Mastercard and Enel X are launching a new lab in Israel to advance innovations in financial technology and cybersecurity for the payments and energy ecosystem globally. The lab will partner with start-up companies to test and develop products and solutions, with a particular focus on digital security, fintech platforms, digital authentication and financial inclusion.
The lab is being established in partnership with the Government of Israel, following a competitive tender launched by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), which aims to advance innovations within the fintech and cyber sectors by accelerating growth of the country’s start-up ecosystem. The new lab will combine the strength of Israel’s start-up economy with the support of the lab’s technical infrastructure, knowledge and expertise.
“Today, as much as ever, organizations need to keep security at the forefront of all innovation,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence for Mastercard. “This new collaboration will allow us to draw from many partners and resources – including Israel’s renowned start-up economy – to help bring innovations to market even faster and reduce the growing threat and cost of cyberattacks.”
“The new lab gives us the unique opportunity to work with Israeli start-ups to bring innovative financial technologies to our millions of customers worldwide,” said Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel X. “By joining forces with an important partner like Mastercard, we will support these start-ups to develop and roll out best-in-class solutions in the fintech and cybersecurity sectors.”
The new lab will be established in the southern city of Be’er Sheva, a city designated by the Israeli government as the cyber and fintech capital of the world and home to many cyber R&D centers of top global technology companies. The lab will obtain a three-year license and approximately USD 3.7 million of public funding to cover the lab’s establishment, operational costs and proof of concept development with local start-ups.
This expansion is the latest in a series of investments by Mastercard in cybersecurity, reinforcing the company’s commitment to supporting innovation and talent development. The lab will complement Mastercard’s Israeli headquarters in Tel Aviv, its award-winning global start-up engagement program Start Path, and its eight global technology centers in Arlington, Dublin, New York, Pune, St. Louis, Sydney, Vadodora and Vancouver. The lab builds on Mastercard and Enel’s record of collaboration in areas including financial inclusion products for the unbanked and digital wallet payments for electric vehicle charging stations.
Enel opened its first Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv in 2016 and since then has collaborated with 35 local start-ups in fields such as the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, e-mobility, energy storage and many more. In addition, Enel’s Infralab, an innovation lab dedicated to digitalization of infrastructure businesses, is today home to more than six lab companies and eight additional start-ups. The Hub and Infralab are part of the global network of 10 innovation hubs and 20 labs that Enel has around the world, including in Brazil, Chile, Italy, Russia, Spain and the US. Thanks to this global network, Enel has been working with about 300 start-ups from all over the world, boosting innovation in all of its global activities.