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Supplements » FundTech Autumn 2020

Fintech focus: Terms of engagement

Samir_ParekhSAMIR PAREKH, CEO AND FOUNDER, THINKSENSE.AI

ThinkSense.AI uses robotic process automation (RPA) and AI to create a virtual workforce working 24/7 on back and middle-office processes.

The company was launched by Samir Parekh in 2017. It now has a team of 20 developers based around the globe plus a number of sales and support staff. It has 15 SMEs and ten enterprises as clients, mostly from the finance sector. ThinkSense.AI also has an investor services client but as yet does not work directly with a fund manager.

“We start with process mining, which allows them to identify repetitive processes, then calculate a cost/benefit analysis of applying automation and then implementation,” says Parekh. “The cost benefit is tailor-made for each client. We use computer vision agents on their desktops to observe processes and examples of repetitive work patterns.”

Who is the product aimed at?
Enterprises who want to reduce their operating costs without sacrificing anything in service delivery or performance. Normally there is a side-effect, but this is an easy way to deliver the same or an enhanced service.

How might the product work within the funds industry?
In asset management, they already know what activities have little value because they have outsourced them. But if the business was that happy with outsourcing, they would have outsourced more. This is a way of bringing things back in-house to get greater control and visibility but without the extra cost and with the ability to scale.

We have not worked directly with a fund manager, but I know for sure there are considerable tasks that can be automated. For example, position reconciliations happen at the same time every day and they require precision, timeliness and manual overheads. Often they are waiting on underlying assets and funds to calculate the exposure but these reports are not published at the same time, so the process is not systematic.

Have you worked with any accelerator programmes or investor-led projects?
Up till now we have been self-funded, but we are looking to embark on Series A funding. We are also working with Societe Generale Securities Services after we were invited on to its accelerator programme and were introduced to different parts of the bank.

What has been the impact of Covid 19?
Good and bad. We’ve seen a big spike in interest in automation but have not been able to have as many meetings. Our sales team has still done a great job arranging virtual meetings, but we could have done a lot more if we could be in the field.

When the pandemic disruption ends, we need to have more conferences. People previously used to balance networking with innovation. In lockdown, they have had more time to focus on the business but not necessarily the ability to innovate. But I am extremely optimistic that there will be a healthy pipeline of prospects when things return to normal.

What advice would you have for start-ups?
You have to be ready to demonstrate the value of your product in the first 30 seconds. It is cut-throat. It requires a certain professional demeanour but you also have to be clear and unambiguous. You also have to be innovative and dare to think out of the box.

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