Wells Fargo picks mobile banking-related startups as first participants in accelerator program

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Wells Fargo has taken three mobile banking-related startups under its wing as part of its first official accelerator program.

All of the startups chosen use mobile technology to enhance and secure the mobile banking experience, according to the information Wells Fargo execs gave TechCrunch.

Two of the projects focus on using mobility to enhance transaction security. Zumigo, one of the startups in the program, uses location tracking to ensure you are indeed the one accessing your bank account. Built on a belief that people are physically attached to their smartphones at all times, the company's technology "passively validates that a consumer is where the ATM or merchant transaction is occurring," according to its website.

"Since it works with any mobile phone, without an app and without altering consumer behavior, there are no barriers to adoption. It can even identify transactions while roaming domestically or internationally," states the site.

EyeVerify, the other security-focused startup in the accelerator, uses the camera on your smartphone to recognize the blood vessels in your eye. Founder Toby Rush tells TechCrunch that this technology would be beneficial for internal Wells Fargo use.

"For banks like Wells Fargo, [Rush] said it could be implemented both internally with employees accessing secure company information," says TechCrunch.

The last startup, Kasisto, is like a financially savvy Siri. This "personal assistant" lives in your smartphone, but is a financial expert. Kasisto helps you "quickly perform complex transactions on mobile devices through speech, text and touch," according to TechCrunch.

The development of these startups may help serve Wells Fargo employees even more so than consumers. Zumigo and EyeVerify in particular could be beneficial in keeping company information under lock and key.

For example, an employee may need to access sensitive files and could do so with EyeVerify's biometric technology and/or Zumigo's insistence that a user be near his or her smartphone.

Accelerator programs are designed to help startups grow with mentorship and funding. Most of these programs demand startups to keep away from other companies, but Wells Fargo's program isn't exclusive.

"We're not chasing returns here," Braden More, Wells Fargo vice president, tells TechCrunch. "We want to see them become vendors so we can see them help us."

Wells Fargo hand-picked the first three startups for the accelerator program, but TechCrunch says next fall, startups will be able to apply for entry into the program.

For more:
- read the TechCrunch article
- see the Zumigo, EyeVerify and Kasisto websites

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