With the pandemic giving rise to remote working among staff, many institutions are struggling to contain the explosion of virtual communications with existing manual processes.
The recent EY survey of 21 European banks found a disproportionate amount of time is currently being spent on compliance activities that could be automated such as monitoring and surveillance.
Teoman Gonenc and Dwane van der Sluis, who between them have decades of experience in investment banks as well as Natural Language Processing (NLP) have addressed this solution.
Based out of London, WiseWorks has come up with a solution for financial institutions to analyse surging virtual communications for compliance and automate everyday tasks.
The company has created a platform that captures and analyses virtual interactions and, using proprietary NLP technologies, can flag potential misconduct, identify revenue opportunities, and drive process automation.
WiseWorks announced on Thursday that it has secured $1.2M funding in an oversubscribed round. The round was led by Veridian Ventures, with participation from R42, SyndicateRoom’s Super Angel fund, and Istcapital.
We at Tech Funding News caught up with Teoman Gonenc, co-founder and CEO, to better understand the need for an appropriate infrastructure for financial institutions to analyse virtual communications, challenges involved in setting up the company, revenue models, and much more.
About the fund utilisation, Teoman Gonenc says, “WiseWorks has identified clear pain points and has a clear roadmap to develop their product to address those pain points. The funds will in large part go towards product development efforts and some key technical hires to achieve that.”
How was WiseWork born?
According to Gonenc, the idea (behind WiseWork) came out of the founders’ own frustrations during their banking careers around:
- the elusive nature of voice communications
- the frictions created in the workplace by old school / manual compliance practices
- poor knowledge management practices in general
“They are convinced that users’ mindset and the necessary technologies are there for the first time for AI assistants to integrate into the workplace and deliver tangible benefits. These tools are becoming table stakes and a true competitive edge,” he says.
Opening about the challenges, Gonenc shares, “WiseWorks has faced the typical challenges associated with bringing about a completely novel product. This challenge has largely been alleviated with the mindset shift that came with the pandemic. The problems we are targeting are top-of-agenda for virtually all large institutions we speak to.”
He continues, “Also, typical with AI startups, the “cold start problem” was an initial challenge we had to overcome. We needed lots of data to train our machine learning models, but the data was not immediately accessible. We used a combination of manual data generation via volunteers and synthetic data generation techniques to compound the volume we gather via the manual process.”
Technology and market
WiseWorks’ product consists of two elements — a platform that captures and archives meeting content (video, audio, and language) via a virtual participant on Zoom and Teams calls, and an NLP model that scans the captured data in real-time to automate various processes around compliance and sales.
“Behind this structure is a combination of technologies including an interactive virtual assistant, real-time media streaming, computer vision, automated speech recognition (ASR), and various purpose-built NLP models,” he says.
The company aims to help regulated firms such as financial institutions, which are required by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations to record and keep relevant communications for up to seven years.
“Our first target market, the financial services industry, has billions of dollars of revenue potential for Conversational AI applications,” says Gonenc. “We believe we have built a platform that will benefit various industries through specific NLP models we overlay on this versatile platform.”
What makes WiseWorks unique?
WiseWorks says it is gaining traction among the world’s largest banks, with trials with individual users at Tier 1 institutions.
Well, talking about its uniqueness, Gonenc says, “We deliver the entire value chain from capture to action, while most legacy players will only address one part of the below value chain. This gives us many strategic, technological, and commercial advantages.”
Gonenc also emphasised highest-accuracy transcription, and the technology to distinguish different speakers to very high accuracy, enabling use-cases that competition wouldn’t be able to tackle.
“We provide the utmost level of a peace of mind to enterprise users with our ability to deploy on their private cloud or premises — which means that clients have full control of their data and its residency (compliant with regulations including Schrems II),” he concludes.
Dr. Ronjon Nag, Founder & President at R42, says, “Having worked in speech recognition for 30 years, we can see the potential of WiseWorks’ application to transform the way financial institutions monitor and analyse virtual communications and handle costly and time-intensive activities. With such an accomplished team behind the business, we’re excited to see great things WiseWorks will undoubtedly achieve in the coming years.”