups for next-gen innovations

A mobile lender and a next-generation authentication platform are among the startups being funded by MasterCard and Silicon Valley Bank, pointing to the untapped potential in mobile for reimagining commerce and financial services.

The startup mentorship program, Commerce.Innovated., helps innovative commerce and financial solutions build their business. The fourth class of startups includes Float, which offers credit to mobile users; LaunchKey, a password-free, platform-agnostic mobile authentication system; Alloy, an API to collect and manage customer data, and a mobile app developer.

“For us, it’s about supporting the entire innovation ecosystem,” said Reetika Grewal, head of payments strategy and solutions at Silicon Valley Bank. “It’s important that we work with these startups to help them bring the next generation of solutions to the market faster.

“The commerce and fintech sectors continue to gain momentum and mobile is a very large part of that,” she said.

Next-gen innovation
Mobile has already driven significant innovation in the commerce and financial services space, but as the startups chosen for the Commerce.Innovated program show, there is still room for more.

Float offers instant credit to mobile users that can be used online, in stores or with an existing debit card. Consumers can sign up without having to share their credit score.

LaunchKey offers a white label, decentralized system that leverages the end user’s mobile device – as opposed to a password – for authentication and transaction approval.

Alloy is an API for collecting and managing customer data from many different sources that is designed to help financial services companies safely onboard new customers.

“What is unique about our accelerator is that it is very operationally oriented,” Ms. Grewal said. “It attracts companies in payments or commerce and we help them with operational and infrastructure expertise including compliance, fraud prevention and AML monitoring, and then help them connect to very large payment players.”

Better customer experiences
For MasterCard, the startup accelerator program is a way to support the kind of fresh, creative ideas that could help create better experiences for its customers, partners and the entire commerce ecosystem.

The four startups will go through a four-month long virtual program, with Silicon Valley Bank, MasterCard and their respective networks sharing their expertise and provides resources for refining and enhancing the startups’ business ideas.

Commerce.Innovated., which launched in 2014, has worked 14 startups to date, including Dash, PennyOwl and Splitwise.

“Mobile technologies are re-shaping every aspect of our lives – from how we communicate and socialize, to how we shop and pay for things,” Ms. Grewal said. “Always on, always with you and always about you–mobile in general is an incredibly personal and powerful technology.

“Applied to commerce and financial services, mobile is one of a handful of technologies that is proving to be absolutely transformative and an enabler of disruptive innovation,” she said. “Mobile’s role is already becoming a significant channel for the commerce and fintech landscapes, and will only become more central in the future.”