AI software start-up Airts nets six-figure PwC deal

Clockwise from left: Richard Cassidy, Alastair Andrew and Andrew Bone of Edinburgh-based Airts. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Clockwise from left: Richard Cassidy, Alastair Andrew and Andrew Bone of Edinburgh-based Airts. Picture: Stewart Attwood
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Artificial intelligence (AI) software start-up Airts has landed a six-figure contract with accounting giant PwC for its system that helps to manage the workload of employees.

The Edinburgh-based firm, which launched in 2013 and has an eight-strong team, is now preparing to roll out its software, dubbed Braid, to more clients across the UK and overseas on the back of the deal with the PwC service delivery centre in Poland.

Its software aims to ease the burden on employers and staff of managing their workloads by using AI to automate schedules and allocate tasks depending on factors such as their capacity and skills.

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Chief executive and co-founder Andrew Bone said: “Major professional services firms like PwC constantly have to decide how best to allocate staff to client engagements in a way that balances the competing needs of the customer, the wellbeing of staff and, ultimately, the bottom line. Braid supports companies to overcome this challenge at scale by optimising the schedule as circumstances change.”

Airts, co-founded by chief technology officer Dr Alastair Andrew, has been supported by business accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark and last year raised £300,000 of seed investment from Scottish angel investors to fund its growth. In 2014, the firm secured £50,000 of funding at the Scottish Edge awards, which aim to support the country’s most promising entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

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Bartosz Krajewski, senior manager at PwC, said: “We love working with Airts. They took time to deeply understand our business and make the whole project a collaborative experience. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of something that we feel will re-invent industry best practice.”

Adding that the manual scheduling of staff had been becoming an “unsustainable” administrative headache for the group, Krajewski said the Braid software “co-ordinates what should be happening and when, giving us a joined-up view of our workload and resources, which lets us focus on continuous growth and improving our quality of service.”

Chaired by Paul Chowdhry, a former senior executive at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, Airts said it was set to explore further funding options this year as it continues to expand its team, having recently appointed Richard Cassidy as commercial director. He was previously sales director at Administrate, the Edinburgh-based training software outfit that last year became the first Scottish start-up to open an office in Lebanon.

Airts is currently in the process of relocating its headquarters from Hill Street to CodeBase, the technology incubator that sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle and which is also home to Administrate.

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