Mastercard teams with Italian firm for innovation lab in Israel

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Mastercard is adding to its global network of innovation labs by partnering with Enel X, a mobility and smart-city startup based in Rome, to open a center in the Israeli fintech hub of Be'er Sheva.

The lab will test and develop new fintech and cybersecurity innovations to enhance digital security, digital authentication and financial inclusion. It plans to obtain a three-year license and $3.7 million in public funding to cover setup costs and proof of concept initiatives with local startups.

“This new collaboration will allow us to draw from many partners and resources—including Israel’s renowned startup economy—to help bring innovations to market even faster and reduce the growing threat and cost of cyberattacks,” said Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, in a press release.

Mastercard has several labs around the world, and recently changed its organizational structure to bring digital payments, labs and processing together. Michael Miebach, who will succeed Ajay Banga as Mastercard's CEO at the end of 2020, has led the digital strategy that includes Mastercard's innovation labs.

“By joining forces with an important partner like Mastercard, we will support these startups to develop and roll out best-in-class solutions in the fintech and cybersecurity sectors,” Francesco Venturini, head of Enel X, said in the release. Enel X is separately collaborating with 35 other Israeli startups on IoT, cybersecurity, e-mobility and energy storage, among other things, through an existing innovation lab in Tel Aviv.

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