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Chime adds record number of accounts after Wells Fargo outage

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ChimeChime co-founders Chris Britt and Ryan King are going up against the big banks.Chime

  • Challenger bank Chime added 10,000 new bank accounts over the past 24 hours following an outage at Wells Fargo that left some customers unable to use their debit cards or access their online accounts.
  • Chime is also close to raising $300 million at a $1.5 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg.

The recent outage at Wells Fargo which left some customers unable to use their debit cards may have infuriated its customers, but it was good news for some upstart banks.

Chime, a pure-play digital bank, opened nearly 10,000 new bank accounts over the past 24 hours which was a company record, according to to Chime’s co-founder and CEO Chris Britt.

Britt didn’t single out Wells specifically, but said many of these new customers were frustrated with their experience at big Main Street banks. 

“We definitely saw a huge uptick in consumers reaching out to us on Twitter and other social media channels, with the general sense that a lot of them were just at the end of their rope,” he said. “People either singing our praises or asking questions about [Chime]. We even had some dialogue like, ‘Hey, should I switch to you guys? Why should I switch to you guys?'”

Read more: Meet the start-up bank with millions of customers trying to disrupt the ‘adversarial’ American banking system

Chime, founded in 2013, offers its customers a fee-less checking account, which is rare among US banks. The biggest US banks each make around $1 billion a year in fee-related revenue.

With the dramatic rise in new customers, Britt estimates the Chime’s total bank accounts will hit 3 million by the end of February. Chime’s monthly transaction volume tops $1 billion. 

The company is also close to raising $300 million at a $1.5 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg.

Wells Fargo experienced a large-scale outage on Thursday after smoke was detected at one of the bank’s main data center facilities. The outage continued into Friday, the company said, though some of its ATM services have been restored and branches are operational.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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