The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is following in the footsteps of IBM Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. by launching a startup accelerator of its very own.

Last week the bank announced RBC Reach, an accelerator that invites startups to apply for mentorship, $100,000 in funding, and the opportunity to collaborate with RBC itself on a commercial venture.

The program, which is being delivered in collaboration with venture firm Highline Beta, is already accepting applicants. They have until Aug. 31 to submit proposals.

“Innovation is core to our thinking at RBC, and we continually explore new ways to deliver exceptional experiences and unparalleled value to our clients,” RBC chief strategy and corporate development officer Mike Dobbins said in a July 3 statement. “But our commitment to innovation goes beyond our walls. By enabling startups to commercialize their ideas and scale their operations, RBC is supporting the technology ecosystem that helps drive the future prosperity and economic success of our country.”

The accelerator is open to startups from across Canada and around the world, with RBC stating that its first cohort will be chosen based on each startup’s ability to deliver solutions that, in the company’s words, help its business clients thrive.

Each company that is accepted into the program will receive:

  • Initial investment of $100,000;
  • An opportunity to collaborate with RBC over a three-month period on developing a proof-of-concept, which could lead to a commercial deal;
  • Access to RBC’s financial services infrastructure;
  • Designated office space in Toronto’s financial district;

Like competitors such as the Lazaridis Institute, the organizers behind RBC Reach will also meet with eligible companies at multiple events such as Montreal’s Startup Fest on July 12 and 13.

At the end of the program, companies that sign an agreement with RBC will receive additional time to develop and launch a commercial pilot. Companies that move beyond the first stage will also be eligible for additional investment from RBC and Highline Beta, in addition to receiving the latter’s support in seeking new investors.

“This is a unique approach to corporate accelerator programs,” Dobbins said. “Our ambition is to create an expedited path to a commercial agreement with RBC, as well as solutions in market that could transform the way our clients do business.”

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