Wells Fargo has joined a handful of banks running accelerator programs designed to nurture young fintech companies, foster new ideas and help financial institutions stay relevant in a digital age.
The San Francisco bank said Wednesday that it aims to cultivate technology in the areas of analytics, Big Data, mobile devices, security and infrastructure.
"We're looking to engage with innovators beyond the edge of our own creative enterprise," said Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of wholesale services at Wells Fargo, in a press release.
Other banks trying their hand at nurturing startups through accelerators include Citigroup, Barclays, and Israel's Bank Leumi. Some financial institutions also sponsor fintech accelerators run by nonbank firms like Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City.
Venture capital units and innovation labs are among the other vehicles banks use to get closer to young tech talent.
Financial institutions are warming to the idea of hosting or sponsoring startup programs to get access to entrepreneurs’ ideas, shape their ideas for bank needs, and potentially buy the products once commercialized.
Wells Fargo said it is accepting applications from startups through Oct. 1. Participants will receive a direct equity investment of $50,000 to $500,000 for its upcoming six-month program in addition to mentorship from Wells employees.
The bank has already selected three startups for the accelerator: Zumigo, a mobile services developer; EyeVerify, an identity startup; and Kasisto, an artificial intelligence technology provider.
Wells said it will accept applications twice a year.