The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a cross-border, cross-currency money platform, announced on Monday it teamed up with Techstars to launch the first class of the Western Union Accelerator Powered by Techstars. According to Western Union, the class roster of 10 early-stage companies reflects a diverse range of startups that are innovating to capture opportunities in next-generation payment technology and cross-border money movement.
Western Union also reported that During the three-month program, participating startups will have the opportunity to collaborate with fintech professionals to refine their business models and accelerate growth. At the end of the program, the companies will spotlight their innovations and progress to potential investors at a demo day in Denver, Colorado. While sharing more details about the program, Jeff Hochstadt, chief strategy and development officer for Western Union, stated:
“We see our new accelerator and relationship with Techstars as a vital part of our broader innovation platform. As one of the largest digital and physical cross-border money movers, Western Union is uniquely positioned at the intersection of financial technology, data and commerce. We attribute our staying power and ability to reinvent ourselves to our innovation culture and openness to new ideas. We’re excited to help these companies take their business to the next level and look forward to learning from them, too.”
Western Union then noted that the accelerator participants will receive hands-on mentoring in entrepreneurship, business strategy and marketing from fintech subject matter experts in a range of areas, from compliance and blockchain to mobile wallets and settlement. The companies in the first class are:
- Andia: A mobile and web based facial recognition platform that validates and authenticates financial transactions.
- Bridged AI: Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a service providing scalable training data solutions for organizations building out their own AI models.
- Challenger Fund: Software platform to increase stability and earnings for every consumer by maximizing the interest rate earnings for any checking or savings account at any bank.
- Chord: Service that offers consumers debt-free capital to help with purchasing a home while providing investors an avenue for investment in the housing market and lenders a new lower risk lending option.
- Curu: Software application that provides customers automated credit building.
- Leaf Global Fintech: Provides digital financial services to refugees which limits the need to carry cash across borders.
- Money Cards: Allows unbanked teens to request, receive and instantly redeem funds from a mobile device.
- Rebric: Provides a managed infrastructure platform so financial institutions can get machine learning and AI systems in place quickly.
- Thrive Savings: Deliver financial empowerment through a mobile application by automatically saving money for consumers.
- Trillbit: Technology that transforms any speaker and mic into a data transfer device
Ethan Austin, managing director of the accelerator, added:
“I’m inspired by the founders we’ve selected and the impact these companies can have at a global level. Teaming with Western Union, we’re ready to bring some of the industry’s brightest minds together to explore the future of payments and cross-border money movement.”