15 Nov 2016 17:08

Advanced machine learning ties together all channels

Ulf Lewander, Senior Investment Manager, SEB Venture Capital

SEB will invest 15 million Swedish kronor and take part ownership in Swedish technology company Now Interact. The company has, based on advanced machine learning, developed a platform to predict consumer need for advice and guidance in online channels. In this way, companies using the service can connect all channels and direct resources efficiently.

“We believe this technology has great potential to improve the customer experience and increase sales by connecting online and offline channels. The company has strong development potential, and the technology is highly relevant for us and our customers,” says Ulf Lewander, Senior Investment Manager within Venture Capital. Lewander will also join the Now Interact board.

As of one year ago, SEB's Venture Capital unit has had a clear focus on investing in high-tech companies with innovative solutions that may be relevant to the bank's digital transformation. Earlier this year, Venture Capital invested in Tink as well as in Danish company Coinify, which has developed a platform for blockchain payments.

This new investment is in a company working with machine learning to make advanced analyses and predictions on large amounts of data. For a couple years now, SEB has been using a simpler tool from Now Interact which is linked to the presentation of Enkla lånet on the SEB’s website.

The new tools which Now have developed are about "predictive intelligence", that is, on the basis of user data from digital channels, making predictions on which consumers are likely to make decisions if they get relevant advice and guidance.

The analysis also helps determine which consumers are likely to purchase directly without the need of support and which consumers are unlikely to purchase even with proactive support.

In this way, companies using the service can optimise their resources, both to increase the number of transactions and to be relevant to customers. The solution connects digital channels such as telephone customer service, and physical stores and offices.

Now Interact has 30 employees and a turnover of approximately 30 million Swedish kronor. The company is headquartered in Stockholm but has offices in the Netherlands and the UK, and will soon open in the US.

In addition to the investment from SEB, Finnish VC fund Inventure is also contributing to the new issuance with 15 million kronor, while Industrifonden is contributing 10 million kronor.