Why startups are a critical component of the financial ecosystem

Lisa Frazier  Head of the Innovation Group,  Wells Fargo

Lisa Frazier
Head of the Innovation Group, Wells Fargo

As the leader of the Innovation Group at Wells Fargo, I’m often asked what big banks think of fintech startups and if we see them as competitors or partners. The answer is “yes” to both. I view competition and potential partnerships from startups as a positive force for lifting our industry to do more for customers.

Banks have deep knowledge on how to scale experiences and products for millions of customers, while startups have the advantage of agility and being able to focus on very specific solutions. Additionally, startups are playing a major role in shaping the everyday experiences consumers demand.

Banks are becoming more agile in order to meet customer demands, but right now companies outside of traditional incumbents are more often than not moving faster. By collaborating with startups, banks can test and learn potential solutions more quickly, without disrupting day-to-day operations. In turn, startups can benefit from getting their products enterprise ready earlier.

The Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator is one way we regularly collaborate with startups on a wide range of technologies to shape future customer experiences. We mentor and help companies refine their potential breakthrough technologies, and each startup can receive an investment of up to $1 million.

Given our deep history of supporting fintech startups, we are a proud supporter of the Quesnay Female Founders in Fintech global competition. Helping to advance innovative startups is key to delivering the financial experiences of tomorrow that customers have come to expect.

I encourage qualified applicants with finance-related solutions to apply by December 17, and I look forward to seeing ideas that just may shape the future of the industry.