Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) announced that that it would make a direct equity investment to startups focused on innovating the banking industry.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) launched the Startup Accelerator, a semiannual boot camp for innovators with technology ideas on deposits, fraud, payments, operations and other financial services that could shape future customer experiences in the banking industry.

The bank said the Startup Accelerator is a six-month program designed to attract innovative ideas and stoke innovation continuously across the Wells Fargo enterprise.

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) is now accepting applications for the Startup Accelerator until October 1st.

Wells Fargo to invest up to $500,000 for each startup

According to Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), every startup that would be selected to the Startup Accelerated could receive direct investment of $50,000 to $500,000. It would also offer business planning expertise to the selected firms during the duration of the program.

The selected startups would benefit from the workshops and individual coaching that would be provided by subject matter experts and purchasing managers of Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC). The bank said the firms that would succeed in their projects may become vendors to the bank.

Three startups already selected

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) already selected three startups to the program including Zumigo, EyeVerify and Kasisto.
Zumigo is a developer of mobile services using a unique combination of location and mobile identity technologies to secure commerce and enable mobile marketing.

EyeVerify developed the EyePrint ID that transforms a picture of the eye into a key that protects a person’s digital life.

Kasisto is the developer of the state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology that improves the consumer experience on mobile devices through intelligent conversation.

In a statement, Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of wholesale services at Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) said the bank need t expand its access to new ideas at the edge of the banking industry for it to be able to work on big ideas and spark innovators inside its organization.

Ellis noted that Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) was the first major financial services company in the United States to give customers free internet access to account balances in 1995. The bank was also the first to offer a mobile service for businesses in 2007.

“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,” added Ellis.