AI & Finance™ | News for the Week Ending 2/9/24

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A lot is happening in the AI universe – so much that it doesn’t make sense for us to single out any particular piece of news from the last week, as the movement in this emerging asset class seemingly heads in every concievable direction….

Instead, we’d like to call your attention to a couple of different flavors of news from the past week. The first is what we might call the familiar flavor, say, a nice, conventional chocolate if you will—since vanilla now carries other connotations. These news releases are about already existing applications of AI and they help us track the spread of  the technology through the financial services industry. The second is new applications of AI, or new combinations of technologies with astronomical potential. This is more akin to a Ben & Jerry’s or Van Leeuwen specialty flavor, like “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” or “Cheetos Flamin’ Hot.”

So, in the first category, we have a lot of news about ChatGPT-like chatbot agents, insurance underwriting tools, and search and research assistants. These tools use large language models to quickly read and sift through large amounts of data, often whether that data is normalized or not. While these more familiar forms of AI continue to find new applications, we’re far from having large language models’ ability to read fully penetrate the financial services industry.

In the second category there are a couple of very off-the-wall news releases this week, but we’d like to spotlight the few that deal with the merging of AI with blockchain and digital assets. It is the merger of these technologies that hasten a more financially decentralized and autonomous future for the planet, and most threaten the incumbents. Most of this news tends to come from small startups with visions of being the next big disruptors.

We believe both categories of news have the power to re-shape the financial services industry, thus, we’re happy to bring you both. Let’s get to it…


1. Abrigo

Abrigo, a provider of financial crime prevention and risk management solutions for U.S. financial institutions, announced the launch of Abrigo Fraud Detection, a new platform that combines AI-powered inspection and check image analysis with a smart, configurable fraud decision engine. Abrigo’s innovative hybrid approach protects banks and credit unions from crippling financial losses by increasing the accuracy of fraud detection, uncovering threats missed by traditional tools and manual reviews, and automating fraud department workflows.

In a pilot program with a Southeastern U.S. bank, Abrigo Fraud Detection correctly identified 93% of the bank’s total fraudulent check value, equating to more than $330,000 in potential fraud loss avoidance.

Despite the increasing popularity of digital payment channels, checks are still the most common form of B2B payment — with 81% of businesses still paying other firms with paper checks. At the same time, check fraud is increasing dramatically. According to fraud strategists, check fraud is projected to soar to $24 billion in 2024. And FinCEN reported that Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings for check fraud in 2022 exceeded 680,000, nearly doubling the number of filings the previous year.

2. Agent IQ

Agent IQ, providing personalized engagement and AI-supported self-service, announced its expanded partnership with BMO through the launch of “Bili”, an innovative digital tool that further enhances the bank’s Canadian online trading platform, BMO InvestorLine.

Bili, powered by Agent IQ’s personal digital engagement platform, Lynq provides BMO InvestorLine clients access to live chat and seamless self-service support across both the BMO Invest app and BMO InvestorLine web platform. This partnership also provides real-time data-driven insights allowing greater views into client’s needs.

Clients can access and chat with a Specialist using any of their preferred digital devices. BMO InvestorLine employs distinct, bilingual chat and self-service flows for both InvestorLine Self-Directed and InvestorLine adviceDirect in the authenticated space, as well as through anonymous chat. These flows are customized to the webpage that the client is on and provides the most relevant information and resources to Chat Specialists and clients.

3. Aprimo

Aprimo unveiled Aprimo AI, a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence solution that accelerates content creation, supercharges asset discoverability, automates asset management, and ensures brand governance. With Aprimo AI, teams can now deploy AI across the entire content lifecycle to accelerate content creation, supercharge asset discoverability, automate asset management and ensure brand governance.

The rise of generative AI technology has expanded the horizon of opportunity for businesses, touching virtually every aspect of content creation and introducing new possibilities for accelerating productivity, improving efficiency, and achieving unprecedented content personalization. But, digital asset management solutions–the backbone of content operations–to date lacked the full depth and breadth of AI functionality, with limited asset discovery, content assistance, security and governance.

Aprimo AI is a fresh reimagining of AI-powered digital asset management, with embedded intelligence that addresses common challenges standing in the way of full AI adoption. Its key offerings include accelerated content creation, automated asset management, improved asset discoverability and scalable governance, safety and compliance.

4. Beem

Beem announced a partnership with april, a provider of AI-powered tax software. This collaboration marks a significant step forward as Beem integrates april’s cutting-edge Filer product, enhancing the tax filing experience for Beem’s users directly within the platform.

Recognizing the financial complexities its members face, especially those managing multiple jobs, Beem’s integration of april’s Filer product aims to streamline the tax filing process and eliminate hidden costs. Beem users can now effortlessly file their taxes within the Beem app, choosing to import their data for a faster filing process and skipping irrelevant questions.

The collaboration between Beem and april exemplifies a shared dedication to leveraging AI to enhance the accessibility and affordability of essential services. As both entities continue to innovate in the fintech industry, users can anticipate a hassle-free and cost-effective tax season that aligns with their evolving financial needs.

5. BNY Mellon

BNY Mellon and Microsoft announced that they are joining forces to transform capital markets and the broader financial services industry. Using Microsoft Azure cloud and BNY Mellon’s extensive financial data and analytics capabilities the platform will provide BNY Mellon’s buy side and sell side clients with a leading data management solution.

The global alliance between two of the world’s leaders in their respective industries will help enable financial institutions to navigate complex market dynamics with precision and agility while enhancing risk management and optimizing operational efficiency.

As part of the expanded collaboration, the two companies will look to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can be incorporated for improved productivity and better-informed decision making.

With a focus on innovation and the expertise and platforms to help clients achieve their goals, BNY Mellon will also migrate its data and analytics workloads to Microsoft Azure.

6. Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton LLP, one of America’s largest providers of audit and assurance, tax and advisory services, has deployed a new tool to help its internal audit, compliance and other risk management professionals streamline their clients’ control design and assessment processes. The tool, which the firm calls Grant Thornton CompliAITM, utilizes generative artificial intelligence (AI), and was developed using Microsoft technology, including Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.

The tool works by combining Grant Thornton’s extensive global controls library with generative AI models and features, including AI analysis, ranking and natural language processing capabilities.

As a result, Grant Thornton’s professionals can run control design and assessment tasks in minutes, including processes that would have traditionally taken days or weeks. This means clients can enjoy operational insights more quickly and cost-effectively, which could add up to a new level of efficiency and a path toward transformative growth.

7. LIBRA Insurance Partners

LIBRA Insurance Partners announced a groundbreaking underwriting collaboration with DigitalOwl, the industry leader in applying artificial intelligence to medical record analysis, and Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA), the only global reinsurer solely focused on life and health reinsurance solutions. Dedicated specifically to addressing inefficiencies in the informals submission process, this collaboration will utilize DigitalOwl technology via RGA’s facultative underwriting program.

As an extension to the industry’s first and only direct distribution-reinsurer facultative reinsurance program, LIBRA firms will submit informal applications to RGA and in return receive a facultative offer, a highly concise DigitalOwl medical summary, and an underlying structured data asset, all managed by RGA.

8. Mogo

Mogo, a digital wealth and payments business, announced that it has expanded its relationship with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company. Building on a multi-year relationship, Mogo will use Snowflake Data Cloud as the foundation for its Wealth products, greatly increasing the Company’s processing time and efficiency and, over time, allowing for the deployment of new Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications to help everyday consumers invest better, build wealth and achieve financial freedom.

Mogo’s digital wealth platform includes Mogo, a commission-free stock trading app that helps users thoughtfully invest based on a Warren Buffett approach to long-term investing, and Moka, which offers Canadians a real alternative to mutual funds and wealth managers that overcharge and underperform with a fully managed investing solution based on the proven outperformance of an S&P 500 strategy at a fraction of the cost.

9. Napier

Napier announced that its Anti Money Laundering (AML) platform, Napier Continuum is now available through two new service offerings: Napier Continuum Live and Napier Continuum Flow. These new solutions deliver Napier’s experience in helping financial institutions transform their AML solutions with a compliance-first focus.

Napier Continuum Live is the new plug-and-play hosted offering that brings the benefits of the Napier Continuum platform to organizations looking to go live and achieve regulatory compliance as quickly as possible. For both Client Screening and Transaction Monitoring, the service offering includes:

  • Licensing, hosting and professional services fees in a single contract
  • Bundled data for client screening
  • Out-of-the-box Artificial Intelligence (AI) models
  • Predefined implementation configuration packages for a seamless go-live experience
  • Rules and typologies libraries tailored to customer sectors, including banking, payments, and wealth and asset management
  • Proven and scoped implementation pathways with Napier’s Professional Services team

Napier is also announcing Napier Continuum Flow, a new headless API service designed for organizations looking to leverage AI-powered financial crime compliance intelligence into their existing infrastructure. With Napier Continuum Flow, organizations can route alerts from Napier’s next generation, AI-driven screening and monitoring engines into their existing workflow for case management. Customers gain the improved detection rates and reduced false positives from Napier Continuum, as well as the explainable and auditable AI insights, all in their existing workflow for a fast Return on Investment (ROI) and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

10. Patriot Federal Credit Union

Global AI-powered automated credit underwriting platform provider Scienaptic AI announced today that Patriot Federal Credit Union has chosen to implement its AI-powered credit underwriting platform. The credit union aims to streamline its credit decisioning by utilizing Scienaptic’s fair, inclusive, and regulatory-compliant AI platform.

Founded on the principles of community service and financial empowerment, Patriot Federal Credit Union has its origins deeply rooted in the cooperative banking movement. Established in 1965, Patriot emerged as a response to the growing need for accessible and member-focused financial services. With assets more than a billion dollars, Patriot Federal Credit Union serves more than 80,000 members across Franklin County, PA; Frederick County, MD; Washington County, MD and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia – Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties. Since its inception, the Credit Union has remained steadfast in its commitment to being member-owned and serving the financial needs of its members.

11. Portal

Portal, a fintech provider advancing financial self-sovereignty with robust technology for seamless access to Bitcoin and diverse cryptocurrency markets, announced it has exited stealth mode and raised $34 million in seed funding. Investors that participated in the round include Coinbase Ventures, Arrington Capital, OKX Ventures and Gate.io, as well as many other high-profile fintech and crypto investors. The seed funding builds on Portal’s angel round of $8.5 million, which closed in 2021.

The new funding comes at a pivotal moment for the crypto industry as it grapples with the security risks and fragmentation inherent in cross-chain bridges, centralized exchanges (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). In fact, over the last two years, approximately $2.5 billion has been stolen from bridges alone by hackers, according to Token Terminal, with prominent hacks of bridges such as Wormhole, HECO/HTX, Nomad, Harmony, Multichain, BNB bridge and Orbit. With few alternative cross-trading solutions on the market, users are forced to rely on highly centralized, opaque and risky swapping solutions like wrappers, bridges and custodians.

Through its novel, decentralized and trust-minimized infrastructure, Portal is building a solution that will enable peer-to-peer swapping of Bitcoin across a range of blockchains without the need for dangerous intermediaries like wrappers, bridges, CEXs and multi-hop DEXs. As a staking and swapping layer, interoperability layer and execution layer, Portal’s infrastructure will enable any user to swap Bitcoin across a range of blockchains and back in seconds without giving up custody, privacy or security.

Portal will use the funds to develop its two flagship products: Portal DEX and Portal Wallet. Portal DEX is the first Bitcoin-based exchange that enables Layer 2 atomic swaps of cryptocurrencies across blockchains at greater speed, lower cost and with increased transparency, security and interoperability. Portal Wallet is a fully non-custodial tool that integrates Portal DEX and allows users to receive, store and send cryptocurrencies across blockchains.

In the coming months, Portal will launch several new groundbreaking products previously only available to large institutions and hedge funds. They include an AI-powered, co-pilot investment application for acquiring financial intelligence and maximizing high-level investment strategies; and an API integration tool for building Portal DEX cross-chain swap functionality into existing wallets, DeFi applications on any chain and Web3 DApps. Portal will also be announcing several strategic partnerships with major Bitcoin projects to enhance the utility and accessibility of Bitcoin, which have been bottlenecks for the crypto community.

12. reAlpha Tech Corp.

reAlpha Tech Corp., a real estate technology company focused on developing, utilizing and commercializing real estate-focused artificial intelligence (“AI”) to drive efficiency, sustainability and growth, announced the following leadership changes: Mike Logozzo has been appointed as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer; Jorge Aldecoa has been appointed to the new role of Chief Product Officer; and Michael Frenz has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer. The appointments are effective immediately. Mr. Aldecoa and Mr. Frenz will report to Mr. Logozzo, who will report to Giri Devanur, the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

13. Rocket Companies

Rocket Companies announced that Alex Rampell has been appointed as an independent director to the Company’s Board of Directors.

Rampell currently serves as General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, focusing on fintech investments. A noted serial entrepreneur, he cofounded many tech-driven financial companies including Affirm, one of the largest businesses in the rapidly growing ‘buy-now-pay-later’ space, which went public in early 2021. He also cofounded TrialPay, a transactional advertising and payments company serving some of the world’s largest digital goods and e-commerce clients, which was acquired by Visa in 2015. Most recently, Rampell has been an advocate of the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI), forecasting that generative AI will usher in significant transformation and disruption in the financial services space.

14. S&P Global Marketplace

S&P Global announced the launch of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled search on the S&P Global Marketplace (Marketplace). Marketplace is S&P Global’s data and solution exploration platform that represents offerings from all five divisions of S&P Global, Sustainable1, Kensho and curated third-party providers.

The Marketplace Generative AI search is a global solution designed to simplify and enhance the discovery of S&P Global’s offerings. It responds to user’s natural language queries with detailed answers, making the search process more intuitive and efficient. Additionally, it proactively recommends other relevant data sets and services, in turn broadening the user’s perspective.

The Generative AI search utilizes a Large Language Model (LLM) and is powered by the information and metadata on Marketplace, along with S&P Global’s leading technical documentation. It was developed in partnership by Market Intelligence, the division within S&P Global that provides information services and solutions to global markets, and Kensho, the AI-innovation arm of S&P Global.

15. TIFIN

TIFIN, an AI and innovation platform, announced its philanthropy platform TIFIN Give has acquired Giving Place, the tech solution for family office giving programs and private foundations. The newly combined company now has increased scale and resources to service families through advisors, the workplace, and family offices. The firm now helps oversee $670 million in philanthropy assets and helped facilitate $40 million in charitable donations in 2023.

The donor-advised fund (DAF) space has seen rapid growth in recent years. DAF assets nearly doubled between 2018 and 2022 and stand today at ~$230 billion; total DAF assets are estimated to grow to $1 trillion by 2030. Private foundation assets reached $1.25 trillion last year. The ability of TIFIN Give to serve these charitable structures, among others, continues to unlock substantial opportunities and value for wealth enterprises and their clients.

TIFIN Give’s next-generation DAF platform provides a multi-custodial platform, SOC-2 security compliance, and expanded investment options including custom model portfolios. It is now deployed at leading wealth enterprises and employers through their recent partnership to power an employee DAF solution with Morgan Stanley at Work.

16. Upshot

Upshot, a developer of AI x crypto infrastructure, is proud to announce Allora, a new trustless, self-improving decentralized AI network. Backed by Polychain, Framework, Blockchain Capital, CoinFund, and a number of other top investors in the space, Allora is designed to empower applications with smarter, more secure AI through a self-improving network of machine learning models. By combining research at the frontier of crowdsourcing mechanisms like peer prediction, federated learning, and zkML, Allora unlocks a vast new design space of applications at the intersection of crypto and AI.

Upshot, a core contributor of Allora, will also support a new ecosystem growth program for projects building on the Allora AI network. The ecosystem program provides:

  • Extra access to Upshot’s technical team
  • Introductions to investors
  • Guidance to build on the network
  • Support on go-to-market
  • And more

The Allora network works for anyone trying to leverage decentralized AI. For application and protocol developers, Allora provides the infrastructure to build crypto apps powered by AI models. For ML model creators, Allora offers the ability to monetize their models by deploying on a decentralized network and capturing value from their models’ use. Existing platforms can also easily plug into Allora to incorporate AI into their applications without needing to develop expertise internally or plug into centralized, black-box models.

17. UPTIQ

UPTIQ, a developer in holistic wealth management solutions for the financial services industry, announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Focus Treasury and Credit Solutions, LLC (“FTCS”), which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Focus Financial Partners Inc. (Focus), a leading partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms. This acquisition significantly enhances UPTIQ’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled technology by combining automation and digital/intuitive self-service with FTCS’s client-centric approach to delivering tailored cash and credit solutions to financial advisors. Following the closing of this transaction, FTCS will be renamed and rebranded as UPTIQ Treasury and Credit Solutions, LLC (“UTCS”), and Focus will become a shareholder in UPTIQ.

Key Highlights of the Acquisition:

  • High-Tech and High Touch. The acquisition combines high-tech and high touch, pairing UPTIQ’s state-of-the-art technology with UTCS’s specialized expertise and hands-on, client-centric approach.
  • Enhanced Product Offering. The acquisition of UTCS allows UPTIQ to expand its product offering to include deposits, securities-backed loans and lines of credit, and brokered mortgages.
  • Expanded Distribution. With a combined client base of more than 300 advisory firms – including more than 3,200 active financial advisors – and a lender network of more than 130 banks, credit unions and non-bank lenders, the acquisition gives UPTIQ immediate distribution.

18. Vericast

Vericast debuted Checking Engine, an industry-first, always on, end-to-end checking acquisition solution to help financial institutions (FI) find new customers at a lower cost per acquisition (CPA).

Rooted in data intelligence and grounded in compliance, Vericast’s Checking Engine is designed to improve results while optimizing marketing spend. It is a holistic solution built on the expertise of Vericast with decades of experience in financial institution marketing, privacy, media, and compliance with regulatory matters.

19. VoPay

VoPay, a provider of embedded financial technology solutions, proudly announces the inauguration of its state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence lab. This groundbreaking initiative is poised to reshape the industry landscape by amplifying VoPay’s capabilities in predictive analytics, robotic process automation (RPA), and managed services.

The AI lab underscores VoPay’s unwavering dedication to innovation and excellence within the realm of financial technology. Armed with cutting-edge AI tools and a team of seasoned experts, the lab will spearhead the development of novel solutions aimed at predicting market trends, automating critical financial processes, and delivering comprehensive managed services to clients. These advancements are anticipated to yield substantial reductions in operational costs, heightened efficiency, and unparalleled insights into financial markets.

20. Wisedocs

Wisedocs, machine learning software-as-a-service (SaaS) for medical record review, indexing, and summarization closes $9.5M USD ($12.7M CAD) in oversubscribed Series A financing. The Series A is led by Information Venture Partners, an early-stage B2B fintech investment firm; and by Thomson Reuters Ventures and ManchesterStory.

This financing round follows Wisedocs’ successful 2022 $4.1M oversubscribed Seed round. The Series A further enables Wisedocs’ successful expansion of its team, product, and sales territories. Wisedocs launched in the United States in 2022, followed by the opening of new American headquarters in Florida to support a growing US customer base. Wisedocs is poised to accelerate exponentially in 2024 following a successful 2023, which saw the company more than double its growth in customer base, alongside an incredible 3.5X growth rate.

Leveraging state-of-the-art Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build its latest product suite enables the entire claims ecosystem to manage the claims process within an intelligent technology platform. Large-Language Models (LLMs) are key to Wisedocs’ understanding, analysis, and generation of content for medical records. With the 2023 launch of its game-changing Summaries platform, further artificial intelligence products can be launched to support insurance carriers, healthcare providers, law firms, and third-party administrators (TPAs) for the claims industry.