Wells Fargo Explores the Future of Security & Authentication

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The FINANCIAL — Wells Fargo announced on May 17 that it has selected two new companies – ProxToMe and Uniken – to join the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator.

Each participant in the non-exclusive, six-month program is eligible to receive up to $500,000, mentoring, and guidance in refining their potential breakthrough technologies for the financial services industry. Wells Fargo business and technology leaders will work closely with the companies to test concepts for corporate and retail customers while helping them accelerate time to market for their services, according to Wells Fargo.

With these additions, Wells Fargo has selected 13 companies in total into the program with more to be announced soon.

“Wells Fargo is always interested in innovative ideas that make banking faster, easier, smarter and safer — for our customers and the financial services industry,” said Steve Ellis, head of Wells Fargo’s Innovation Group. “Security is ever-changing and top-of-mind for financial services, and this collaboration with ProxToMe and Uniken helps us nurture innovation while continuing to build a better customer experience.”

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ProxToMe (San Francisco) provides proximity-based authentication for the Internet of Things. Its proprietary technology, based on Bluetooth, can replace traditional card-based authentication with a contactless, secure user experience. Unlike existing cardless technologies such as NFC and QR Code, ProxToMe provides a frictionless experience and cross-platform availability all in one solution. 

“Working with Wells Fargo allows us to significantly advance our work on new proximity-based identity assurance solutions,” said Carlo Capello, chief executive officer of ProxToMe. “The Startup Accelerator program is a launching pad for us to strategically address emerging needs of financial institutions and other fintech industry stakeholders.”

Uniken (New Jersey) is a cybersecurity software company that ensures customers’ digital channels have the controls required to survive zero-day attacks. Through customer friendly, continuous omni-channel authentication services combined with protection against failures of the OS and transport layer, Uniken completely eliminates credential compromise and man-in-the-middle attack risks. It provides one of the most advanced white-listed connectivity controls that reduces the attack surface of the digital channel, including encryption services for data in motion and persistent local storage. 

“We look forward to evolving our solution as part of the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator program, as it is designed to explore big ideas like ours that change the industry,” said Bimal Gandhi, chief executive officer of Uniken. “We feel that Uniken’s innovative approach to digital channel security moves the needle from the reactive to the proactive, dramatically reducing the attack surface of an organization’s services.”

Wells Fargo’s Startup Accelerator team looks to work with innovators in areas that include: analytics, mobile, cybersecurity, payments, lending, user-interaction design, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, digital marketing, and operations. Wells Fargo pairs each startup with a mentor who helps guide them through a proof of concept engagement and provides education around the process of approaching and selling products and services to a Fortune 500 company, as the demands, scale, and requirements are unique for a company this size.

Since its inception in 2014, the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator has received applications from more than 1,100 innovative companies in over 50 countries. Also, the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator was named a top U.S. fintech accelerator by eFinancialCareers in March 2016.


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