Artificial intelligence may be all the craze in Silicon Valley, but on Wall Street, well, there’s a lot of skepticism.

High-powered algorithms are not a new phenomenon in finance, and for this industry, the name of the game is efficiency and precision.

Quite frankly, finance executives want systems that, in one way or another, make money. Because of this, new wild and flashy AI systems that just make something “smart” won’t fly.


The fintech companies that are successfully leveraging AI today are the ones that have found a very concrete way to apply the technology to an existing business problem. For example, technology such as specialized hardware, big data analytics, and machine learning algorithms are being used in fintech to augment tasks that people already perform.

At the Singularity University Exponential Finance Summit this week, Neil Jacobstein, faculty chair of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at SU, shared some of the most interesting AI companies in fintech right now.

Not surprisingly, these companies each have a clear market application and reduce friction in the business problems they address.

Investing

Numerai

Numerai is a new kind of hedge fund that is built by crowdsourcing knowledge through a massive network of hedge funds—the system collects hundreds of thousands of financial models and individual predictions. With this information, Numerai is building their own financial models that incorporate the algorithms submitted through the crowdsourced community. Numerai has already secured funding from First Round Capital and Union Square Ventures, which is no small feat.

Market Research

AlphaSense

In 2010, AlphaSense launched it’s intelligent search engine, which uses AI, natural language processing algorithms, and advanced linguistic search tools to provide researchers with critical insights with serious accuracy and speed. Financial analysts can pose questions to AlphaSense’s systems and get insights that are significantly more customized and accurate than a simple Google search would provide. It’s a great example of an AI augmenting a critical task in finance: research.

Predictive Analytics

Opera

Opera is helping companies turn their big data into predictive insights and business intelligence. The company uses pattern recognition to identify what they call “signals,” meaning actionable insights from data. Their signals help researchers understand conditions that may be happening in the market, or the world at large, so they can act quickly on these changes.

Accounting

AppZen

AppZen is a very practical solution to one of every executive’s most arduous tasks—submitting expense reports. The system uses AI to audit 100 percent of employee expenses and then generates an expense report in real time. Automating this process saves companies hours of lost productivity. AppZen also gives companies more confidence in their ability to flag suspicious charges. So, if you’ve been considering expensing that pricey “night out with clients,” don’t, because AppZen will likely flag it.

Collections

collectAI

collectAI is a cloud-based software system that’s shaking up the collection business. collectAI uses a self-learning algorithm to learn about the case, and then pulls knowledge from previous successful cases and applies those insights to decide how to best approach the situation at hand. The system gets better and better over time, which is pretty incredible.

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Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).

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