A COMPANY that has built an AI solution to make debt management less stressful has secured £500,000 in angel investment. The funds will drive the company's expansion into the wider financial services sector.

By using inicio.ai's platform, consumers can easily determine their detailed affordability position online, allowing the companies or organisations to which they owe money to assist in establishing repayment arrangements.

This streamlined process replaces the traditional method of lengthy and unpleasant telephone calls, providing a more pleasant experience for both parties involved.

Rachel Curtis, Chief Executive and co-founder of Inicio.AI, acknowledges that while there is a preference for human interaction in certain tasks, the shame associated with struggling to make repayments creates a significant barrier in the debt management market.

“I think the latest figures are that one in eight of those who are behind on a household bill are now attempting suicide because they just can’t face speaking to an agent at a company they owe money to [and] go through detailed expenditure to work out what they can afford to pay," she said. "We became aware of that challenge and thought that was a really good case for when giving somebody a virtual agent is better than giving them a human being."

In Scotland, inicio.ai currently works with Glasgow-based Pastdue Credit Solutions and Life Link, a mental health and wellbeing charity.

“We’ve started in the debt space but ultimately what we have is a detailed affordability assessment," Ms Curtis said. "What’s become really obvious is there’s loads of applications for what we are doing, so we have already spoken to wealth management companies because they need to get affordability assessments.

"You’ve also got new lending cases, and you’ve even got property tenant onboarding because again you need to do an affordability assessment, so it’s kind of grown arms and legs around the other use cases.”

Established in April 2020 and launched later that year, inicio.ai recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator, where it earned the title of the 2023 program winner. With a current workforce of six, the company is chaired by former Virgin Money chief information officer James McGlynn, and James Holroyd, ex-chief operating officer of Modulr in Edinburgh, recently joined as an advisor.

This successful funding round marks inicio.ai's second, the other also raising £500,000. The company is now actively seeking to raise an additional £500,000 in the coming months. Scottish commercial law firm Davidson Chalmers Stewart provided advisory services for this latest investment round, and the allocated funds will be used to hire additional staff members and acquire new clients.