Mastercard and Enel X Win Right to Establish New Fintech-Cybersecurity Laboratory with $3.7 Million State Funding

The multinational giants won a tender to establish a research facility in Be'er sheva to help solve the security challenges of rapid digitization in the financial industry

Hagar Ravet 11:4704.05.20
Mastercard and Enel X won a tender to establish a new fintech-cybersecurity laboratory in Be'er Sheva, with NIS 13 million (approximately $3.7 million) in funding over three years, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced on Monday. The laboratory will be established within the southern Israeli city’s tech hub, adjacent to the financial center of the national cyber directorate, and recruit research and development and cybersecurity personnel.


The project will be funded by the IIA, the National Cyber Directorate, and the Ministry of Finance. The laboratory will be eligible for an IIA grant to cover 50% of the expense of establishing the technological infrastructure and routine operations for the duration of the tender. Startups onboarded by the laboratory will receive IIA funding equal to 85% of costs, to a limit of NIS 500,000 (Approximately $140,000) towards generating a proof of concept.


A panorama of Beersheva. Photo: Beersheva municipality A panorama of Beersheva. Photo: Beersheva municipality
The laboratory’s goal is to assist entrepreneurs and startups to reach the proof of concept stage in the fintech and cybersecurity fields, particularly developing cybersecurity capabilities for the financial sector. Participating companies will gain access to unique knowledge and expertise in the fields and to previously inaccessible financial data, needs, products, and processes.


The new laboratory joins six existing innovation labs and two additional national cybersecurity labs currently in the final process of being established in Be'er Sheva, specializing in energy and smart transportation.


“The laboratory will strengthen Israel and Be'er Sheva as leaders in the international cybersecurity industry. Cybersecurity for the finance sector is of huge significance on both national and international levels, and even more so in light of the recent global health crisis we are experiencing,” said IIA chairman Ami Applebaum. “The entrance of new players into the fields of finance and digital banking create new cybersecurity challenges. The laboratory will provide startups with expertise through cooperation with leading global players in the finance sector like Mastercard, which will operate for the first time in Israel in this field, and Enel X, owned by Enel, a multinational energy group that is deepening its involvement in the Israeli industry with this step


“The new lab will connect Israel’s unique expertise in cybersecurity solutions with multinational corporations’ financial network challenges,” said Yigal Unna Director-General of the Israel National Cyber Directorate. “It will grant access to information and attack scenarios to enable development of defensive solutions to emerging threats that arise from the rapid digitization of financial networks. This is the first time that a financial company of this scale is arriving at the Be'er Sheva tech hub and we hope that it will draw in other multinational finance companies and cyber and fintech startups.”