Tag Archives: operations

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Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator Helps Tech Innovators

Wells Fargo began accepting applications through October 1 from young companies interested in joining the new Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a semiannual boot camp for innovators whose technology ideas in payments, deposits, fraud, operations and other fields could shape future customer experiences in financial services.

Wells Fargo will make a direct equity investment of $50,000 to $500,000 in each selected start-up. The Startup Accelerator also will provide business planning expertise to firms in the six-month program, which is designed to continuously attract innovative ideas and stoke innovation across the Wells Fargo enterprise. Company subject matter experts and purchasing managers will offer workshops and individual coaching to the firms. Successful companies may become vendors to the bank.

“For Wells Fargo to work on big ideas and spark innovators inside our organization, we need to expand our access to new ideas at the edges of our industry,” said Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of Wholesale Services at Wells Fargo, who noted that in 1995, Wells Fargo was the first major financial services company in the U.S. to give customers free Internet access to account balances. Wells Fargo also was first to offer a mobile service for businesses in 2007, he added.

“The Startup Accelerator adds a new cylinder to our corporate innovation engine,” said Ellis. “We’re taking a proven business model from the venture capital community and repurposing it as a strategy for connecting with start-ups whose ideas and growth prospects could add value to our business and our customers.”

Three innovative companies already have been selected and funded to pilot the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator. They are:

• Zumigo, San Jose, California: A developer of mobile services using a unique combination of location and mobile identity technologies to secure commerce and enable mobile marketing.
• EyeVerify, Kansas City, Kansas: The creator of EyePrint ID™ that transforms a picture of your eye into a key that protects your digital life.
• Kasisto, New York: The builder of state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology that improves the consumer experience on mobile devices through intelligent conversation.

In addition to these three firms, the Startup Accelerator will give 10 to 20 young companies each year the opportunity to develop and refine products in a collaborative environment. Applications will be accepted twice per year, with a deadline of October 1 for this fall’s program. A Wells Fargo investment committee comprised of senior technology, venture banking, and innovation leaders will evaluate candidates and select participants. Prospects can learn more and apply online at https://accelerator.wellsfargo.com.

“We’re interested in any technology that could be used by an institution like Wells Fargo to better serve our customers or operate our business,” Ellis said. “Analytics, big data, mobile, security, and infrastructure are all important to us. We’re looking to engage with innovators beyond the edge of our own creative enterprise.”

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Established CFO Brings Tech Experience to IO

IO, a global leader in software-defined data centers, today announced Michael Berry has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Berry will be responsible for financial planning and analysis, accounting, operations, treasury activities and investor relations, and will report to CEO and Product Architect, George Slessman.

“I am very happy to have Mike join IO,” said Slessman. “His experience as a proven operational leader and technology executive will support IO’s growth and provide a solid financial and operational foundation for the organization.”

Berry joins IO from SolarWinds, a publicly held international provider of IT management software with approximately $300 million in annual revenue and over $3.5 billion in market capitalization where he was Executive Vice President and CFO.  He overhauled the company’s financial planning process and was instrumental in completing ten acquisitions and leading the maintenance renewal team to strong and consistent revenue growth. From a financial perspective, during Mr. Berry’s tenure the company achieved non-GAAP operating profit of greater than 50 percent for eleven straight quarters, and increased operating cash flow by 33% while growing total revenue by 28% on an annualized basis. Prior to SolarWinds, Berry was CFO at i2 (NASDAQ: ITWO), a publicly held, international provider of supply chain software and services. At i2, he rebuilt and scaled the finance and investor relations organizations, led the implementation of several financial planning systems, and played a key role in several strategic initiatives including the acquisition of i2 in January 2010 by JDA Software.

“I could not be more excited about joining IO,” said Michael Berry, IO’s new CFO. “Our leadership position in the foundation technology of the cloud, visionary leadership, marquis enterprise customers and disruptive technology, combined with my experience building the financial and operational foundation for proven technology companies, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  It is truly a great fit that aligns very well with my personal and professional goals and objectives.”

Prior to his CFO experience, Berry served in various executive roles at The Reynolds and Reynolds Company, a provider of software and services to the retail automotive industry, most recently as Senior Vice President of Solutions Management, Development and Operations. He has also held executive management positions at Comdata Corporation and Travelers Express Co. (now MoneyGram International). Berry is currently a Member of the Board of Directors and Audit Committee Chairman for Rapid7, a privately-held security software company based in Boston, Mass.