ALSO READInfosys arm to take Indian start-up tech to global financial clients Fintech start-ups, traditional players join hands to target millennials Massive pressure for innovation on India's fintech space, says Nasscom BSE eyes creation of fintech talent with new MBA programme Fintech - old wine in a new bottle
MasterCard today announced the launch of its innovation centre to focus on solving "India-specific" problems in the areas of technology and financial enablement. This would be their second innovation centre, after Singapore, in Asia and ninth globally.
"Labs are the future-proofing arm of MasterCard to generate sustainable innovation. The labs are like a sandbox within the organisation to try out new technology that is consumer-oriented and can be built and deployed to market. We are not looking at this (India) as a financial inclusion market but rather at driving enablement here," said Tobias Puehse, Vice President, Mastercard Labs, Asia Pacific. MasterCard has recently signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Government towards strategic collaboration to enable safe and secure digital solutions adoption at the state level.
In India, Mastercard Labs will work with financial institutions and merchant partners from the Fintech community to identify and experiment with future technologies in areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments, safety and security. The Lab will also support and work with startups developing next generation, breakthrough commerce solutions through Mastercard's Start Path program.
"India is a unique market with immense scale. There is a huge opportunity to move more people into a cashless economy here," added Puehse. MasterCard has already announced over $750 million worth of investment in India over the next five years. They are working with startups like Razorpay, FluidAI and ToneTag among others in fintech and data analytics sectors.
Mastercard expects the Labs will be a key innovation engine for the country and foster collaboration and co-creation with academia, fintech experts, technologists and developers based in India. The labs will be an extension of their existing facility in Pune. The company did not give specific hiring details for this new venture although globally 15 per cent of their employee base comes from India.
This year, Mastercard co-innovated with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and other payments brands like Visa and Amreican Expresss to develop Bharat QR, the world's first interoperable Quick Response (QR) code acceptance solution, as part of a national push to streamline local electronic payments infrastructure.