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(CoMotion Photo)

The University of Washington’s innovation arm is partnering with the state’s largest non-profit credit union to launch a new fintech incubator.

BECU and CoMotion this week will open the BECU Fintech Incubator, a new group housed inside Startup Hall near the UW campus in Seattle.

Participating companies will get support from BECU leadership and its financial services expertise, which includes anonymized data and connections to the credit union network nationally. The UW will provide office space via CoMotion Labs (membership sponsored by BECU) and access to the university’s own resources and networks. Companies do not give up equity.

The first two startups joining the incubator include Noonum, a Seattle startup that helps financial advisors better understand potential investments by using machine learning and natural language processing. Shankar Vaidyanathan, who previously spent 23 years at Microsoft, is founder and CEO.

The other company is Warren, another Seattle startup that automates payables and receivables. Warren raised a seed investment earlier this year and is led by Omri Mor, a veteran entrepreneur who previously sold ZIIBRA to Tagboard.

From left to right: Vikram Jandhyala, executive director of UW CoMotion; Shankar Vaidyanathan, CEO of Noonum; Tom Morgan CIO/SVP of Information Technology, BECU; Tom Berquist, SVP Marketing, Cooperative Affairs, BECU; and Omri Mor, CEO of Warren. (UW Photo/Matt Hagen Photography)

The incubator one of several in the Seattle region but the first to focus on fintech. It plans to accept more startups and will host a competition in February, with winning teams awarded a spot in the program.

CoMotion helps startups through education and access to experts and funding sources. Originally started as the Center for Commercialization (C4C) at the UW’s main Seattle campus, the program evolved a few years ago from a department that mainly helped commercialize ideas born at the university — it has helped spin out well over 100 startups over the past decade, and 21 in fiscal 2016 — to what it now describes as a “collaborative innovation hub dedicated to expanding the economic and societal impact of the UW community.”

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