The influence of AI in our day-to-day activities is becoming more apparent. For Solon Angel, founder of MindBridge, we’re living in “a bit of an Internet moment.”
“We’ve all been waiting for that undisputed moment where everyone is saying, ‘Okay, this tech is transformative,’” Angel said in a sit-down interview with BetaKit at SAAS NORTH 2023.
“We could be creating incredible progress really, really fast, if we allow ourselves to do so.”
MindBridge has been an early mover in the AI space. Founded in 2015, the startup uses AI to help auditors spot fraud and accounting anomalies, catering to the accounting, advisory, enterprise, government, and finance sectors.
What’s the common thread among these sectors? They are all known for heavy regulation, bureaucratic processes, and a general slowness in adopting new innovations. The introduction of AI into these tightly controlled areas is a source of concern for some, yet this is where Angel sees major potential for the technology.
When it comes to industries with existing infrastructure, standards, and regulations, businesses can, as Angel puts it, “do a bit of judo.” This means using the weight of the opponent to your advantage, and focus on a very narrow entry point to improve existing processes.
“We could be creating incredible progress really, really fast, if we allow ourselves to do so,” he added.
Angel gave one example of the potential for progress in the International Standard on Auditing 240, a regulation that sets guidelines for auditors to detect unusual financial activities. Historically, the technology available limited auditors’ ability to fully adhere to these guidelines due to time and resource constraints.
MindBridge launched an algorithm that identifies unusual financial patterns more effectively, without being specifically trained on certain datasets, to instantly bring efficiency and quality into the process.
“If you look in that industry before MindBridge in a team of four auditors, you have only one person capable of doing semi-decent analytics,” Angel added. “Now, with MindBridge, those four auditors can do the most powerful analysis ever that no one had done before in the industry.”
For Angel, this example also speaks to a long-standing debate in the tech sector: is the regulation of AI itself a net positive or negative for the tech industry? Angel has previously clashed on this issue with Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify, who has bemoaned increasing AI regulation in Canada, noting “we don’t need more referees.”
“Actually, I think [Lütke] is right and I think I’m right,” Angel said. “I think he’s right that regulation is overreaching right now, but at the same time, in some verticalized industry scenarios, it can be so empowering for innovators.”
Listen to Solon Angel’s full conversation below, and catch more conversations from SAAS NORTH 2023 on The BetaKit Podcast.