To explore the future of banking, San Francisco-based bank looks globally; Innovators invited to apply by June 20 for spring 2015 program
LONDON–The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator program today announced the selection of three early-stage U.S. companies for its spring 2015 program, in which they will learn to commercialize and market their ideas to enterprises. The news came at a global fintech conference in London. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) also said it now is accepting applications worldwide until June 20 for the program’s fall class.
“Our vision at Bracket Computing is to utilize the public cloud to fundamentally redefine the corporate data center”
The spring Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator participants, selected from nearly 300 applicants in 2014, are:
- Bracket Computing (@brkt) of Sunnyvale, California, which harnesses the public cloud to securely and reliably run enterprise applications;
- Context360 of San Mateo, California, which interprets and predicts mobile application behavior and combines those insights with sensor data and machine learning algorithms to power better decisions around when, where, and how to best engage mobile application users; and
- MotionSavvy (@motionsavvy) of Rochester, New York, which makes the world’s first two-way communication software for the deaf, utilizing the latest innovations in gesture and voice technology.
“Our vision at Bracket Computing is to utilize the public cloud to fundamentally redefine the corporate data center,” said Tom Gillis, CEO of Bracket Computing. “Our work with Wells Fargo and inclusion in the Accelerator Program is a great endorsement of that vision.”
“Wells-Fargo understands that innovation comes from many directions and industries,” said Context360 co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Ratnam Tatavarty. “The Accelerator program is designed perfectly for leading-edge technology startups to apply solutions for the financial community that were originally intended for very different markets.”
“MotionSavvy’s acceptance into the Wells Fargo Accelerator program will help launch the world’s first affordable communication option for the deaf,” said MotionSavvy co-founder and CEO Ryan Hait-Campbell. “An estimated 70 million deaf people use sign language as their primary language, including myself, and experience communication barriers on a daily basis. MotionSavvy brings a new era of communication for the deaf that will have profound impact on the quality of life we deserve.”
The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator is designed to explore big ideas like these – and others, such as cybersecurity, big data, mobile, robotics, wearables, payments, and infrastructure – with innovators outside Wells Fargo and financial services for the future benefit of the bank’s customers.
“If a startup can sell its idea to us,” said Steve Ellis, Wells Fargo head of Wholesale Services, “they can sell it to a lot of other banks, which can benefit the entire financial services industry.”
In the six-month, hands-on Startup Accelerator program, Wells Fargo mentors connect early-stage companies with business and tech leaders inside the bank who are looking to solve real problems and explore new opportunities – people who potentially could buy their service. Wells Fargo funds each startup with investments up to $500,000.
“We guide startups through commercializing and marketing their ideas to financial services companies or other enterprises,” said Braden More, head of Enterprise Payment Strategy for Wells Fargo. “We get them ready to plug in to enterprise systems and become part of the corporate stack. That’s opposed to the classic startup accelerator model: desk, pipe, and power; and access to shared resources like a seasoned financial controller or human resources executive.
“The problem we’re helping people solve is selling to their first Fortune 500 or financial services company,” More added. “The demands are unique. There are certain requirements. And we’re providing guidance to make that process easier.”
The newly-selected Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator startups follow the inaugural 2014 participants. All three companies in that first class have completed the program and are growing rapidly in multiple industries, according to Bipin Sahni (@BipinSahni), head of Innovation and R&D for Wells Fargo Wholesale Services (@WellsFargoB2B).
Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator 2014 alumni are:
- EyeVerify (@eyeverify) of Kansas City, Kansas, which wants to replace passwords with a picture of the eye. The company is now involved in a pilot with Wells Fargo corporate customers and working with dozens of companies, including seven of the world’s top 10 smartphone manufacturers.
- Zumigo (@zumigo1) of San Jose, California – a mobile services developer using location and mobile identity technology for secure commerce and mobile marketing – is now working with the Wells Fargo Innovation Lab to explore use cases for Zumigo’s credit card, ATM, and location-based offer solutions. AlwaysOn Network recently named Zumigo a 2015 OnFinance Top 50 Companies to Watch.
- Kasisto (@kasistoinc), New York City, builder of conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technology for enterprises, is now working on a proof of concept with the Wells Fargo Innovation Lab to use its AI engine to improve and enrich Wells Fargo customers’ mobile app experiences. Founders Grid recently named Kasisto one of New York’s top startups.
Looking ahead to selecting its fall 2015 class, the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator hopes to see applications from outside the United States. Sahni told the Innotribe Startup Challenge London Showcase attendees today: “As global mobility, seamless experience, and user-centered design continue to evolve, we believe it’s critical to expand our own ecosystem of innovation and R&D globally.”
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2014 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.