Scottish fintech Aveni has secured seed investment of £520,000 for its ground-breaking video conferencing based AI technology, which will transform client interaction in financial and professional advice sectors in the new age of ‘digital client service’.
The investment, led by the TRICAPITAL angel syndicate, will accelerate Aveni’s growth, initially focused on the financial services and legal sectors, while growing its team of specialist engineers. Aveni was advised by law firm Harper Macleod while MBM Commercial acted for the investors.
The business, which has close ties to the University of Edinburgh, combines cutting edge software engineering with natural language processing, allowing advisers to connect, engage and digitally serve clients with a range of new automated features – from CRM automation to live risk monitoring and adviser prompts.
Joseph Twigg, CEO of Aveni (formerly known as Hatch-AI), said: “A consequence of the global pandemic has been the widespread adoption of video conferencing. VC is not just a method of connecting with clients, it’s also an enabler of new technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing which can deliver transformational change for professional advice sectors.
“We see the transition from general purpose video conferencing tools to bespoke solutions designed for specific industries. These solutions will enable a digital-first client servicing approach, embedding new technologies at each stage of the client journey, from on-boarding and fact finding to advice and ongoing service.
“The impact on the service industry will be dramatic. Widespread automation will drive down cost to serve, open doors to national video conferencing only channels and transform both the approach to and cost of compliance”.
As well as TRICAPITAL the round was supported by the Scottish Investment Bank, Old College Capital – the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund and Wallace Equity.
Moray Martin, from lead investment syndicate TRICAPITAL, said: “I am delighted that TRICAPITAL has been able to co-ordinate and provide financial support and guidance to Aveni at this difficult time. We recognised the exceptional ability, experience and commitment of the founding team and the perfect fit for the technology across a wide range of sectors. We could not though have foreseen just how relevant and important this technology will be in the post-COVID business environment – a real game-changer in so many ways.”
Jo Nisbet, Partner at Harper Macleod, said: “This was a pretty incredible deal to be part of and we’re delighted to help get it over the line. Not only did we have multiple investors but a global pandemic and a new level of uncertainty over future business and investment. Aven’s technology is world-leading and this is proof that these deals can be done irrespective of the prevailing circumstances.”
Aveni is a past winner of the Scottish EDGE business competition. The company was founded as Hatch AI in 2018 when Twigg was an Executive MBA student at the University of Edinburgh Business School, supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the university’s commercialisation service.
Twigg, who has extensive experience in the investment industry, highlighted the importance of early-stage backing for Scotland’s innovative young tech businesses. He said: “This backing will allow us to leverage the exceptional talent that we have on our doorstep at the university, which is in the top five globally for computation, information and cognition.
“It’s important that early stage, innovative companies in a similar position aren’t left to fail simply because of the current economic circumstances. It would be a crying shame for Scotland and the UK if we let down a generation of innovative businesses who have worked hard to get to a certain level only for the investment to dry up.”