Wells Fargo to invest in fintech startups through accelerator

Wells Fargo to invest in fintech startups through accelerator

Wells Fargo has become the latest bank to launch an accelerator programme, promising mentoring and hard cash to selected fintech startups.

Young firms working in areas such as payments, fraud and operations can apply for the first round of the six month, semiannual boot camp until 1 October. Up to 20 startups a year will be selected by a panel of Wells Fargo technology, venture banking and innovation executives to take part.

Firms that make it through will not only be given support to develop and refine their products, they will also each get a direct equity investment of between $50,00 and $500,000.

Steve Ellis, head, wholesale services, Wells Fargo, says: "The Startup Accelerator adds a new cylinder to our corporate innovation engine. We're taking a proven business model from the venture capital community and repurposing it as a strategy for connecting with start-ups whose ideas and growth prospects could add value to our business and our customers."

The bank has already picked three startups to pilot the accelerator. Zumigo, a firm that uses location and mobile identity technologies to secure commerce and enable marketing; EyeVerify, which transforms a picture of a user's eye into a key that protects their digital life; and Kasisto, which builds AI technology that uses intelligent conversation on mobile devices.

Established financial services giants have been rushing to launch and back accelerators and incubators over the last year as they seek to co-opt the exploding community of fintech startups. Wells Fargo follows Barclays and MasterCard in setting up its own programme, while others, such as Lloyds, have backed efforts like Startupbootcamp.

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