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Western Union Launches First Accelerator Class with Techstars


New Start-Up Program Focused on Innovation in Payment Tech and Cross-Border Money

The Western Union Company , a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, and Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, announced the first class of the Western Union Accelerator Powered by Techstars. 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.

In addition to funding and dedicated co-working space at Serendipity Labs in Denver, the Western Union Accelerator Powered by Techstars provides startups with intensive business strategy support and exposure to a strong bench of experts from Western Union and the Techstars global network of mentors. During the three-month program, participating startups will have the opportunity to collaborate with leading 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.

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“We see our new accelerator and relationship with Techstars as a vital part of our broader innovation platform,” said Jeff Hochstadt, chief strategy and development officer for Western Union. “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.”

The roster of participating startups was selected from a group of finalists after a global call for applications. 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:


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.


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.

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Software application that provides customers automated credit building.

Leaf Global Fintech

Leaf provides digital financial services to refugees which limits the need to carry cash across borders.

Money Cards

Money Cards allows unbanked teens to request, receive and instantly redeem funds from a mobile device.

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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.


Technology that transforms any speaker and mic into a data transfer device.

“I’m inspired by the founders we’ve selected and the impact these companies can have at a global level,” said Ethan Austin, managing director of the accelerator. “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.”

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