Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator stokes innovation in finance
More than 200 startups in the U.S. and 10 other countries have applied for the chance to work with the new Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator.
From the 27 years I’ve worked here at Wells Fargo, I can tell you that we’re very focused on innovation and bringing new technologies inside our company. We leverage technology to provide value and value-added services to our customers.
We’ve been doing this a long time. Back in 1995, we were the first bank in the nation to give customers free Internet access to balances in their checking, savings, line of credit, and credit card accounts. That same year, a new company called Virtual Vineyards became our first customer to make a secure payment over the internet.
So, when we saw an opportunity to meet more entrepreneurs like that — companies that are just starting out — and bring them into the fold, we decided to build the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator. It’s when we bring their ideas in, and our people at Wells Fargo see that happening, that it really unleashes the creative talent across our company. And I think that’s a huge advantage for us.
Believe me, I talk to a lot of technology companies from around the globe, and it amazes me how many cool and potentially game-changing ideas are out there. So what we’ve built with this accelerator is a way to find innovative ideas faster and turn them into companies that can help us serve our customers better. Ideas about mobile, big data, analytics, and security. The next big things.
Watch a video about three business that went through the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator on the Wells Fargo Stories website.
Our Startup Accelerator is fundamentally different, in my estimation, because it focuses on innovation — not return on investment. Sure, we put up as much as half a million dollars to give each startup a chance to grow. But what we get in return is an early look at the next big ideas that will help us serve our customers even better. The startups also get a big push in the direction of being ready to sell their services to anyone — not just Wells Fargo.
Another difference is that our Startup Accelerator dedicates a Wells Fargo mentor to each company, making introductions for them to the appropriate people at Wells Fargo, which has about 90 lines of business. We collaborate with the startups — incubate their idea with our experience and resources. After six months or so, some of them might become our vendors.
These are exciting times. The world is thick with entrepreneurs and college kids who are constantly dreaming up big ideas. We want to meet as many of them as we can.
The deadline for applications for this first program is midnight tonight, Oct. 1. More than 200 startups applied from around the world. See the map below. Details about the spring 2015 program will be announced soon at accelerator.wellsfargo.com. Stay tuned.