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Techstars & Western Union Accelerator Announce 2020 Class Leading the Future of Inclusive Finance

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Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, and Techstars, the global platform for investment and innovation, today announced the launch of its second class of the Techstars & Western Union Accelerator. From machine learning and artificial intelligence, to cloud services, digital banking and advanced analytics, the common thread across the portfolio of 10 companies is their commitment to leveraging technology and innovation to create greater access to global and local economies, through inclusive finance.

The 2020 Accelerator companies are led by founders originating from across the world, including the Philippines, Egypt, Gambia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, South Africa and the United States. They share Western Union’s commitment to inclusive innovation by developing products and services that accelerate access for a more equitable global financial system.

The concept of financial access served as the North Star throughout the 2020 Accelerator selection process, as program leaders contemplated the question: In the face of a global health crisis, which companies are best positioned to accelerate and expand financial access in a post-COVID world?

The startup founders will participate in an intensive 13-week virtual program during which they will focus on growing and evolving their companies with the mentorship, entrepreneurial expertise, business strategy and marketing guidance of fintech subject matter experts in a range of areas, including compliance, mobile wallets and settlement.

“The Western Union team is tremendously impressed with this diverse group of founders and entrepreneurs who are actively addressing challenges across the financial services ecosystem,” said Western Union President of Product and Platform, Shelly Swanback. “I am confident that the breadth of perspective, experience and technologies represented in this year’s portfolio will drive us to be even more disruptive as we endeavor to develop more inclusive financial services and payment technologies in a rapidly changing global economy.”

Swanback added, “I am especially proud of the fact that many of the companies in the accelerator are led by founders from many different countries, which nicely reflects the global diversity of our employee, customer and partner base. A global lens is critical as we look to create opportunities for billions of people to access the latest innovations in finance, innovate opportunities for businesses and customers, and help close the growing inequality gap.”

According to the New American Economy, a U.S.-based bipartisan research and advocacy organization focused on federal, state, and local immigration policies, in 2019 approximately 45% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

“We are proud to announce the companies selected to participate in the 2020 Techstars & Western Union Accelerator,” said Ethan Austin, Managing Director of the Techstars Western Union Accelerator. “Each of these companies is tackling systemic industry obstacles with innovative and original solutions using leading edge technologies. We are excited to support their continued growth over the next 13 weeks of our program and beyond.”

The 2020 Techstars & Western Union Accelerator will culminate with a Demo Day on Oct. 8, where startup founders will pitch their products and services to potential investors. This year, the program has shifted from an in-person to virtual program due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2006, Techstars has worked with more than 2,000 startups, forging deep and meaningful relationships between young startup companies and global corporations. The competitive selection process for the Techstars & Western Union Accelerator began in early 2020 with hundreds of entrepreneurs vying for one of 10 coveted spots.

Techstars and Western Union extend a hearty congratulations and a warm welcome to the 2020 Techstars & Western Union Accelerator companies.

 

2020 Techstars Western Union Accelerator Roster

 

AidBanc

Little Rock, AR | USA and LA

AidBanc empowers NGOs with digital banking and spend management tools to seamlessly disburse aid in an increasingly cashless world.
https://www.aidbanc.com/

Plentina

San Francisco, CA | USA

Cloud services provide alternative credit scoring and lending for global financial inclusion.

https://www.plentina.com/

Gig Wage

Dallas, TX | USA

Gig Wage is a payments platform specializing in independent contractors. Their technology makes it simple, fast and easy to pay, manage, and support contractors.

https://gigwage.com/

Rise Capital

Lagos, Nigeria

A technology-driven finance company connecting everyday Africans with the best dollar-denominated investment opportunities around the world.

https://rise.capital/

Heights Labs

New York, NY | USA

AI and network analytics platform for risk, fraud, compliance, and AML/CFT to mitigate risks and threats across the compliance, intelligence, and national security landscape.

https://www.heightslabs.com/

Robbie AI

Boston, MA | USA

Facial recognition technology through real-time streaming in natural settings.

https://robbie.ai/

Line

San Francisco, CA | USA

AI-powered technology helps qualified and banked individuals establish credit and access to affordable financial services.
https://www.useline.com/

Vested Finance

Berkeley, CA | USA

Investment advisory platform promoting sustainable wealth creation by empowering local Indian investors to go global.

https://www.vested.co.in/

Logicluster

San Francisco, CA | USA

An Artificial Intelligence powered pricing engine to enable businesses to grow revenue through optimized pricing.

https://www.logicluster.com/

Yunit

Oakland, CA | USA

Allows users to save money with their friends.

https://www.yunit.co/

 

WU-G

About Techstars

Techstars is a global platform for investment and innovation. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships, and Techstars Community. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 2,200 companies with a market cap of more than $26 billion. www.techstars.com

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. As of March 31, 2020, our network included over 550,000 retail agent locations offering our branded services in more than 200 countries and territories, with the capability to send money to billions of accounts.

Additionally, westernunion.com, our fastest growing channel in 2019, is available in over 75 countries, plus additional territories, to move money around the world. With our global reach, Western Union moves money for better, connecting family, friends, and businesses to enable financial inclusion and support economic growth. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

Contact information

Western Union
Margaret Fogarty
+1 720-551-3393
Margaret.Fogarty@wu.com

Techstars
Ali Donnermeyer
Ali.Donnermeyer@techstars.com

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