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Payments of the Future: EPA Launches Payments Incubator



The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) is launching an incubator for early-stage payments companies, dubbed the Catalyst.

Supported by payment giants Mastercard and the Bancorp, the Catalyst will give emerging fintech companies access to investors, mentors, commercial partners and workspace in prime locations to help them scale their business. The programme aims to reach 25 companies in its first year.

In addition to giving beneficiaries help with fundraising and guidance from mentors, the programme will showcase its selected firms, giving them press and social media exposure and introducing them to prospective partners and clients through the EPA network.

Six beneficiaries of the programme have already been named. Each “`Rising Star” is a new market entrant, mostly founder-owned and with an investment and revenue total of between £500,000 and £2 million over the last 12 months. They hail from the UK, Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria.

They include:

  • Cashwave, reseller and distributor of corporate gift cards, e-codes and gift vouchers into the B2B and employee rewards market 
  • Cubits, a mobile wallet and Bitcoin business
  • DigiSeq, a wearable contactless payments business
  • Pannovate, providers of digital products for organisations in the alternative payments and banking sector including payroll, credit and money transferPeak Financial Services, a programme manager
  • W2 Global Data, provider of online screening tools

Stoytcho Vlaykov, founder of Cashwave, said: “We are thrilled to be part of the program which we hope will increase visibility for our innovative product among the financial industry as well as end-users. We are looking forward to improving our product via access to industry expertise and know-how and valuable partnerships with both industry leaders and other start-ups”

Warren Russell, CEO of W2, said: “The combination of access to an influential network, hot desk facilities in a prime London location and added mentorship struck the right note for a start-up like W2.”

The founders of these up and coming firms believe their innovations can benefit the wider industry and transform the way we all pay for goods and services.

Tim Rehder, CEO of Cubits, said: “Our increasingly connected global society demands safer, faster and cheaper ways to pay. The Emerging Payments Association is a great response to those challenges as the open exchange of ideas can only benefit the industry as a whole.”

Additionally, the sponsoring companies hope they can learn from the upstarts’ innovations.

Scott Abrahams, Group Head Acceptance and Emerging Payments at MasterCard, said: “The launch of the Catalyst marks a new milestone in supporting the payments industry’s newest innovators. We look forward to supporting them with opportunities for members to visit our offices, see our products and solutions and benefit from our mentoring. Moreover, it is a two-way dialogue, and the Catalyst members will also be offered the chance to present to us and showcase their own products/services and solutions. Indeed, MasterCard can also learn and discover from new entrants and this will be a big part of our continuing innovation efforts,”

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