Banco de Sabadell SA

06/12/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/12/2019 09:52

InnoCells backs the startup Active.Ai with a Series A follow-on

  • The corporate venturing and innovation vehicle of Banco Sabadell is supporting an artificial intelligence startup that promises to have a huge impact going forward, as a rapidly growing technology that is set to become one of the most important innovations for the future of financial services.
  • The Singapore-based startup Active.Ai has developed a conversational artificial intelligence platform for the financial sector, which can be linked to digital interfaces, such as Alexa, Google Home, and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype.
  • The banking industry is expected to invest around five billion euros in this technology this year alone, which will enable new trends and business models to be identified that focus on personalising banks' service and product offering and improving customers' experience.

InnoCells, the innovation hub and corporate venturing vehicle of Banco Sabadell, has participated in a $3M Series A follow-on for the Singapore-based startup Active.Ai, together with investors such as Kalaari Capital, Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) and Vertex Ventures.

Active.Ai has developed a conversational AI platform for the financial sector using cognitive technology with its conversational driver, Triniti.ai, to understand complex contexts and conversations and provide intelligent responses through natural dialogues. 'Banking as a service' is a solution that can be linked to digital interfaces such as Alexa and Google Home, and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Skype.

The Singapore-based startup has consolidated its activity by rolling out its platform to major financial institutions, allowing it to claim a place as the leader in the Asian market and to successfully expand into markets like the United States.

The company has also developed specific use cases for the financial industry − commercial and corporate banking, insurance and capital markets − ranging from customer support and information, transaction execution, and even predictions of future requirements, including invoicing, transfers, claims management and shares trading.

This new investment will allow Banco Sabadell to streamline its cost structures by automating tasks, such as user queries, and designing interfaces that improve customers' engagement.

Ravishankar, CEO and co-Founder of Active.Ai, highlighted that: 'Digital customer engagement is going through a transformational shift globally with AI enabled interfaces, driving engaging, predictive and contextual conversations with customers. Active.Ai is privileged to partner with Banco Sabadell and InnoCells' teams to bring an intuitive and engaging digital experience to their customers. We are pleased to have the backing of a bank with great history and a leading position in European banking'.

Julio Martínez, Executive Director of InnoCells, emphasised that: 'Active.Ai offers a business solution based on conversational artificial intelligence, which will have a profound impact on the future of the financial sector'. He also added: 'Our investment in Active.Ai will take us one step closer to applying this technology in practice, which is difficult given the high level of vertical specialisation that is required, and will allow us to implement solutions that strengthen Banco Sabadell's commitment to customer experience'.

InnoCells, strategic investments vehicle

InnoCells carries out strategic digital and technological investments which bring Banco Sabadell closer to new technology, talent and knowledge. In particular, InnoCells carries out direct retail investments and acquisitions, with the objective of moving closer to new business models and core capacities with a faster time-to-market, as well as investments in third party funds.

In 2017, InnoCells co-led a 1.5 million pounds seed capital investment in the UK platform, Bud, with a subsequent follow-on round in January 2019 of 20 million dollars.

In 2018, the hub led a seed-stage capital investment round of one million euros in the voice biometrics startup Biometric Vox, and took part in a round of circa 5.7 million euros in the Mexican payment startup UnDosTres. It also participated with 5 million euros in the capital of Antai Venture Builder, and invested 7.5 million euros and 10 million dollars in the Spanish-Israeli fund Cardumen Capital and in the US fund Base10, respectively.

InnoCells also acquired Instant Credit, a Spanish startup which offers instant funding at any physical or digital point of sale, and the online payment platform PAYCOMET, the solutions provided by which have been included in Banco Sabadell Group's offering.

About Banco Sabadell, startups and innovation

Banco Sabadell's overall support strategy for startups includes funding, capital investment and innovation from different divisions of the institution. BStartup was created in 2013, with specialised branches located throughout Spain, allowing startups to access specialised banking services and funding. In the same year, it created its investment vehicle, BStartup10, for early-stage startups. In 2015, it set up Sabadell Venture Capital for investments in capital and venture debt of up to 2 million euros in seed-stage and Series A-stage startups. InnoCells, the bank's innovation hub and corporate venture arm, was created in 2017. Banco Sabadell has invested over 200 million euros in startups. Currently, over 3,000 of its customers are startups and it has invested in a total of 68 startups.