The MasterCard NXT Developer Challenge is lively and underway at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. Scores of laptop wielding coders will develop mobile payment solutions for the next 54 hours.
Betty DeVita of MasterCard Canada kicked things off with a introduction that addressed how MasterCard is a leading brand in mobile payments, and in allowing people to do more with the simple tap of a card.
Sounding not too far off from Jack Dorsey last week in Toronto, DeVita proclaimed that MasterCard views itself as more than just a network: “we’re a technology company that happens to focus on payments.” It wants to allow multi-platform payments, whether it be from someone’s laptop, smartphone, tablet, television, even their car. The president at MasterCard Canada emphasized that central to its vision of a simple transaction is the experience before, during and after the payment itself. Its all about engaging the consumer throughout the entire experience.
As such the company views innovation as making life simpler for the user across everything they touch. She referenced MasterCard’s “Interns Wanted” campaign, which was the first time a company moved to a digital recruiting platform. The campaign rewards a handful of students every year with a paid internship at MasterCard.
She referenced transit as an area where the company see’s itself making a splash: where riders can simply show their paypass contact card and they’re in: no tokens, no cash, just a card. “We want the MC to be ubiquitous,” said DeVita.
Next up was Kiip cofounder Brian Wong, who told the crowd his ten rules for entrepreneurial success, which largely revolved around meeting lots of people and travelling (I can’t say I disagree).
Kiip is a category-creating mobile rewards network that is “redefining mobile advertising” through an innovative platform that leverages ‘moments of achievement’ in games and apps to benefit users, developers and advertisers.
Wong recounted how he landed his first real job at San Francisco-based news aggregator site Digg Inc. in January 2010. Before that he had already started his own tech company at 16 and graduated UBC at 18. But unfortunately he was laid off at Digg. But on his flight back to Vancouver Wong said he noticed that everyone on the plane was engaged in some sort of game on the mobile phone. Thus, the idea for Kiip was born.
After Wong’s opening remarks, a panel discussion looked at whether Canada is missing the mark on innovation and falling behind on entrepreneurship. That panel featured Wong, Ladies Learning Code’s Heather Payne, Rogers’ Jeppe Dorf and CIBC’s Todd Roberts.
The develop challenge is now officially underway. Teams will develop into the night and all Sunday until top five teams are selected at 3 PM tomorrow. At 4 PM Sasha Krstic of MasterCard will present the awards.
Check out some of the action here: