A year after launching Surge Ventures, a fintech venture studio, its co-founder Sid Yenamandra has launched the studio’s first company and product.
RegVerse is the new company and its first product is Avery, that is, among other things, an artificial intelligence-powered regulatory co-pilot that can be used by registered investment advisory firms, independent broker/dealers, as well as hedge funds, mutual funds, and insurance agencies.
Yenamandra will serve as RegVerse’s CEO and said Avery is not just a generative AI chatbot or standalone self-service AI. The company chose the name “Avery” because it’s non-gender specific.
“We still have humans in the mix on top of it in the form of human client services in case users need a secondary check or have questions or support, that is part of the product,” he said.
He said Avery already has about 20 RIA firms signed up as customers.
At Surge, Yenamandra said the team tests each idea for a product or company by following the 5-5-5 methodology before proceeding.
“That’s five customers that have the same five pain points within a five-month period,” he said, adding that they had five firms before even beginning to pursue the ideas behind Avery.
In a nutshell, Avery has a growing repository of more than 100 state and federal regulatory sources built into its dataset, and when a firm begins using the technology it maps the regulations that pertain specifically to that type of firm, thus personalizing it for their use.
“Avery is meant to serve as a regulatory co-pilot for a firm—it is not going to replace a lawyer or compliance consultant—but it will let a mere mortal process what complex regulations are all about,” said Yenamandra.
“With, for example, data privacy rules in one state versus another, if you are a small firm with a small compliance department, how do you get to the 80th or 90th percentile [of compliance] quickly?”
Once set up, a firm’s compliance personnel can then begin querying Avery through text prompts for regulatory summarizations and task recommendations that can then be added to a compliance calendar through the platform.
In addition to existing regulations, the technology tracks and can answer questions regarding regulatory changes, enforcement actions, and upcoming proposals.
“For building a product like this, if a regulator comes to us and asks us ‘how did you make that recommendation?’ you have to be able to prove it and cite the exact sentence that came out of that regulation,” said Yenamandra.
He said that the new company is consultant friendly, knowing that many RIA and IBD firms already rely on third-party compliance practitioners.
“We talk to a lot of compliance consultants and they tell us they spend about 65% of their time tracking regulations; if we can help reduce that and help solve this we think we are doing a good service for the industry,” said Yenamandra.
He went on to say that three consultants had already signed on to become experts in RegVerse’s offerings.
As for the technology under the hood, unlike many recently announced fintech startups that use API integrations to third-party providers such as OpenAI’s Chat GPT, Avery was built in-house at Surge using existing open source large language model frameworks, including Meta’s Llama 2 and Falcon, which was created at the UAE’s Technology Innovation Institute.
While big enterprise firms can work with RegVerse to self-host Avery in their own private cloud, smaller firms simply sign on as a customer and access the technology through the company, which uses Amazon Web Services for hosting and runs the the application in its own environment.
“With our enterprise version of Avery you can feed it on your own personal dataset and train it, and host it in your AWS or Azure environment,” he said.
Going forward, firms that already have built-in compliance workflows could be integrated with Avery as well.
Pricing for RegVerse starts at $329 per month.
“This is just our opening act; we have three more [products] coming shortly,” he said.