Wells Fargo Launches Startup Accelerator, Picks EyeVerify

Wells Fargo has just announced that it is accepting applications for its Startup Accelerator: a boot camp for innovators operating in areas with the potential to shape the future of financial customer services. The twice-annual program will have Wells Fargo making a direct equity investment of $50,000 to $500,000 in each selected startup.

As an inaugural subject of the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, mobile biometrics startup EyeVerify will be benefiting for the investment and support. The Kansas City company whose software authenticates users based on their unique eyeprints (the vein patterns on the side of an eyeball) announced simultaneously that it will be participating in this new program.

Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of Wholesale Services at Wells Fargo, explains: “For Wells Fargo to work on big ideas and spark innovators inside our organization, we need to expand our access to new ideas at the edges of our industry.”

He continues: “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 investment in eyeprints comes at the end of a series A financing round for EyeVerify, one which brought in over $6 million for the company.

“We’re excited to be investing in EyeVerify through our accelerator,” says Ellis, “It represents precisely the technology innovation in mobile security for financial services and E-commerce that is important to us.”

Wells Fargo has also named two other startups participating in the Accelerator’s maiden voyage. Zumigo uses location and mobile ID technologies to enable secure transactions and mobile marketing, while Kasisto develops artificial intelligence.

“We’re interested in any technology that could be used by an institution like Wells Fargo to better serve our customers or operate our business,” says Ellis. “Analytics, big data, mobile, security, and infrastructure are all important to us. We’re looking to engage with innovators beyond the edge of our own creative enterprise.”

Startups and innovators interested in joining EyeVerify, Kasisto and Zumigo in the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator can learn more through the official website. Ten to twenty additional young companies will be selected every year, with the fall application deadline of October 1.