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Western Union & Techstars' Program to Boost Startups' Growth

Zacks Equity Research
·4 min read

The Western Union Company WU together with Techstars, which is a renowned global investment and innovation platform, recently launched the second class of the Techstars & Western Union Accelerator. The program was launched in June last year. Notably, Techstars has an impressive history of working closely with more than 2,000 startups since 2006.

Startup companies worldwide were welcome to send in applications for the second year of this program in January. The Techstars & Western Union Accelerator selects 10 companies from applicants.

The selected 10 startup founders will take part in an intensive virtual program of 13 weeks. During this tenure, the startups will be able to collaborate with fintech experts from both Western Union and Techstars. This, in turn, will help the startup companies to develop more innovative solutions for accelerating their business growth.

After completing 13 weeks of this program, the 2020 Techstars & Western Union Accelerator will conclude for this year with a Demo Day scheduled on Oct 8. On this day, the 10 startup founders will showcase their innovative products and services for potential investors. However, the Demo Day will be conducted virtually this year, in light of the coronavirus-induced crisis scenario.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have gained 5.1% in a year against the industry’s decline of 0.3%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The price performance looks decent in comparison to other companies’ stock movement in the same space, including Repay Holdings Corporation RPAY, Global Payments Inc. GPN and Visa Inc. V. While Repay and Visa have gained 100.6% and 7.9% in a year, Global Payments has lost 1% in the same time frame. All the three companies carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Moreover, we believe the accelerator program highlights Western Union’s efforts to encourage enhanced financial services and payment technologies, which in turn, will provide required impetus to several startups. The Techstars & Western Union Accelerator is also likely to bridge the gap between global corporations and startup firms thereby paving the way for a more inclusive global financial system.

In fact, assistance to startups is important so that they can devise growth strategies on the back of innovations and advanced technologies. This support can often enable startups to gradually evolve into global corporations. Per New American Economy in 2019, around 45% of Fortune 500 companies were established by immigrant entrepreneurs or their children.

The second year of this accelerator program also seems to be well-timed as the entire world is grappling with pandemic-induced financial woes, and startups have been no exception to the trend. Western Union has also been proactive in providing assistance to small businesses, which are integral to the U.S. economy.

The company has also been striving to add customers via its digital platform across several countries globally. As a result, it has enabled customers to send funds digitally across the world from more than 75 countries. This has clearly led to strong digital business, which despite facing reduced business volumes in late March and early April, somewhat bounced back in May. Notably, the digital transaction growth for May reached its peak in a decade.

We believe the company has built a solid digital money transfer platform on the back of massive investments and strategic alliances. This has helped Western Union to somewhat recover amid the pandemic. Further, the pandemic-induced scenario witnessed customers preferring digital mode of money transfers over physical means. As a result, Western Union, like most other digital payment companies, continues to advance digital payment modes for offering secured cross-border payment options.

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