Mastercard, Enel X Win Bid To Develop Israeli FinTech Lab


Mastercard and technology solutions firm Enel X are teaming up after winning a competitive bid to develop a FinTech and cybersecurity innovation lab in partnership with the government of Israel and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA).

The new lab in Be’er Sheva, Israel will work with startups to develop FinTech and cybersecurity solutions for payments and energy networks worldwide. It will focus on cybersecurity, FinTech, financial inclusion and authentication.

Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence for Mastercard, said in a statement that it has never been more important than it is today to ensure that security is “at the forefront of all innovation.” 

He added that the partnership with Enel X will enable Mastercard to leverage “many partners and resources — including Israel’s renowned start-up economy.” The collaboration will help bring innovations “to market even faster” while also addressing cybersecurity threats.

The lab’s expertise and infrastructure will tap Israel’s fast-growing tech startup economy to develop solutions and advance innovation.

“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 Israeli government has decreed the southern city of Be’er Sheva — where the lab will be located — as a cyber and FinTech hub. Numerous tech companies from around the world have cyber R&D centers based in the city. 

The lab will be licensed for three years and publicly funded with about $3.7 million for startup and operational costs as well as proof of concept development.

This is Mastercard’s latest cybersecurity investment in support of advancing pioneering ideas and developing new talent. Mastercard runs a startup accelerator called Start Path and has technology labs in Arlington, Dublin, New York, Pune, St. Louis, Sydney, Vadodora and Vancouver.  

Headquartered in Rome and part of the Enel Group, Enel X established its first innovation hub in Tel Aviv in 2016. It has since worked with 35 local technology start-ups. Enel’s Infralab houses more than six lab companies and eight additional startups.

Mastercard is on a mission to connect 1 billion people and 50 micro-businesses to the digital economy by 2025. In addition, the company is offering tools to 25 million female entrepreneurs to fuel business growth.