MasterCard is looking for a few good commerce startups, and it’s launching a program to help nurture promising new companies in the space.

Technology is rapidly changing the world of commerce, with mobile and wearable technology offering new payment mechanisms and new opportunities for marketers to communicate with customers and make personalized pitches for their business.

Much of this innovation is being driven by small startups, and global payments vendor MasterCard is looking to help those startups rapidly scale their business with a new program – Start Path Global. Start Path, now coming to Canada and other regions globally, is a six-month program that helps commerce and payment startups with resources such as access to MasterCard experts and the opportunity to pilot technology with MasterCard companies.

A number of commerce solutions vendors have already gone through the program with MasterCard, including Toronto’s Nymi. The wearable payments startup is currently testing its Nymi Band technology, which authenticates by heartbeat, with MasterCard and TD Bank.

MasterCard emphasizes that there is no need for a startup to relocate, MasterCard takes no equity, and the starter retains full ownership for any intellectual property developed.

“Start Path thoughtfully connects the right partners with the right startups to build the future of commerce together,” said Stephane Wyper, global lead of MasterCard Start Path, in a statement. “And now with our global expansion we will be able to target a broader range of startups and help them achieve success.”

With the program going international, startups will also be able to get support from and conduct pilots with a number of international partners, including Rakuten, Samsung Card, TSYS, Target, Bank of Montreal and Santander InnoVentures.

“Working with MasterCard Start Path introduces us to disruptive, early stage companies that may have the answers to overcoming the critical pain points facing global commerce,” said Mariano Belinky, managing partner at Santander InnoVentures, in a statement. “Businesses graduating from the Start Path program should all be well prepared, proven, and ready to go to market. These are just the types of ambitious startup businesses we’d like to meet.”

A new class of startups will enter the six-month virtual program every quarter, and applications to join the next class are open until Sept.18 at www.startpath.com. Applicants need to be non-US based startups that have a solution live in market, an established and experienced team, are targeting sizeable market opportunity in the retail and financial technology space, have a demonstrable unfair advantage over competitors, and have Seed or Series A investment recently secured.

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  • Shuky

    We participated in the program last year.
    Stephane and the team are doing an amazing job and the program was incredible and truly helpful.
    I highly recommend any commerce startups to participate.