by Tyler Hale
Fintech has become one of the fast-growing segments in the technology marketplace at the state, national and global levels. These companies are changing the way people bank – turning the word “bank” from a noun to a verb.
This year, the inaugural Finovate Awards are being held to honor these game-changers. One Arkansas company is among the nominees for the first-ever awards.
BOND.AI, a Little Rock-based human-centered artificial intelligence company, is among the finalists in the Finovate Awards’ “Best Use of AI/ML” category. This category recognizes fintech companies that utilize artificial intelligence and/or machine learning in the financial services/banking industry.
One of nine nominees in the “Best Use of AI/ML,” BOND.AI is competing in the largest category bracket in the awards show. The other nominees in the “Best Use of AI/ML” category include BMO, Ocrolus, Oportun Inc., Kount, Neener Analytics, CredoLab Pte Ltd., Capital One and AI Foundry.
BOND.AI founder and CEO Uday Akkaraju draws a line between BOND.AI and the other competitiors, saying that while many companies are focused on banks, BOND.AI is customer-facing.
“So what we are doing and what everybody else is doing is totally different. Everybody knows generally what banks today are doing is focusing more on efficiency and focusing on employee processes, right? So I think we are really, really focusing on the consumer. So we call ourselves the human center,” Akkaraju says.
Jared Landrum, BOND.AI vice president for business development, echoes this key difference. Both Landrum and Akkaraju tout BOND.AI as being the “human center” for the fintech space.
“That is something that we really appreciate – the niche, the category we’re in. We want people to also think of us as the human center and the, the company that’s there to help them,” Landrum says.
The company’s signature innovation is creating an “empathy machine for finance” that can understand its user by analyzing financial data and extracting behavioral attributes and habits form the data in order to create personalized financial interaction. The platform is able to converse with users and incorporate non-financial data to optimize users’ finances.
“This intelligence is designed to help me think differently,” Akkaraju says.“It’s all about the personalization of my finances.”
Akkaraju and BOND.AI came to Arkansas for the Venture Center’ssecond FIS Fintech Accelerator in 2017. While Akkaraju comes from the technology sector, not the banking industry, the accelerator helped realign the company. The accelerator, he says, provided access and validation for BOND.
Since those early days, BOND.AI has steadily grown. “What we’re trying to do is we are trying to be very proactive and not reactive,” Akkaraju says
The BOND.AI team is waiting to learn the results of the Finovate Awards, which is being held Sept. 24 in New York City.
BOND is not the only Arkansas company represented at the Finovate Awards. The Venture Center has also been nominated in the “Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator” category.