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12 August, 2015 - 22:41 By Kate Sweeney

Rainbird funding soars past £1 million

James Duez and Ben Taylor with the Rainbird team at Techstars training

The automation of knowledge work is one of the fastest growing IT developments in the world, providing business with bespoke learning and problem-solving systems for their workforce.

At the heart of this new phenomenon is Norwich-based startup, Rainbird, created two years ago by digital entrepreneurs James Duez and Ben Taylor. The team is already working with financial services firms to help create a new bank and a leading university to bring international consistency to the treatment of Ebola.

Now Rainbird has become the first business to receive funding from New Anglia LEP’s equity investment fund. They will receive £28,000 from New Anglia Capital as part of Rainbird’s seed investment rounds which have raised in excess of £1 million.

New Anglia Capital is a co-investment fund with New Anglia LEP and Anglia Capital Group, who are based at Norwich Research Park. They bring angel investors together to kick-start new products and innovative ideas as well as supporting existing high growth companies. Separately, Anglia Capital Group and Angel financiers from across the Eastern region have invested around £100,000 in the company.

James Duez, co-founder of Rainbird, is an Angel investor himself. He says they had plenty of interest from financiers, but it was important to them to try and secure investment from local sources first.

“We are 90 per cent funded by Angel investors and the majority of those are in the UK and predominantly East Anglia. Having local people investing in us provides tighter support and boosts the region’s economy,” he said.

The recent funding round will mean the team, who are based at the digital innovation cluster, White Space, can expand from their current 12 staff to over 20.

Earlier this year Rainbird successfully participated in the internationally renowned Techstars accelerator programme which helps cram two years of growth into an intense 13-week bootcamp.

Duez says that the automation of knowledge work through Artificial Intelligence is one of the most globally significant technologies of our time, expected to have an economic impact of between $5-7 trillion per annum by 2025.

“We help companies take the knowledge they have locked away in a few individuals and encode it in a cloud-based software platform that ‘learns’  enabling them to raise standards and improve efficiency. Examples include contact centre knowledge tools, risk and compliance management solutions and virtual advisors that can determine what products would delight any specific customer.

“We are even working at the heart of a new type of bank that puts the customer first. This technology can solve problems that the world has not managed to crack yet.”

Chris Dashper, head of programmes, at New Anglia LEP said: “Rainbird exemplifies what we are trying to achieve with our £1m equity investment pot – an innovative tech company with exciting ambitions in the fast-growing world of artificial intelligence.

“They have already attracted plenty of interest from Angel investment and we are delighted that we can play a small part in their future growth plans.”

• Photograph shows James Duez and Ben Taylor with the Rainbird team at Techstars training

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