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Finn AI: Banks' Right Hand


The virtual assistant of the future is here, and it’s called Finn AI.

Artificial intelligence has taken on the weighty task of learning the secrets of being a human being.

With technology entering every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder that AI is slowly but surely taking over human tasks to facilitate companies and their end-users in the line of communication and services.

Finn AI is a chatbot that specializes in financial and banking issues. Being the middleman between banks and credit unions on one side and end-users on the other, it is a relatively easy and convenient banking tool.

A trio of brilliant minds like Natalie Cartwright, Jake Tylor, and Guru Atlu came up with an idea to help banks and credit unions bring personal banking closer to clients through the use of chatbots.

Stick around and find out how did an AI virtual banking assistant tackle the complex world of banking only to help regular people untangle the web of papers.

Artificial Intelligence Unites

A relatively simple person at a glance, Natalie Cartwright is everything but that. Once the layers are removed, this highly-educated COO of Finn AI is quite an interesting person. Vancouver-born and raised, Natalie is the youngest of three siblings in the family.

Pointing to her mother as a role model in her life, she was taught to be kind to people and appreciate the education. Watching her mother balance a career and a family influenced the way Natalie shaped as a person. She is a loud advocate for female presence in the AI industry and has spoken at many events on this matter.

Raised in a family that prizes education, Natalie didn’t fall short of making her family proud. In 2005, she received her BA in Psychology and Pathology from McGill University. She went on to complete her Master’s in Public Health at Lund University in Sweden, specializing in Global Health. She stopped by Madrid to get her MBA at the IE Business School to round up her education. Having lived in eight countries in 2010, Natalie settled in Geneva to co-run the Global Fund for a while. She managed a $250 million health investment portfolio, specifically in malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis programs. In 2014, she finally decided to return to Vancouver and co-founded Finn AI together with Jake Tylor.

It was during her time in Madrid that Natalie met Jake Tylor; her classmate also received his MBA from the IE Business School. Originally from Australia, Jake is also of a nomadic spirit and has often changed his residence. Having lived in five countries within a decade, he also decided to settle in Vancouver in 2014 and become the CEO of Finn AI.

Jake is not far behind Natalie when it comes to education. Unlike her two Master’s degrees, Jake is the proud owner of two Bachelor’s degrees from Curtin University in Bentley, Western Australia. He received a degree in Commerce (International Business) and Social Sciences (International Politics).

Before founding Finn AI, Jake’s professional career included a Director position in Brook Intelligence Center and a Senior Consultant at PMSI Consulting, both positions being in London, UK.

Not much is known about the third co-founder of Finn AI, Guru Atlu. He is originally from India and currently holds the positions of CTO and Software Engineer at Finn AI. In 2007, he received his Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications Engineering from SV University, KSRMCE in India.

That same year, he started to work as a Mobile App Developer & SME for IBM in India and Sweden. Gaining substantial experience, in 2014, he moved to Vancouver and joined Natalie and Jake in co-founding Finn In.

Siri For Banks

The venture for creating Finn AI started back in 2006 during Cartwright’s stay in Kenya. While exploring the stunning horizons of Kenya, Natalie discovered a useful money-transfer app that she and Jake believed could transform the Canadian market.

Using that app as inspiration, the two innovation-driven enthusiasts created the Payso app, which facilitated money transfers to any phone number. However, this idea flopped due to Canada’s concentrated banking sector and people not being willing to get out of their comfort zone.

However devastating it might sound, failing to get their idea across didn’t discourage the friends from coming up with something new. They used all the experience from Payso to create Finn AI - an AI-powered banking and financial management chatbot intended for banks and credit unions to help them automate and scale beneficial self-service.

However frightening it may seem that we are talking to chatbots, this approach of using AI intelligence for some simple tasks has proven effective. Banks and credit unions quickly adapt to new and modern ways of approaching their clients.

Having incorporated Finn AI to increase customer satisfaction and service, it is shocking to learn that a relatively high number of conversations are being resolved without a human getting involved in the conversation. This goes to show that AI is really working in the banking industry.

Customer support teams use Finn AI as the front line for delivering automated services and routing everyday tasks and queries. It’s aimed to help customers manage their own money anywhere via a natural conversation, and it's like every customer has a personal banker.

In the old days, a client would go to the bank or credit union and talk to someone to get things done. Well, now they do the same thing but through digital channels.

Finn AI replaced the financial branches with getting things done on a tiny screen.

Powering the AI

Although it is a rather intelligent system, the co-founders are extremely careful that the customer doesn’t receive a wrong answer. To avoid any wrongdoing, a team monitors the given responses to check if they comply. This is also a process used to find faults in the system and improve them.

With two registered trademarks and around 66% of site traffic in Canada alone, the company actively uses over 30 technology products like Google Analytics and HTML5.

Being already familiar with the fact that not much can be done without funds in any business venture, the co-founders set out to attract as many investors as possible, since they strongly believed in their product.

The total funding of this Vancouver-based company comes to $13.9 million collected over 4 rounds. Finn AI is supported and funded by 10 investors, with Flying Fish Partners, Yaletown Partners, BDC Capital Women in Technology, and 1843 Capital being the lead investors. Carrie Russel, a solution designer and business line leader, is Finn AI’s Executive Strategic Advisor.

Diversified Success

Being successful in the artificial intelligence industry is not easy, especially if one is a woman. Natalie Cartwright and many other women like her who have managed to fulfill their dreams of making it in this business are selflessly speaking out for diverse and inclusive companies.

Thanks to being raised in a family that supports efforts and success without minding the sex of the protagonist, Natalie is doing her fair share of empowering women to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves.

Natalie spent nearly 3 years volunteering at the IE Business School as a member of the IE International Women Board, encouraging women to tackle the man-dominated sphere of businesses, globally.

Where Is AI Taking Us?

Finn AI is a company with around 50 employees who work in a diverse environment in every aspect of the word. They are an excellent example of a balanced representation of gender, age, skills, and knowledge.

Improving the financial well-being of millions of people by 2025 is currently the primary company mission. Finn AI has a bright future ahead as several banks already use it in the US.

Thanks to standing tall among competitors like Zendesk, Intercom, and Birdeye, Finn AI managed to stay on top of the game and pave the way to success, bump-free.

Starting with basically no data to work with, Jack Tyler is now proud to say that they have a pretty large dataset and a system that continuously learns and grows.

AI in banking may have been a mystery several years ago, but new horizons are opening up with the Finn AI chatbot. There is always space for improvement, but everything is much more accessible by partnering up with the right company that understands the background work.

If Natalie and Jack continue to steer their AI starship in the right direction, we can only imagine the ways Finn AI will make the world simpler for all of us.