AI-powered platform Nod completes $750K capital raise

From

Joel Robbie

Nod, the artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing platform that generates documents in real-time for finance professionals, has raised $750,000 in capital in an oversubscribed funding round as the technology start-up now sets its sights on expansion.

Founded by CEO Joel Robbie and Adam Parker, Nod’s mission is to remove all barriers for financial professionals to spend face-to-face time with clients by providing a platform that takes over time-consuming administration tasks like document generation.

Key investors involved in its capital raising include ex-NAB group executive for wealth Steve Tucker, joint managing director of non-aligned wealth management platform provider netwealth, Matt Heine, and venture capital firm H2 Ventures.

Nod CEO and co-founder Joel Robbie said the capital raised demonstrated a firm belief in Nod’s AI technology and its ability to dramatically enhance the efficiency of financial advisory and accounting firms.

“Nod is an intelligent adjunct to a financial adviser or accountant’s daily toolkit. We’ve built a software platform that learns from a firm’s historical corpus of Statement of Advice documents. The underlying natural language processing and artificial intelligence technology is very scalable can be adapted to suit other industries and different types of documents,” Robbie said.

“Advisers today spend between 6 and 8 hours on producing a typical statement of advice that will set them back between $400 and $600 per document, which is incredibly costly and time-consuming.

“The ability to deliver it for a fraction of the cost, of between $29 and $49 and in real-time, improves the overall experience for financial professionals. It means they can spend the majority of their time in front of clients focusing on the delivery of great advice, and spending less time on the preparation of documents.”

Nod are currently delivering for the first customers that have signed up to use its platform, with over 50 firms expressing an interest in the software-as-a-service offering since the product’s launch in November.

Commenting on the raise, H2 Ventures founding partner Ben Heap said the firm had decided to invest in Nod given the start-up’s vision for democratising access to financial advice in Australia.

“Financial advisers and accountants have too many manual processes in their businesses today – they lack agility when it comes to serving customers and this becomes a really big problem when new fintech businesses come in with great customer experiences to offer. Financial professionals need to look at efficiency within their practices and document generation is a big part of that,” Heap said.

Tucker said Nod’s first mover advantage and focus on addressing the challenges and frustrations planners experience on a daily basis was a key factor behind his decision to invest in the proposition as well as its focus on growth over the next 12 months.

“Nod understands the need to create a solution that removes the inefficiencies that make the advice process so expensive. Having access to leading edge AI tech solutions, they’re well placed to get this right where others have failed,” Tucker said.

“The business potential is massive, both here and overseas. Access to advice is really important and by tackling the big barrier of cost of delivery, Nod has the chance to change the game.”

Netwealth joint managing director Matt Heine said the generation and management of compliance driven documentation continues to be a major pain point for the industry and Nod could save advice firms significant time, effort and expense.

Heine was buoyed by the growing proliferation of artificial intelligence solutions like Nod which could pull data from a range of sources, review documents and portfolio updates and had a broad range of other applications.

“What really excites me about Nod and their ability to rapidly produce advice documents is the AI engine which drives it. The Nod software learns how individual licensees or advice firms like to structure advice documents and the wording and style in which they are written,” Heine said.

“You can quickly and easily complete a client fact find and receive tailored advice almost instantly. This reduces friction, time and inertia from the entire onboarding experience, ultimately improving profitability and creating happy clients who don’t have to wait weeks for advice.”

Heap said another key aspect of Nod that had appealed to H2 Ventures was its scalability, with Nod’s founders looking to expand its artificial intelligence-powered platform into other compliance-driven industries such as legal services, education and enterprise sales.

“We think Nod is going to be a significant global business. We are only scratching the surface of what this platform can do and we see a vast array of use cases for its AI and natural language processing power that will help shape the way in which businesses interact with end users,” he said.

The funds will help Nod to continue to develop its core product offering, realise its ambitious growth plan and also evaluate expansion opportunities overseas and into other industry verticals.

“With Nod, we have built an intelligent and scalable piece of technology that can be deployed in a variety of new and compelling ways across different sectors – not just financial services,” Robbie said.

“Our vision for is for Nod is for it to become the platform of choice for businesses seeking an adaptive artificial intelligence solution that can keep pace with the mounting challenges of maintaining an agile, customer-facing business in the modern world.”

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