AI & Finance™ | News for the Week Ending 5/31/24

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When technology moves as quickly as artifical intelligence in finance has over recent months, it begins stretching and distorting our civic and cultural codes and norms which were created within—and for—a different world.  

Take the law. AI is already changing law as we know it in different ways. We should take a moment to mention that generative AI is already capable of passing state bar exams and writing legislation, so it’s appropriate to step back and think about other ways the law is being changed due to AI.  

For one thing, there’s a whole sphere of legaltech, technology used by the legal professions, that is being juiced by AI. Artificial intelligence is going to make lawyers, judges and paralegals more efficient, changing the way that law is researched and studied, and perhaps even how legal arguments are shaped. 

But AI is also raising new questions for the law—and lawmakers—to answer, like: What if AI makes decisions that discriminate against groups of people in key use cases, like hiring or admissions? 

Earlier this month, Colorado passed a law to protect consumers from harm due to “algorithmic discrimination” caused by artificial intelligence systems, meaning differential treatment to groups or individuals protected under law. The law imposes reporting requirements and other obligations on employers using AI to make employment decisions. 

But AI creates so many other questions that the law will need to address moving forward. Intellectual property questions, like whether people who create content that generative AI is trained on should be compensated for their work—and whose property the products of generative AI will become—the user who generated the content? The owner of the generative AI itself? Do the creators of the content that the AI was trained on have some stake in the newly created content? 

And who is responsible when AI makes mistakes? Who should be deemed culpable if and when an AI “hallucination” causes material harm to someone in the real world? Who is responsible if and when generative AI defames someone? Is generative AI capable of actual malice? 

And who is responsible for safeguarding personal data used as the inputs for generative AI, and any personal data included in the outputs of AI? Who should be held responsible if there’s a data breach? What are the best ways for technology providers—and financial service companies—to protect themselves? 

In many cases, existing law provides analogies that can be used to answer legal questions about AI in finance—but in others, we’re going to have to reinterpret Western law traditions to suit a future permeated by artificial intelligence.  

Let’s get to some headlines. 

READ ON…..


1. Affinity 

Affinity, the relationship intelligence platform for dealmakers, announced Ken Fine will be its new CEO. With more than 20 years of experience leading B2B SaaS companies through successful growth, Ken will lead Affinity into its next chapter of innovation and expansion. 

Ken brings to Affinity an expertise in navigating companies through IPOs and acquisitions, having steered multiple organizations, including Heap, Medallia, and Financial Engines, through significant revenue milestones and successful IPOs. Throughout his career, he has played pivotal roles in leading B2B SaaS companies across various executive positions, including Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Product Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Executive Officer. 

Affinity has recently released several new AI and data-driven features to help drive more efficient and effective dealmaking. 

2. AuditBoard 

AuditBoard, a connected risk platform transforming audit, risk, compliance and ESG management, announced that it has reached an agreement to be acquired in a transaction valued at over $3 billion, by Hg, an experienced and global leading investor in compliance, risk and accounting software over the last 20 years. 

The deal validates AuditBoard’s customer centric approach and potent combination of innovative technology – like the recently announced AuditBoard AI – and domain expertise at a time when demand for its connected risk platform and related solutions is fueling rapid global growth. 

The company now serves more than 2,000 enterprises, including nearly 50% of the Fortune 500. Founded in 2014, AuditBoard announced earlier this year it had crossed a milestone of $200 million in annual recurring revenue during late 2023. Its last funding round took place in 2018 – a Series B led by Battery Ventures, the firm’s largest institutional shareholder. 

3. Chata.ai 

In a significant move for the retail investment landscape, Chata.ai, a pioneer in self-service data analytics, and New Constructs, a data analytics & technology firm with capabilities and expertise in Earnings Distortion scores, investment ratings on equity and debt in companies, ETF and mutual fund ratings, have joined forces. This collaboration coincides with the launch of “Alpha Alerts,” a revolutionary data alerts platform designed to provide the power of analytics to anyone. 

Alpha Alerts leverages New Constructs data, offering subscribers an unparalleled edge in areas such as Earnings Distortion Scores revealing the likelihood of companies beating or missing estimates based on analysis of unusual gains & losses hidden in the fine print of financial filings, providing a clearer picture of a company’s financial health; Stock Ratings delivering risk/reward assessments of stocks, empowering investors to make confident investment choices; and ETF & Mutual Fund Ratings delivering unrivaled fundamental research on all the holdings of the fund. 

This partnership signifies a paradigm shift in the availability and accessibility of professional-grade investment data for the retail investor. 

4. Evertas 

Evertas, the world’s first crypto insurance company, has named Emma Rose Bienvenu as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO). 

Bienvenu joins Evertas from Pantera Capital, where she spent several years as Chief of Staff, working closely with the CIO and CEO to grow the firm and its team. She brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise in firm operations, regulatory compliance and crypto strategy, in addition to an extensive network within the tech and blockchain ecosystem. 

Bienvenu will leverage her network to expand the company’s customer base and partnerships, contributing to Evertas scaling both internationally and across a wider product suite. Her presence will bolster the team’s cryptonative expertise, ensuring processes and procedures are transparent, efficient and compliant. 

5. Fidelity National Financial 

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (NYSE: FNF) (“FNF” or the “Company”), a provider of title insurance and transaction services to the real estate and mortgage industries, and a provider of insurance solutions serving retail annuity and life customers and institutional clients through its majority-owned subsidiary F&G Annuities & Life, Inc., announced that Jason Nadeau will take on an expanded executive role as Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer. As Chief Digital Officer, Nadeau has already been playing a critical role in leading the strategic implementation and governance of artificial intelligence within the FNF family of companies and in this role, he will continue to focus on maximizing the potential artificial intelligence (“AI”) technologies have to enhance business operations and customer experiences. 

Nadeau joined FNF in 2018 and has played a critical role in shaping the development of the Company’s technology posture and strategy as Chief Digital Officer. 

6. FundGuard 

Gryphon Fund Group, LLC the Ohio-based fund administrator providing comprehensive back-office service for private and registered investment funds, announced its strategic decision to select FundGuard, the first fully cloud-native, AI-powered multi-asset and multi-book investment accounting utility, as its primary accounting book of record (ABOR) for its open-end fund client base. The move ensures unparalleled transparency, scalability, and operational resilience in support of Gryphon’s growth plan. 

The collaboration with FundGuard underscores Gryphon’s commitment to differentiate with a truly client-centric, white glove approach to fund administration that leverages best in class, tech-forward fund accounting operations. By implementing FundGuard’s ABOR solution, Gryphon aims to optimize its accounting processes, scale its operations, and deliver exceptional value to its clients. 

FundGuard’s intuitive, low-touch and cloud-native SaaS platform is designed to support the complex needs of today’s asset servicers, including real-time processing, all-in-one multi-book and multi-asset class capabilities, and compliance with evolving regulatory requirements.

7. Patronas AI 

Patronus AI announced it is raising a $17 million Series A round, bringing the total amount raised to $20 million. The financing was led by Glenn Solomon at Notable Capital with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Datadog, Gokul Rajaram, Factorial Capital, and several leading software and AI executives. 

Founded by machine learning experts from Meta, Anand Kannappan and Rebecca Qian, Patronus AI is the first automated evaluation and security platform that helps companies detect large language model (LLM) mistakes at scale. Using proprietary AI, the platform enables enterprise development teams to score model performance, generate adversarial test cases, benchmark models and more. Patronus AI automates and scales the manual and costly model evaluation methods prevalent in the enterprise today, enabling organizations to confidently deploy LLMs while minimizing the risk of model failures and misaligned outputs. 

Since the company’s official launch in late 2023, the company has released industry research shedding light on the pervasive accuracy and safety problems inherent with LLM use. The first is FinanceBench, the industry’s first benchmark for LLM performance on financial questions. The research revealed that popular models, like OpenAI’s GPT-4-Turbo, only got 19 percent of answers right when reading an entire SEC filing. Patronus AI also released CopyrightCatcher, the first Copyright Detection API for LLMs, showing that LLMs are capable of plagiarizing content without the proper guardrails. 

8. PureFacts Financial Solutions 

Capital Investment Companies, a prominent independent financial services and brokerage firm in the Southeast of the United States, and PureFacts Financial Solutions, a global leader in revenue management, enterprise reporting, and insights solutions for the asset and wealth management sector, announced an agreement where PureFacts will be implementing PureFees, a market leading fee billing solution to complement another offering of PureFacts, PureRewards to scale their business with key benefits related to operational efficiencies and process automation helping Capital Investment Companies to attract, manage and grow revenue while reducing costs. 

PureFacts’ enterprise billing platform is designed to scale, accommodating the diverse needs of different types of wealth and asset management firms. As part of a comprehensive suite of solutions available to financial advisors, PureFacts’ platform provides Capital Investment Companies with the ability to track, measure, and optimize every dollar. 

9. SimpleKPI 

SimpleKPI, an online KPI tracking platform, has announced its new AI-powered KPI Generator. This tool is set to transform how businesses create their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and an extensive KPI database. The free KPI Generator allows anyone to effortlessly create KPIs tailored to their specific needs. 

Gone are the days of laborious KPI research. With the new generator, users can effortlessly generate relevant KPIs by entering a prompt, such as “Best practice KPIs for Automotive Sales.” The platform’s sophisticated algorithms analyze the query against a vast repository of industry-specific metrics, instantly providing actionable KPIs. 

Users can directly import the generated KPIs to the application or an external spreadsheet, eliminating manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors. Designing KPIs also no longer requires exhaustive research. So, whether users are fine-tuning existing KPIs or creating new ones, their AI-driven insights empower users to stay ahead of the curve. 

10. SmartStream 

SmartStream, the financial Transaction Lifecycle Management solutions provider, announced two rankings in Celent’s recent report – the XCelent Breadth of Functionality award and the Luminary for Advanced Technology and Breadth of Functionality. 

Celent has produced an industry report called ‘Reconciliation Systems: Solutions for Capital Markets Firms, offering an overview of vendor solutions available in the market. The report profiles eighteen solutions, providing a comprehensive overview of their functionality, customer bases, technology prowess, implementation processes, pricing structures, and support mechanisms. 

11. Supervizor 

Supervizor, the plug and play Quality Assurance platform for finance teams, announced it has raised $22 million in a funding round led by Orange Ventures, with participation from Wille Finance, La Maison Partners, New Alpha Asset Management, Adelie Capital and ISAI. The new funding will be used to drive continued innovation of its award-winning audit analytics platform and expansion of the company’s go-to-market operations worldwide. 

Since 2016, Supervizor has helped global organizations safeguard against financial and compliance risks to build error-proof financial statements ensuring the highest quality standards. Using Supervizor, finance, accounting and compliance teams can continuously monitor transactions, detect multiple types of anomalies, and prevent fraudulent activities to provide an unrealized-to-date level of financial Quality Assurance. Thanks to its deep functional expertise and library of millions of accounting patterns, Supervizor combines all ERP transactions and other data sources into a single, universal accounting model. This model serves as the foundation for its sophisticated AI-based algorithms. 

Today the Supervizor financial Quality Assurance platform is trusted by over 70 global enterprises including Cirrus Logic, Club Med, Diebold Nixdorf, Hutchinson, Ikea, Lacoste, Michelin, and numerous others. Supervizor integrates with all major ERPs, is available on the SAP Store and distributed by Sage. It was recently recognized by the AICPA for inclusion in its highly selective 2024 Startup Accelerator cohort. 

12. VeriFast 

VeriFast, the AI-powered Verification-as-a-Service platform that automates financial analysis and decision making for tenant screening, mortgage underwriting, and other verticals, announced the expansion of its sales team to support the company’s rapid growth. Jeanne Klein has been promoted to VP of sales, Hugh Jackson has joined as Senior Account Executive and Casey Hansen has been named Regional Director of Sales for the Southeast United States. The company recently named veteran Ed Wolff as Chair of its Multifamily Advisory Board. 

Hansen joins VeriFast after more than five years at Rent.com. Casey is a proactive and performance-driven professional who specializes in building strategic relationships and long-lasting partnerships and will be leveraging her award-winning sales and leadership skills to oversee the continuing surge of business for VeriFast in vital regions such as Florida. 

Jackson has more than 15 years of SaaS experience. In his most recent role at Lobby CRE, he led initiatives to optimize portfolio performance, elevate ROI, and streamline operations. He previously served as a Senior Account Executive at Thirty Capital and a Business Risk and Control Consultant with Wells Fargo.