– Mastercard och NFT offentliggör deltagarna i Lighthouse Program

Doconomy, Steven and Chromaway join twelve other companies that have been recognized as rising fintech stars. That is according to Mastercard and NFT Ventures, who Friday announced the fall class for the 2019 Lighthouse Development Program. 

Mastercard and NFT describe the Lighthouse Program as an open innovation platform connecting fintechs with financial services incumbents. This fall marks the third class of the program, which also includes Swedbank, OP Bank, and SEB as sponsors.

“The Lighthouse program is a great example of a modern way for fintechs to engage with banks, investors, legal counsel, advisors, and Mastercard,” said Susanne Hannestad, CEO of the global fintech accelerator, Fintech Mundi.

Doconomy, a Swedish startup that captured global headlines this winter with its promise to help users limit their carbon-footprint-spending, will headline a list of participants that includes fourteen other companies from the Baltics and Nordics.

Previous participants include Fidesmo, a company that connects cards to wearables. Earlier this year, Fidesmo was able to launch a payments-enabled watch band, in part because of Lighthouse, claims Fidesmo’s CEO, Mathias Eld. “Thanks to the Lighthouse program, we gained access to Mastercard in ways that helped us launch,” Eld said. 

Lighthouse is part of a broader “open innovation” movement that has seen growing interest in recent years. Nordic players like Invenio Growth (founded 2019) Innobridge (2017), Desifier (2016), Shift Actions (2015) and Vertical Growth (2014) are Nordic examples of open innovation network orchestrators. 

Large American platforms like Plug & Play Tech Center articulated the strategy of brokering partnerships between large corporations and startups as early as 2011, when the firm began working with Volkswagen “to introduce the German conglomerate to startups focused on auto-related technologies.” 

Even incumbent strategy consulting firms like Bain & Company have recently announced their own open innovation initiatives. Bain’s Innovation Exchange, launched in 2017, bills itself as a “platform for start-ups, corporate business leaders, investors, and thought leaders to establish mutually beneficial relationships as they work to unlock the full value of emerging digital technologies.”

A book published earlier this month, Goliath’s Revenge: How Established Companies Turn the Tables on Digital Disruptors (Wiley), cites research from Wharton’s Jerry Wind and IBM’s Shanker Ramamurthy in arguing “innovation network orchestrators that tap into the value of external partners enjoy market valuations of eight times revenue, verses five times revenue for technology creators and three times revenue for service providers.”

Innovation platforms like this don’t always work out, of course. In 2017, Red Bull announced its namesake Launch Institute, which invited startups to meet with Red Bull advisors during a three day “innovation summit.” Less than a year later, it quietly closed the program down. 


Nevertheless, open innovation continues to find believers from the inside. “Lighthouse was extremely productive for us,” says Swiftcourt CEO and Lighthouse alumn, Johan Hedén Hultgren. “We have been able to create real, hands-on business cases that we’re now developing, and all of them have the potential to increase the value of our company.”


The full list of Lighthouse companies are: