- Visa announced its latest cohort of 21 startups participating in a fintech accelerator that focuses on inclusivity, according to a Tuesday press release. The accelerator, launched in collaboration with investment firm Plug and Play, supports startups founded by people of color, women and LGBTQIA+ people.
- As part of the program, startups will be connected with mentors, industry experts and investors, as well as receive a custom curriculum. They will also graduate from the program during Plug and Play’s Silicon Valley Summit in June, according to the announcement.
- Among the startups selected for the program are the debt repayment app startup Paidback, the small business lending startup Foresight and the micro finance management platform Bump, the press release said.
The card network behemoth and Plug and Play selected the participating startups based on criteria such as technological innovation, market potential and their impact on the fintech world, according to the press release. The two teamed up to start the accelerator last year to support founders of underrepresented backgrounds in the financial sector, the announcement said.
“This cohort reflects the diverse and dynamic nature of the fintech industry, and we believe their innovative solutions will contribute significantly to the evolution of financial services,” Dominique Reese, head of diversity, equity, inclusion and social impact at Plug and Play, said in the companies’ release.
In addition to supporting startups in the U.S., Visa also selected some African firms to take part in this year’s accelerator, building upon its previous efforts to court companies on the continent. Last June, Visa announced plans to create a three-month accelerator program in Africa to provide mentorship and training for fintech startups.
Similarly, Mastercard has also sought to support emerging fintech firms in the past. In 2022, the card giant selected eight late-stage startups for its Start Path program, an initiative it founded in 2014. The company chose fintech companies based in the U.S. and abroad that provide lending, investing and other financial services. Last year, Mastercard sponsored a fintech startup program in Sweden, Finland, and Lithuania.