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SixThirty, a four-year-old financial technology accelerator based in St. Louis, says this spring's selection process was the most competitive and the most international yet.

SixThirty received 170 applications, with half from outside the United States. It chose two foreign and three domestic firms for its spring class. Founders of the five will come to St. Louis for 14 weeks of training, mentoring and networking, and SixThirty will invest up to $100,000 in each company.

The new portfolio companies are:

  • Bridge Financial Technology of Chicago, which provides back-office automation software to financial advisers.
  • CFX Markets, also of Chicago, which runs a secondary market for private real-estate investment trusts.
  • Cognicor of Barcelona, Spain, developer of artificial-intelligence software that interacts with customers by voice or text message.
  • Painless 1099 of Buffalo, N.Y., which helps independent contractors set aside money for tax payments.
  • PayKey of Tel Aviv, Israel, a peer-to-peer money transfer system that can be integrated into banks' mobile applications.

SixThirty was founded in 2013 and named for the height of the Gateway Arch. It is based in the T-Rex incubator downtown.