Leading to succeed
Sabrina Tharani: “Currently, I am leading Mastercard’s award-winning startup engagement program, Start Path, which works with select later-stage fintech startups helping them to scale their business by providing curated and open access to Mastercard’s products, expertise, and channels around the world. Today, our program focuses on enabling emerging fintech companies operating in a variety of spaces from payments, to digital assets and crypto, to open banking, to financial inclusion, and more. Start Path is focused on working collaboratively with fintech companies to build innovative solutions, enhance customer experiences and infuse trust across the payments ecosystem. Our purpose is to unleash the vast utility and scale of the Mastercard network to power new solutions in partnership with best-in-class emerging players. Our startup programs are specifically designed to help high-potential startups co-create with us, as well as seamlessly access a wide array of products, tools, and channels.
Fintech is one of the fastest-growing venture categories with unprecedented investment in the last two years. The growth of this sector has allowed us to accelerate the scale and diversity of our programs to ensure we continue to be the partner of choice for all fintech in the world. Several factors have contributed to our success:
1.) Deep expertise in corporate and startup partnerships, with a dedicated team that thinks about delivering mutually beneficial value each day.
2.) Ensuring that we provide curated and bespoke access to relevant opportunities, that we find partners that we can add meaningful value to, and that we invest in the partnership to ensure long-term success.
3.) Empowering diverse teams – diverse management teams perform better, so we work with companies that carry the same ethos as Mastercard and have multiple voices represented at the table.
To date, we have worked with about 300 companies from 40+ countries across the globe. These startups have gone on to raise billions of dollars in follow-on capital, which indicates that the support and resources we provide drive meaningful value to our partners.”
Creating a more equal world
Sabrina Tharani: “Specific to the venture ecosystem, where I focus today, our team contributes to ensuring gender equality in two ways. For one — fintech is democratizing access to financial services and formal economies like never before, empowering female consumers and small businesses to access information and tools digitally. By supporting fintechs delivering these solutions, we are in turn, ensuring that women are equally able to access products and services that allow them to be financially successful. Secondly, less than 2% of venture capital funding goes to female entrepreneurs today, with even less going to those in deep-technology industries, like fintech. By putting a specific emphasis on ensuring we not only support diverse founders but fund them and help them scale through Start Path, we are leveraging the resources we have to close the gap in entrepreneurship.”
Doing Well, By Doing Good
Sabrina Tharani: “In my opinion, there are a few industries that impact the daily lives of billions of people around the world – these might be government, healthcare, information technology, and indeed, payments. While sometimes an invisible element of daily life, payments power experiences for billions of people every second, and Mastercard’s network is built off a truly global, elegant and real-time architecture like very few platforms are today. I find the vast diversity of work we do fascinating and am motivated by how immensely relevant the work we do is to the global economy and how we use that position of influence to do meaningful good all around the world.
One of Mastercard’s guiding principles has always been “Doing Well, By Doing Good,” which is a value we hold as we operate our core business as well as our impact-oriented teams. Large, influential companies, like Mastercard, have a responsibility to use their substantial resources to better the world, and in ways that go beyond capital allocations alone. I believe that CSR initiatives drive the greatest impact and scale the fastest when the mission aligns with the core competencies of the company. In Mastercard’s case, where financial inclusion is at the heart of what we do, this means focusing on how our partnerships and technology can be used for goals like bringing 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025.”