A major international stock exchange is putting some Ottawa-made artificial intelligence to the test.
SIX Group, a Switzerland-based financial services firm and stock exchange operator, announced recently it has signed Ottawa’s AuditMap.ai to a pilot project. The Swiss company will use the local firm’s tech to identify risks and controls from years of written audit reports.
Warren Butland, who co-founded the company with Matt Lemay and Daniel Shapiro, says the nine-person startup’s AI is meant to “augment the actual auditor” in scanning through reams of documents to identify gaps in a company’s risk portfolio. Equipped with a natural language processor, AuditMap’s software can read years of audit reports in a fraction of the time it would take a single set of human eyes.
In an industry such as banking, the ability to parse through a mountain of documentation and pluck out the most pressing threats is a clear value to prospective customers, Butland says.
“The banking industry is huge,” he says. “Pure risk, across the board, is monstrous.”
With SIX Group as an early reference customer after just one year in business, Butland hopes the fledgling Ottawa firm could start building an international reputation in the audit space.
“Using them as the key customer shows that we can go basically to the top-level, large corporation and have this product used,” he says.
So how does a fresh-faced Ottawa startup land a deal with a major Swiss fintech company? Butland traces the company’s promising start to an article AuditMap CTO Shapiro wrote more than a year ago. Shapiro, who earned his PhD in machine learning from the University of Ottawa, penned a piece about the impact AI can have on the audit space. Since then, the company’s early sales traffic has been entirely inbound.
Though it’s still early days for AuditMap, Butland compares his burgeoning startup to another Ottawa-based AI audit company: MindBridge Ai.
Led by Butland’s mentor of 25 years, Eli Fathi, MindBridge also got out of the gate with a powerful reference customer in the form of the Bank of England. The fast-growing Ottawa company entered a fintech accelerator run by the U.K. central bank in 2017 and recently made in-roads closer to home, signing a proof-of-concept deal with the Bank of Canada.
With MindBridge’s auditor aimed at the numbers side of fraud detection and AuditMap building its business in troves of dense documents, Butland believes Ottawa companies are demonstrating a specialty in the AI audit space.
AuditMap, a member of the Invest Ottawa accelerator program, is now looking to raise its first round of capital.