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Enel, through its subsidiary Enel X, and Mastercard have partnered with the Government of Israel and the Israel Innovation Authority to advance innovations in financial technology and cybersecurity for the payments and energy ecosystems.

The four parties are launching a new innovation lab in Be’er Sheva City to support global start-ups, following a tender released by the Israel Innovation Authority.

The lab will be used to test and develop digital security, fintech platforms, digital authentication and financial inclusion products and solutions in the Israeli cyber and fintech capital of the world (according to the government of Israel).

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The lab will obtain a three-year license and approximately $3.7 million of public funding to cover the lab’s establishment, operational costs and proof of concept development with local start-ups.

Ajay Bhalla, the president of cyber and intelligence for Mastercard, said: “Today, as much as ever, organisations need to keep security at the forefront of all innovation.

“This new collaboration will allow us to draw from many partners and resources – including Israel’s renowned start-up economy – to help bring innovations to market even faster and reduce the growing threat and cost of cyberattacks.”

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Francesco Venturini, the head of Enel X, adds: “The new lab gives us the unique opportunity to work with Israeli start-ups to bring innovative financial technologies to our millions of customers worldwide.

“By joining forces with an important partner like Mastercard, we will support these start-ups to develop and roll out best-in-class solutions in the fintech and cybersecurity sectors.”

The lab will complement Mastercard’s Israeli headquarters in Tel Aviv, its award-winning global start-up engagement programme Start Path, and its eight global technology centers in Arlington, Dublin, New York, Pune, St. Louis, Sydney, Vadodora and Vancouver.

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Enel opened its first Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv in 2016 and since then has collaborated with 35 local start-ups in fields such as the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, e-mobility, energy storage and many more.