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Real intelligence – the brainy tech that reads like a human
The next chapter in the AI-assisted technology saga is here – and Uhura Solutions’ Djuro Stojanovic is the techmaster-in-chief
Artificial Intelligence. No, it’s not the start of the robot revolution – it’s a tool that could jumpstart innovation and launch banking into a bold new future. That’s why we continue to support London- based 2018 Barclays Rise Accelerator alumnus Uhura Solutions on their mission to make manual data processing quick and easy.
Their platform brings AI automation into business with smart, document-processing technology. Kiss goodbye to the days of manually processing documents for hours on end – Uhura platform’s intelligent ‘cognitive analysis’ document-reading process emulates the methods that our own brains use to process information. Coupled with the superior processing power of a computer, it offers unrivalled automation capabilities and can shorten document processing time from hours to minutes.
Q&A with Djuro Stojanovic
“We provide an AI platform that reads and understands contracts and agreements just as humans do,” explains CEO and Founder, Djuro Stojanovic. Alongside fellow founders Blazo Crvenica, Bojan Tesic, and Mladen Markovic, who all graduated with first-class degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Djuro founded the company in 2017 in Montenegro, then moved the business to Tel Aviv and took part in the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
“For years, we worked in different international corporations, including banks, and kept saying that the way documents are processed is completely out of touch – not only from the customer’s point of view, but also from an internal perspective. That’s when we decided to do something about it.”
The AI up-RISE-ing
Having graduated from the Accelerator programme, Uhura are now situated in the Rise offices in London and Djuro explains that they feel valued as members of the Rise community.
“I’m proud of having Barclays and Techstars as partners, but especially being recognised by Barclays as a startup that would be a good match for their business” he says. “We had huge support from almost every department. There were so many people who helped us, not just from those who worked on the Accelerator.”
“Even now, after the programme has finished, we’re still talking with the technical experts about how we can implement our AI technologies,” explains Djuro.
Through discussions with Barclays lending operations, Djuro hopes to use Uhura tech to speed up the processes within their department: “Montenegro only has half a million citizens, so the fact that one of the largest banks in the UK is considering working with us, coming from a small market in a small country... that’s a huge accomplishment.”
Inside the mind of the machine
Uhura’s success is powered by in its dynamic AI platform. Its document-processing tech relies on two cutting-edge AI technologies to power its platform; image processing and natural language processing.
“Language is structured – particularly the English Language – which allows the AI to determine patterns pretty quickly,” says Djuro. “Our unique way of integration based on image processing and natural language processing is one of our software’s main advantages. Natural language processing can read a document, even if there are mistakes or missing words in the sentence.
“That’s why the software doesn’t even need a crystal-clear scan to understand a document perfectly. All it needs is part of a missing sentence or word, and our AI can read and understand the meaning because it’s trained to act like a human.”
The best for the best
According to Djuro, London is turning into the trade-capital of the world: “It’s this huge market with a lot of opportunity. We’re using our software with financial services initially, because they span a large market and there’s a huge potential for speeding up all types of document processing.”
And with over 500,000 finance and insurance businesses in London as of 2017*, that’s a lot of people who could benefit from the not-so- secret-spice that Uhura’s AI brings to the office.
“Our ambition, first of all, is to develop the solution for the commercial market,” he says. “We’re focusing on replacing the manual parts of processing with automated AI and from there, showing companies and financial institutions how much it speeds up the whole process – not only of reviewing documents, but also for making faster, more informed decisions.”
For Barclays, this means that tasks that rely on human effort – and carry the risk of human error – can be automated with machine-precision. Uhura’s automation process allows banks to direct fewer resources to reviewing and processing documents, and more resources towards solving or improving specific issues that require that ‘human’ touch.
It’s no coincidence that ‘Uhura’ translates into ‘freedom’ – their technology certainly liberates workers from tedious tasks. And for customers dealing with time-consuming mortgages or loans, it also means that everything is moving faster.
“We’re not just thinking about the banks,” says Djuro. “It’s also about the end customer. When the process is moving faster, it means less time wasted and everyone is happier.”
Who is your business icon?
“Robert Noyce. He was an amazing combination of scientist and businessman – he invented the integrated circuit back in the late 50s, and after that he started the company Intel. I’m coming from a similar background – I have a PhD in a similar profession and also worked in academia for some time. I admire how he moved from academia to business so successfully.”
What’s your advice for other FinTechs?
“You need to believe in yourself. That may be the most important thing. And whatever success you have, you deserve it. It’s simple – you need to be confident in yourself and your team, and everything else will follow.”
* Source: City of London
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