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How Lighthouse is Adapting
to Make the World a
More Secure & Prosperous Place

Lighthouse MASSIV, our newest partnership accelerator, was born for this special moment in history

In the past month, the health and prosperity of our planet reached an unprecedented focal point. As public health habits like “social distancing” spread at viral speed and casual networking became a regulated industry overnight, many of us started to hunger for the small joys of human interaction: meals we could share with a friend; smiles we could share with a stranger.

In a way, Lighthouse MASSIV was born for this moment. As a partnership accelerator devoted to making the world a more secure and prosperous place, our focus on global issues like climate action and financial inclusion make us a fitting companion for the unique challenges facing the world right now.

It helped that we started with a global problem-solving mindset. Not only does this year’s Lighthouse MASSIV class come from four different Nordic countries–these companies are also solving global problems at their core. Desert Control’s mission to reforest arid soil across the Middle East and Africa is just one example of a company in this spring’s program. In fact, five Lighthouse MASSIV companies–Aion Sigma, Jamii.one, Hiveonline, Redflash and Desert Control–are focused on problems exclusively outside the Nordics. Add in Normative, the software provider that simplifies sustainability reporting, and this year’s class is currently going to market in 68 nations across the globe, including 38 in Africa. We see this as evidence of a Nordic “north star.” We are leaders guiding the way when it comes to sustainable development.

At its core, Lighthouse MASSIV is a business development program built around the basic principles of accountability and commitment. We put six promising startups in contact with Mastercard and eight advisory board members, then we hold those groups accountable for the commitments they make to one another.

Now more than ever, it’s important to approach global problems with a global perspective. That’s why we took extra steps to connect our companies to advisors from around the world. In addition to Mastercard’s global network, this program’s advisory board brings a diverse and gender-balanced perspective rooted in experiences from three continents.

For instance, Houda Lemrini, the Morroco-born Director of Strategy at Deloitte, has been able to make meaningful commitments to the program thanks to her network in African private equity. Hiveonline and Jamii.one, both Copenhagen-based financial service providers focused on including African women and micro-businesses in the financial system, are working with Ms. Lemrini to connect with decision makers and capital sources in their target markets.

Likewise, Jonathan Nadu, the Silicon Valley-based partnership lead at Google, commitmented to help Aion Sigma, the Finnish security company focused on distributing smartphones across Africa, explore partnerships with Google’s Cloud and TensorFlow teams.

Dozens of similar, border-crossing commitments came out of our first workshop. Casper Bjørner, the former CEO of Walt Disney Company AB, committed to host a brand storytelling session with Stravanger-based Desert Control. Klavs Hjort, Danske Bank’s SVP of Growth and Impact, committed to help Stockholm-based Normative connect to a deal flow source within the bank. Elisabeth Ringqvist, General Partner at Edge Venture Capital, committed to connect Desert Control with her connections at the World Bank and the Gates Foundation.

Given MASSIV’s commitment to climate action, it seemed fitting that our inaugural session took place remotely. It was even more fitting that we still found a way to share a meal together thanks to an eleventh-hour partnership with Wolt, the Helsinki-based food delivery startup founded by the former CEO of Slush. Using Wolt for Business, we gave each workshop participant a chance to order lunch during the session. Despite the distance, we were able to smile at strangers and share a meal with our friends. These sorts of international partnerships are the kind that Lighthouse MASSIV hopes to create elsewhere during the program.

These are the days when the world gets to briefly experience life as a startup. As our leaders pivot boldly day to day and we start wearing multiple hats to cover for closing schools and shuttered storefronts, we can all appreciate the fact that survival isn’t something we can take for granted.

In this time when everyone needs to think more like a startup, we’re proud to represent a program that champions startup thinking. We’re also proud to represent the Nordics and Baltics, the north star not only in terms of sustainable development, but also in terms of cooperation for the greater good.

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