19 November 2019, LONDON – London-based Nexus FrontierTech, an AI solutions firm specialising in modernising data-intensive processes within the regulatory and compliance realm (RegTech), announced that it has closed a $3.8M seed round to propel its R&D and global expansion.
Nexus, founded in 2015, builds configurable, scalable AI and Intelligent Automation solutions to help businesses streamline operations and tackle the issues of inefficiency and data waste. The company also boasts a proprietary AI automation platform that enterprises can use to shorten the implementation cycle of production-level AI models from months to within hours.
The funding round was led by a family office based in Geneva, Switzerland, followed by a number of private investors, which include Nick Fry, former CEO of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1, Jennifer Lewis, former Managing Director of GIC, Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund, and Tom Yoritaka, former Managing Director of Cisco Global Ventures. A number of these investors are also on the firm’s Advisory Board and heavily involved in the company’s expansion and growth strategies.
The newly acquired funding will be used to amp up the company’s R&D capabilities, playing a key role in an aggressive global growth strategy to help companies accelerate digital transformation.
¨One of the major pain points any enterprise will face is the inefficient use of labour to manage repetitive, manual and error-prone processes that involve the extraction and checking of unstructured data,¨ explains CEO Danny Goh. ¨Through intelligent automation, we free up capacity so people can focus on the important tasks – dealing with anomalies, generating business insights and making decisions. With the support of our investors, we can now ramp up our efforts in reaching as many clients as we can.¨
With a strong track record deploying solutions for clients in the APAC region and having recently secured a 3-year contract with a UK-based global bank, Nexus has positioned itself as a RegTech-focused AI firm whose team is at the intersection of technology and business. With a foundation in serving financial institutions, Nexus has zoned in on the most pressing and costly challenges facing the industry today: compliance and business growth.
̈Our immediate goal is to bring our tested, enterprise-ready technology to as many clients as we can,̈ says Danny. ¨Having acquired actual implementation experience in deploying live AI systems, we know what our team is capable of. When it comes to compliance, we’re seeing the financial services industry move their focus away from merely meeting regulatory needs to aligning compliance with growth initiatives.¨
With investment secured, Nexus is more ready than ever to grow their footprint in the UK and US markets, and now tap into the immense business opportunities in Asia, with their eyes set on Singapore as a financial and technological hub.
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About Nexus FrontierTech
Nexus FrontierTech London-based AI solutions firm specialising in the transformation of data-intensive processes within the regulatory and compliance realm (RegTech) and is headquartered in the UK, where sales and operations are expanding, with a large production office of over 100 strong in Vietnam and a growing R&D team based out of Japan. Whilst industry agnostic, many clients are in the financial services space and are seeking to streamline their operations.
18 October, 2019, London, United Kingdom – Nexus FrontierTech and the UK Government’s Office of AI, acting under the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), have collaborated to spread insight into the power of artificial intelligence in both the private and public sectors.
On Friday the DCMS published a Nexus FrontierTech-produced case study on how a UK-based global bank used AI to enhance operational efficiency. This case study joins a collection the Office of AI has published to provide delivery teams ¨more specific guidance on the different considerations for projects with AI components,¨ drawing on best practice from both the commercial and public sectors.
The UK Government is currently ranked second globally in terms of AI readiness and in the top three countries globally in the development of AI technologies, putting the nation in prime position to leverage these advancements for economic growth.
20 September 2019 – Nexus FrontierTech’s UK-based team hosted the first of a series of Nexus-hosted AI seminars in Central London. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s seminar, ¨Beyond the Hype: How Banks Use AI to Drive Operational Efficiency¨ welcomed a group of over 30 banking and finance professionals looking to expand their knowledge on the ways artificial intelligence is transforming the banking industry.
Nexus CEO Danny Goh and Sales Director Hanizan Massod kicked off the session with an overview of AI’s impact on businesses’ digital transformation journey across the financial services industry, highlighting the benefits coming from the adoption and proper execution of AI in enterprise workflows and processes.
Attendees then took a deeper look into the biggest challenges banks face in this transformation, including on-demand access to data, cross-team collaboration and communication and visibility, as well as the ways intelligent automation can be leveraged to address these issues. A framework for preparing for and setting up an intelligent automation system was explored, allowing participants to visualize and compartmentalize the various elements needed to integrate a successful automation solution.
¨We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and enthusiasm of our attendees,¨ said CEO Danny Goh. ¨It’s no secret that the financial services industry isn’t just tuned into the potential of AI, organisations are already adopting deep tech into their day-to-day business. The problem, though, is knowing how to integrate this technology with the data sets they already have, the various stakeholders involved, and the resources needed for it all to come together and prove fruitful. That’s where we know we can be of some help. Having an open dialogue is where transformation begins.¨
Nexus Commercial Director Alice St. George later presented a Case Study to show attendees a real example of how Nexus used this framework to successfully transform the sales quality review process of a large global bank.
The session ended with an open Q&A session, and a cocktail for guests to network with their peers.
This seminar was the first of a string of Nexus-sponsored events and webinars whose aim is to address industry-specific problems that could be benefited by the use of intelligent automation technology.
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17 July 2019 – Nexus FrontierTech co-founders Danny Goh, Terence Tse, Ph.D and Mark Esposito, Ph.D sat down to talk about their newly released Amazon best-seller, The AI Republic: Building the Nexus Between Humans and Intelligent Automation with Author Hour’s Rae Williams.
In the 30-minute podcast the founders discussed many topics within the realm of artificial intelligence, including how AI should not be seem as an ¨all-seeing master, but a functional tool that must be combined with the intelligence we possess in order to be effective.¨
The three describe how their experiences owning and running a successful AI solutions company gave them the perfect background and experience to create something that could be used for training, academic work and events alike.
One of the main objectives in creating this piece of work, explains Terence, was to debunk popular myths about what AI can and cannot do.
¨A lot of people have different interpretations of what AI is and some people still think AI is Terminator stuff. That idea pushed us to look at writing a book that could help people understand what AI really is. In Europe, a lot of companies are still really struggling with how to put AI into their business operations and activities.¨
For CEO Danny Goh, the biggest reason for writing the book was to lessen the gap between the technology side of things and the business side of things.
¨I do realize that this technology is a big breakthrough in terms of what it can do to mankind. However, there is a big risk in what we can create in the lab and what is actually needed by the commercial world. We are not talking about tomorrow, we are really talking about how we can help the business world today to improve their operations, through how to help businesses run better, and how to create innovation.¨
But the book does not simply touch upon the fallacies of AI and its role in business. Chief Learning Officer Mark Esposito also commented on the government’s role in AI-adoption, and the importance of evolving education-styles in a future that’s bound to see prevalent use of this technology.
¨If you have a country that doesn’t have potential with this technology, it will be difficult for this country to attract investors to participate in trade. We see this as one of those make it or break it technologies that will not necessarily change everything overnight, but has the potential to be as disruptive as other inventions, such as the telephone or the internet.¨
When speaking on future generations he adds, ¨The idea is to create a different kind of human being capable of working with technology, without feeling that technology and people have to be a tradeoff. We like to imagine the symbio-intelligence, rather than having this idea that robots will take over.¨
To listen to the full podcast, click here.
Author Hour features enlightening conversations about books with the authors that wrote them. Each week, Author Hour shares ideas and stories from a new book, through an in-depth conversation with the author. They cover all types of non-fiction: business, fitness, investing, self-help, and more. Listeners will get an entertaining and useful summary of each book, in a fraction of the time.
Every week I interview entrepreneurs and experts from around the world to share their big idea about new forms of value creation and the potential we can unlock when technology augments the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact.
Untouched value opportunity
I was inspired by the big idea behind Nexus FrontierTech, hence I invited Co-founder and CEO Danny Goh to my podcast. We explored the enormous value opportunity that millions of organizations leave untouched around unstructured data simply because the ‘can’t manage it’. We also explored Danny’s vision on how the world is changing from an app-centric world into a skill-centric world and how that will influence the way we can create solutions going forward.
The thing that triggered me most from my interview with Danny:
¨The advantage that we give to them [our clients], is they’re one step ahead of their competitors.¨
Why did this trigger me? What’s the bigger value I see?
Far too often we create IT solutions that are about creating efficiencies and cost savings. And while that’s all good, in the end it’s only about creating incremental value. What I admire in Nexus’ approach is they start with the outcome in mind and find ways to utilize the latest technologies to create competitive advantages for their customers. It’s the reflection of how the combination of technology and people can deliver value far beyond the expected. That’s where shifts in value are created. That’s enabling their customers get ahead of other players in the market.
What’s the bigger question / opportunity that is being raised?
It’s the question: ‘What’s stopping us from delivering more competitive advantage?’ From what I see around me a lot starts with mindset. It’s asking the simple question: ‘why’ more often. ‘Why does a mortgage process at a bank take weeks, sometimes months? Why can’t this be done in days?’ ‘Why is an M&A process occupying so many consultants for months?’ ‘Why do people need to drive certain processes forward?’ And ‘Why aren’t we utilizing the creative gifts of people so little in everyday situations?’
Too often we settle with making significant adjustments that effectively do nothing more than allowing people to do more of the things they’re not meant to be doing in the first place. Why not think different and invest in ‘skills’ upgrades that make people do better (rather than just ‘more’) and deliver value unimaginable before. That’s where today’s technology can have its greatest impact. We just need to start thinking this way.
Listen to the big idea behind Nexus FrontierTech, and why it has the potential to transform the competitive powers of virtually any organization.
Based in Geneva and Boston, Mark is a socio-economic strategist researching MegaTrends, business model innovations and competitiveness. He is the co-author of the bestseller Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using Drive to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends. He has advised and consulted cities, governments and UN agencies at the interface between business, technology and government.
What sparked your interest in AI and lead you to co-found Nexus FrontierTech?
I have always found technology a Pandora’s Box rather than a panacea and most of my own thinking came from my lack of understanding. With the book on Megatrends with Terence Tse, PhD, a whole new world opened up to me and although I am far from being an expert or even a connoisseur, my appreciation for technology has become a common trait in all of my teaching and researching activities, as well as in my work consulting to governments and government leaders.
Where do you see the state of AI at this moment in time? Is it something that’s REALLY being implemented? Is it all talk, no walk?
I think it depends greatly on where we look. I am a macro guy and I’ll provide you with a macro answer. There are still tons of countries that are far from even devising a proper AI strategy, with the exception of the usual few. So I see AI being a crossroad in terms of social and public awareness, with more and more people discussing it, but still uncertain on the steps to follow. I see this as a big awakening without much action still…but without a doubt, the overall compass of the conversation on AI has shifted to a much larger group of stakeholders.
With so many tech companies claiming to work wonders for businesses, both established and startup, what differentiates Nexus from the rest?
I truly think that our culture is our true differentiator. Coders are coders and AI scientists are AI scientists. But what characterises us is this unique blend of cultures and diversity that make working at Nexus the real contribution. Even among the founders, the five of us could not be more diverse from each other. Still, this has not prevented us from creating a culture of respect and cohesion. We are so comfortable being who we really are that we never fear being candid and transparent, so clearly red tape is not something we know about.
Then of course there is the technology and the fact that I think we are advanced and have winning ideas that need to permeate the market, but again, ¨culture eats strategy for breakfast¨ is what Peter Drucker used to say and I can’t agree more.
You have partnerships with various higher education institutions. What value does that bring to Nexus?
The most immediate value is that we can tap on a pool of talent that is high end. From Harvard, Cambridge, IE, Hult, etc. We can truly recruit on a global scale. Second to this, these institutions can always offer leads to us that we may be able to convert into value. It is also an important aspect of reassurance for our investors.
What is a common misconception that business owners/leaders have about AI?
That we can work on any possible project. The truth is that capabilities are factors we can’t ignore and often between what the market may want and what we may be able to do, there must be an organisational alignment effort. Nexus is usually capable of this, but in many people’s heads things happen quicker than in real circumstances and we need to set realistic expectations.
As Chief Learning Officer of Nexus, what is your role in the growth of the business? What is your biggest contribution?
My role is a hybrid of many things, mainly carved and designed around my bread and butter. So there is a bit of lobbying, lots of research through publications that I curate on a very small scale but which has exposed some of the members of our community to larger platforms. And then there is training, a sourcing of applicants, etc. It’s not an easy role to define but hopefully a support role to many others in more operational roles.
What does ¨unlocking the power of AI¨ mean to you?
Working at Nexus is a good way to put this question into context. It rewrites the conversation on work and contribution to society and it provides us with time horizons we had never thought of.
Where do you see Nexus in 10 years time?
It is likely that the company may evolve into a classic exit strategy such as IPO or M/A, and if that ever happens, Nexus will move to its next normal phase of evolution. Regardless of my own thoughts, my hope is that Nexus will still be a guarantor of openness, transparency and care, even if we are a tech company.
Terence is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nexus FrontierTech and Associate Professor of Finance at the London campus of ESCP Europe Business School. Terence is also co-author of the book ¨Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using DRIVE to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends¨. The framework was nominated for the CK Prahalad Breakthrough Idea Award by Thinkers50, the most prestigious award in business thought leadership. The DRIVE framework has also led Chartered Management Institute’s own magazine Professional Manager in the UK to name Terence as one of the 18 new voices in 2018 that reshape management and leadership. Talent Quarterly in the US called the DRIVE framework one of the 24 trends transforming talent management in the years to come.
You have a strong background in higher education, having worked in various roles at top universities such as Cambridge Judge Business School and ESPC Europe. What was the idea behind co-founding an AI startup? Have you always been interested in tech and startups?
Like many things in our lives, co-founding Nexus was the result of coincidence. After I wrote the book “Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using Drive to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends” with Mark Exposito, I started to really appreciate what technologies can do and how they have embedded in our lives and are driving the future. A very strong interest in the latest technologies was developing. So, when Danny read an article I co-wrote with Mark on AI, he asked me to meet up as he was starting an outfit based on this technology in the UK. The result was Nexus FrontierTech.
What do you consider the biggest misconceptions both businesses and the general public have about AI?
Lots of people still don’t know what AI is truly capable of. At the moment, it cannot even identify whether the image it is looking at is a dog or a cat. All it can do is to try to figure out whether it’s a dog or not a dog. If what it can achieve is limited, it is for sure not what many media outlets portray it to be. Understanding this is a good start. Another misconception we see in businesses from our experience gained at Nexus FrontierTech, is that often the most difficult part of putting AI into operation is not the development of AI but rather customising it for the IT system of clients. There are quite a number of AI applications/product vendors out there in the market. But off-the-shelf solutions as such is not easy – and most of the time fail – to meet exactly what the clients are aiming to achieve.
AI is considered a buzzword by many. Do you think it’s merited?
Yes. It is a buzzword. But for the wrong reason. It is a common term that people tend to use to describe machines doing human work. But ultimately, there is no intelligence in AI. This is because intelligence implies creativity, problem solving, empathy, to name of few. And machines can do none of them. I personally prefer to use terms like natural language processing or image recognition. These terms are more precise in describing what machines can do, unlike an all-encompassing term like AI which can describe everything and nothing at the same time.
What are the biggest challenges AI firms are facing when proposing business solutions to potential clients?
It is often taking the first step. While some companies have never tried and don’t know that much about AI, they are reluctant to put the technology to use. Not to mention that for AI to fulfil its potential, it has to be customised. This often involves a great deal of work. Other times, we have also seen companies trying to deploy AI. Yet, they have spoken to the wrong vendors and the result is that they put the money in but are not getting the value out or the vendor could only go only as far as a proof of concept. Consequently, they become disappointed and take a more cautious approach when trying to deploy AI again. Needless to say, they should have talked to Nexus FrontierTech first to avoid such disappointments!
You have co-authored another book, ¨The AI Republic: Building the Nexus Between Humans and Intelligent Automation¨, alongside Nexus CEO Danny Goh and Chief Learning Officer Mark Esposito, PhD. Can you give some insight into what you touch upon and its connection to Nexus’ current mission of democratising AI?
We would like to demystify AI, fleshing out what it can and cannot really do. We also discuss how modern AI has gotten to where it is and explain some of the technical sides of the technology. Since AI has will have a huge impact on our world in the future, the book will also cover some ethical concerns of this technology.
Nexus’ wants to democratise AI. What does this mean to you?
I am going to use an analogy that Danny has used. Remember those days when we were first introduced to the Internet? Way back then, if you were to put a website together, you would have to do a great deal of programming. This was restricted to those who had the skills and equipment to do. These days, building a website requires very little programming knowledge because we can now drag and drop using specific applications. When we say our we want to democratise AI, what we want to do is offer an application. We hope that our Podder.ai platform will enable individual researchers/engineers to easily build AI products for their clients and make it easy for clients to accept and integrate 3rd party vendors’ AI offerings.
HANOI – 1st April 2019 – IT Viec, a leading job site in Vietnam specialising in matching IT jobs with highly qualified candidates, has just named Nexus FrontierTech the #7 Best IT Company in Vietnam for 2019.
Nexus joins the ranks of companies such as business accelerator NFQ Asia, Absolute Software Corporation, and ZALORA Group, the South Pacific’s leading online fashion destination.
The list, consisting of 15 of the country’s most ambitious and worker-friendly IT companies, was released last Thursday, 28th March. Every year the online job site gathers over 8,000 reviews from both current and former employees to assess satisfaction and recommendation rates for each company. Top-ranked companies typically boast high ratings for compensation and benefits packages, work and office environment, work-life balance, and professional development, among other things.
Nexus had an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5, with 93% of reviewers recommending the AI solutions company as a place to work. Comments from reviewers mentioned a ¨dynamic and comfortable environment with ability to work remotely, a ¨management team with good expertise and experience,¨ and many opportunities for non senior-level employees to learn and develop.
¨We always try to create an environment that feels like a second home to our members, one where you’ll actually enjoy coming to work everyday,¨ says Hayley Nguyen, Country Director at Nexus FrontierTech. ¨We want our team to feel safe when sharing their opinions, and we honour ownership and transparency at our core.¨
To see the full list of winners, visit www.itviec.com
For more information on job opportunities with Nexus, visit www.nexusfrontier.tech/careers