Startup helps reduce cost of discovering bias in AI, democratising access for firms of all sizes to resources needed to deploy AI fairly
ETIQ, a startup that helps financial companies identify and eliminate bias within their algorithms, has raised £585,000 in pre-seed funding. The funding includes equity investment from SFC Capital and grants from Innovate UK, and will be used for R&D to improve the platform as well as to expand the company’s marketing and sales functions.
Developed by entrepreneur Iris Anson and data scientist Raluca Crisan after participating in the Zinc VC accelerator programme, ETIQ’s platform analyses the data and models used by a company, identifying potential bias issues and applying fixes to help mitigate that bias. This enables financial firms to better answer difficult questions relating to bias and the “black box” nature of algorithms used to make decisions about everything from credit decisions to investment strategies.
The ETIQ platform is cloud-based, eliminating expensive installation costs and simplifying scaling, and relies on its own machine learning, making it affordable for even smaller firms – for whom the expensive consultants and data scientists typically required to address algorithmic bias are generally out of reach – to benefit from its impact and improve their operations.
Speaking about the challenge of making AI-powered decision-making truly objective and fair, Iris Anson, co-founder of ETIQ, said:
“Machine learning is more and more integral to products and services we use every day – and to decisions that businesses and governments make about us – but without a widely-accessible way of identifying and eliminating bias, it could cause significant damage to our society by further entrenching discriminatory decision-making despite our best intentions and without us even realising.”
ETIQ has already gained impressive traction, securing a partnership with SIA Technology, a market leader for the design, creation and management of technology infrastructure for financial institutions around the globe. On the completion of the funding round, Anson added: “We are delighted to have secured this investment. It will allow us to accelerate the development of our product and hire some key staff to help our expansion as we aim to tackle this enormous challenge for society.”
Rohallah Ghasemi, Investment Executive at SFC Capital, said:
“The ETIQ team really impressed us with their idea. Machine learning is becoming more and more crucial across all industries, and we need the right tools to ensure that it is developed and deployed correctly. ETIQ has already gained good traction in the market, and we look forward to seeing how they develop.”
Notes to editor
About ETIQ AI
ETIQ, founded in 2019, is a startup developing the first ever easy to implement software solution to enable businesses to identify and mitigate biases, which are inherent within all automated decision making models. Its product comprises algorithms that assess how robust the models employed by its business clients are, based on a deep understanding of the factors which constitute best practice definitions of fairness and accuracy. Its analysis, testing and modelling process is then able to provide uniquely practical solutions to mitigate the biases identified, resulting in greater market opportunities, and decreased compliance and reputational risk for financial companies. Its clients are a range of financial companies which are under increasing regulatory pressure to use models that make fair decisions, under competitive pressure to leverage the best returns from their customer data, and increasingly using algorithmic decision making.