GGV Capital US backs Arteria AI’s digital makeover for financial document creation

GGV Capital US backs Arteria AI’s digital makeover for financial document creation

Data makes the world go ’round, but only if you can get what you need and know how to put it to good use. With about 90% of enterprise data unstructured, and organizations using about less than 1% of that data to make decisions, it’s clear that enterprises have a giant unstructured data problem.

Meet Arteria AI, a company taking a data-first approach to all that unstructured data, focusing on contracts for institutional finance.

Prior to starting Arteria AI, co-founders Shelby Austin, Abrar Huq and Jonathan Wong worked together at Deloitte Canada, where they ran data, analytics and AI. Austin, who has a legal background as well, told TechCrunch that manually looking through hundreds of pages of documentation to find one key piece of data is not a new problem. However, the technology has only recently become sophisticated enough to solve it.

“Our big idea was how to revolutionize the financial services industry, which has hundreds of trillions under assets, and is going to spend about $20 trillion on their tech transformation,” CEO Austin said. “We looked at how you use things, like AI, to attack this massive problem for large-scale enterprise. In our case, we were particularly captivated by banking because despite the fact that these are large, complicated, beautiful organizations, so much requires real functional expertise in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish.”

How it works

The Toronto-based company put together a team of subject-matter experts, technologists, scientists and lawyers and launched in 2020. It’s building a data-first approach to modern documentation infrastructure. Arteria AI is targeting global financial institutions and how they can transform manual processes at scale.

Simply put, the company’s platform structures data at the time a contract is drafted. As documentation is added, an intelligent workflow helps speed up approvals, negotiations and decision-making. Meanwhile, an insights layer provides a look at, for example, any bottlenecks in the process, how many edits were made to a particular section or how the process could be smoother for the next contract.

This past year was a time of “huge customer acquisition growth” for Arteria AI, according to Austin. The company brought in some of its biggest financial institution customers, including Goldman Sachs and Citi. As a result, the company tripled its recurring revenue during the same period, Austin said.

It now announces a $30 million Series B financing round led by GGV Capital U.S., with participation from all existing major investors, including Illuminate Financial, Information Venture Partners, BDC Capital and Citi. This brings Arteria AI’s total funding to $50 million to date.

Solving for unstructured data

Chelcie Taylor, investor at GGV, said in an interview that Arteria AI’s focus on banking and financial institutions is tackling the unstructured data problem in a different way from other players in the space, which traditionally do it through a legal function.

“Arteria realizes that while the legal function is critical, there’s also these other business units which include asset management deals in trading, derivatives and commodities, those that have not had the opportunity to understand and utilize their data in a robust and digital-first way,” Taylor said.

In addition, the company is “leveraging AI in a really effective way,” Taylor said.

“In some of these contracts, particularly in trading for example, there can be a dollar amount that is in a tiny corner, on the left-hand page of the 92nd page, but it’s the most important and critical piece of information,” she added. “Traditionally, that would be in a human’s job to go through and double-check that. Arteria’s AI technology can immediately identify and say this is a priority piece of information.”

Staying nimble

Meanwhile, the company plans to use the funds for additional go-to-market activities and AI technology development in financial services. Arteria AI continues to be nimble with less than 100 employees; however, Austin said plans are to double headcount this year.

Some of that has already happened among the leadership: Within the past four months, Arteria AI brought in John Wallace as chief financial officer, Bailey Dougherty as global head of professional services and Larry Lawrence and Donna Mansfield to lead growth.

“We’re also investing in research to ensure that we’re creating highly relevant models for our customers,” Austin said. “We’re starting to see that we’re being pulled across the whole bank. Once people understand what we do, and how we can make an impact from a functional perspective, they want more, they want more.”

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