HKSTP’s Partner Company Language AI Company Fano Labs raises funding from AEF Greater Bay Area Fund to accelerate growth in RegTech and WealthTech
Photo 1: Fano Labs Team (From Left to Right): Prof. Victor Li, John Poon, Dr. Albert Lam, Seamus Xie, Terence Pong, Dr. Miles Wen.
(Hong Kong, 11 October 2022) – Fano Labs announces that it has raised several millions USD of funding from AEF Greater Bay Area Fund (AEF GBA Fund) managed by Gobi Partners GBA. The round also has the participation from New Vision Capital. The funds raised will accelerate Fano Labs’ business expansion across the Greater Bay Area and Southeast Asia.
Solving The Billion-Dollar Problem for Banks
In today’s growing and complex financial legislations, financial service institutions such as banks are looking into ways to ensure the ways their relationship managers (RM) interact with customers are compliant with regulatory requirements.
When the RM take an order to execute a transaction, they must take their customer through an extensive process of product suitability assessment, risk assessment, and risk disclosure etc., before the transaction can take place. All these conversations are recorded by the bank, so that their risk and compliance departments can later run a sample check, and ensure that the sales processes were appropriate, the service quality was good, and that the customers’ interests are protected. However, it is very labour intensive and costly for banks to arrange sufficient manpower to manually listen to these tapes and catch the rare bad apples.
Language AI as RegTech and WealthTech
Fano Labs’ AI Voice Analytics System Callinter uses language AI technologies to analyse all the banks’ audio records and automatically flag recordings that might contain mistakes, misconducts, or mis-selling practices. The bank’s risk and compliance professionals can take a deep dive of the flagged recordings for closer inspection. Since Callinter can operate 24/7 and process audios 100x faster than humans (it can process 100+ hours of audios within 1 hour of real-world time), it proves to be a more economic and effective tool for banks to monitor sales compliance internally and allow them to take remedial actions before things go sour. All in all, the mission is to protect investors, and to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets in Hong Kong’s financial industry. More importantly, now that all conversations between RMs and customers are fully processed and analysed by AI, banks also use the analysis results to better understand customers’ investment interests and their satisfaction levels about the banks’ services. Based on such insights, banks have come up with better ways to serve customers and make better investment advice.
Although language AI technologies have been around for decades, the complex language environments in Hong Kong and many parts in Asia have made such commercial implementation harder. What sets Fano Labs apart is its unique capabilities in processing multilingual human languages, where people might mix multiple languages as they talk to each other or even switch between several languages on the fly. Fano Labs’ engine can capture such language switches and mixtures at 90% accuracy, which sets Fano Labs as one of the world’s most accurate engine providers. As of today, Fano Labs has launched language support for Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Thai, Bahasa, French, Arabic, and more to come.
"Thanks to Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)’s promotion of RegTech since late 2020, we have seen substantial new adoptions of our tech in the financial industry over the past two years.” said Dr. Miles Wen, co-founder and CEO of Fano Labs. “As of today, our technologies have been adopted by 10 of the top 15 banks operating in Hong Kong, 5 of which are among the world’s top 10 banks by asset values. Our technologies are also used by 12 different public bodies exercising regulatory powers in different sectors to help them conduct supervision tasks more effectively. In August 2022, we are very honored to have been selected by HKMA as the speech-to-text technology provider for the Supervisory Technology (SupTech) initiative.”
Fano Labs, a partner company of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), was started in 2015 by Dr. Miles Wen, a PhD graduate from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), and Professor Victor OK Li, Chair of Information Engineering and Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at HKU. The company is based at the Hong Kong Science Park, which is home to a number of top AI companies including SenseTime, Smartmore and Insilico Medicine.
Prior to this round, Fano Labs has been backed by HKSTP, University of Hong Kong,, Horizons Ventures, Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) and Saltagen Ventures. The Company also receives strategic advice from well-known veteran in the financial industry, Raymond Cheng, former senior executive from HSBC Group, to help them shape company strategy and product directions
Mr. Chibo Tang, Managing Partner of Gobi Partners GBA, shares “We are very impressed by Fano Labs’ continuous growth despite the recent market downturn. In particular, Fano Labs’ highly defensible and unique language AI tech on multilingual and mixed language processing has made them stand out from the market. Together with the support from AEF on strategic advice and regional business network, we believe Fano Labs is ready for expansion into the Greater Bay Area and Southeast Asia.”
For more information, please visit https://www.fano.ai/ or on social media: