MasterCard and ENEL X Selected to Establish and Operate a Fintech-Cyber Innovation Lab


Israel Innovation Authority selected “Finsec Lab” corporation, owned by MasterCard Group and Enel X, to establish a Fintech-Cyber innovation lab in Beer Sheva with NIS 13 Million funding for a period of 3 years

The Innovation Lab is part of the collaboration between the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israel National Cyber Directorate at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cyber Security and Emergency Department at the Israel Ministry of Finance

Jerusalem, Israel. May 4, 2020 – The Israel Innovation Authority’s research committee selected the “Finsec Lab” corporation as the winner of the competitive process to establish a Fintech-Cyber innovation lab. The Lab’s corporation, owned by MasterCard Group and Enel X, will receive a total of NIS 13 million in funding from the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israel National Cyber Directorate and the Israel Ministry of Finance for a franchise period of three years. In this time frame, the Lab will help entrepreneurs and innovative startups reach a proof of concept in the fields of Fintech-Cyber Security. As part of its goals, the Lab will develop cyber defense solutions for the financial sector.

The Lab will promote companies and entrepreneurs by providing access to unique knowhow and expertise in the financial and cyber sectors as well as access to financial data, regulations, products and processes that are inaccessible to them otherwise. Furthermore, the Lab will help the companies turn a technological idea into a product with financial value and global impact. The Lab will be established at the Beer Sheva high-tech park, next to the financial center of the National Cyber Directorate and will recruit employees in the areas of research and development and cyber security.

The Lab will be entitled to receive a grant from the Innovation Authority to cover recognized expenses of establishing a technological infrastructure and operating the Lab. The grant will be 50% of the total approved expenses during the franchise term. Startups that join the Lab will receive 85% of funding up to a budget of half a million Shekels from the Innovation Authority to fund their proof of concept project.

This Lab joins six additional Innovation Labs selected to operate under the Innovation Lab Program of the Startup Division at the Innovation Authority, as well as two additional national cyber labs that are in the final stages of being established in Beer Sheva in the areas of smart transportation and energy.

Dr. Ami Appelbaum, Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Finance and Industry: “The Lab will assist in strengthening and establishing Israel and Beer Sheva as a national and international leader in cyber. The issue of cyber security in the financial sector is of tremendous global importance in view of the substantial challenges we are facing during the current global health crisis. The Lab will provide startups with knowhow and expertise by collaborating with a leading global player in the financial sector –  MasterCard, which will operate for the first time in Israel in this field, and Enel X, owned by Enel, a multinational energy group, for which this activity expands on its involvement in Israel. I have no doubt that this collaboration will strengthen Israel’s position in this field and Beer Sheva’s position as a key cyber hub.”

Igal Unna, Director General, National Cyber Directorate at the Prime Minister’s Office: “This newly established field matches the expertise and unique cyber solutions Israel possesses with the financial challenges faced by global companies. This collaboration will make information and hacking scenarios available for the purpose of developing defenses for evolving threats that stem from the accelerated digitization of financial systems. For the first time, a financial company of this magnitude is coming to the Beer Sheva high-tech park and we hope that this will bring additional international financial companies and startups in the fields of cyber and fintech.”

Yoni Mor, Head of Cyber, Security and Emergency Division at the Israel Ministry of Finance: “The financial cyber lab – FINSEC – that will be established in Beer Sheva will foster a unique collaboration joining knowhow that exists within the governmental system and the advantages of the private sector in order to create insights and next-generation fintech and cyber products. The Lab is expected to enhance this sector’s competitiveness as well as continue to develop the Negev and Galilee regions. Furthermore, this program will bring about an increase in new investments and will turn Israel into a focal point for international financial entities, while positioning us as a global leader in this field. The interfaces between the Lab and the National Cyber Directorate will help promote secure fintech products and serve as a link to both national and international financial entities.”