'Regtech' firm Aveni scaling AI-backed conversational intelligence technology platform with seven-figure funding boost

Edinburgh-based artificial intelligence (AI) company Aveni.ai has secured £2.75 million to expand the remit of its conversational intelligence technology, including expansion of its headcount.

The regtech (regulatory technology) firm says it is set to lead the way in a new era of speech automation for regulated industries, tapping into the latest advances in AI and Natural Language Processing to draw intelligence and automate processes directly from the customer voice and other communications channels.

Aveni adds that this allows companies to boost efficiencies in quality assurance while improving client experience, sales performance, staff training, and the ability to identify vulnerable customers.

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The funding round was led by The TriCapital Syndicate LLP and Par Equity supported by Scottish Enterprise, while Anderson Strathern advised Aveni on the legal aspects. Aveni said the capital – which follows a cash injection last year of £1.1m, led by TriCapital, and a seed investment of £520,000 in 2020 – will accelerate its growth and help it move into other regulated industries such as utilities, while building a team to support rapid UK expansion.

The firm, formerly known as Hatch AI, added that the development of its platform coincides with major moves from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to considerably increase its regulatory control over companies’ actions as it relates to consumer duty of care – meaning comprehensive monitoring and analytics capabilities will be key.

Aveni chief executive Joseph Twigg said the FCA’s consumer duty efforts will remodel the regulatory landscape across the finance sector. “The FCA is shifting from human-centric supervision to an emphasis on data-first evidentiary requirements,” he added. “As executive teams are asked to supply increasingly large datasets to the regulator, with growing frequency, boards will be asking themselves ‘do we know exactly what’s in that data?’. The answer to that will be a resounding 'no'.

“Monitoring and assurance teams today typically assess 1 to 2 per cent of customer interactions through highly manual processes. This will have to fundamentally change. Aveni uses cutting-edge machine learning to introduce a paradigm shift in risk assurance. Our ‘Machine Line of Defence’ allows companies to monitor 100 per cent of customer interactions, triaging high-risk cases for human review, and transforming the management of regulatory and reputational risk."

From left: Nicola Wee, chief marketing officer; Jamie Hunter, chief operating officer; Joseph Twigg, CEO; and Andy Johnston, chief revenue officer. Picture: contributed.

Pivotal

He added that the new funding boost comes at a “pivotal” time for the business, and will “allow us to significantly broaden our distribution footprint as we expand nationally and continue developing our platform that will fundamentally change the way companies serve their customers”.

Alastair Moore, investment manager at Par Equity, deemed Aveni’s technology “truly game-changing” for regulated firms in finance and utilities, helping the end customer. “It was evident from speaking to customers and partners that they love Aveni’s Detect platform and were impressed at how quick it was to deploy. With this further funding, the company has a fantastic opportunity to establish itself as a category leader in automated conversational intelligence and we’re looking forward to supporting Joseph and the team along the way.”

Moray Martin, managing partner of Scottish Enterprise-accredited angel syndicate TriCapital, commented: “The next chapter in Aveni’s evolution looks particularly exciting as it drives to scale. We are confident, having nurtured the business from seed to pre-series A, that the fundamentals are firmly in place to deliver the success the business is looking for and deserves.”

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