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Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss is already on her fourth start-up, having set up her first deep-tech company in 2004 after inventing a robot that automatically digitised books. She went on to found omni:us in 2015. Less than three years later, the company counts 26 staff and two offices, in Germany and the US. It is also the force behind the Machine Intelligence Summit, which is due to take place on 21 June 2018.

Tell us about your personal background and what omni:us does. How did you come up with the idea behind it?

In June 2004, I founded a company called Qidenus Technologies, which initially specialised in robotics. This knowledge, combined with a real passion for AI technologies, eventually led to the creation of omni:us, a next-generation AI service that radically transforms business processes. The service closes the gap in machine-to-machine information transfer by enabling the classification of, and data extraction from, the increasing amounts of highly variable documents handled by companies today, particularly within the insurance industries.

Omni:us (previously SearchInk) was founded in 2015 and was initially set up to apply AI technology to understanding both historical and contemporary handwritten documents. However, following our successful round of seed funding ($4.5 million) in 2016, a number of large corporate companies became interested in the technology, and we realised there was a wider business issue to be solved here – demanding a solution that understood both the context and content of documents, to enable fast and accurate automated processing.

What makes omni:us stand out from its competitors?

Whereas in the past, AI solutions have been characterised by major IT projects, going hand in hand with high costs, omni:us provides a ground-breaking way to deploy AI to enterprises. We can now deploy our products to organisations with minimum disruption and within a matter of weeks, specifically with regards to claims management and policy extraction. Our products can also be seamlessly integrated into existing systems, helping businesses to innovate, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, our technology continues to be ‘trained’ using millions of pages and constantly increases its intelligence through an ongoing feedback loop, meaning it’s a fully scalable solution. In this way, omni:us is one of the only companies in the market providing a true AI solution for businesses that need to process a large amount of highly variable documents.

Your solution removes the need for people to carry out tedious administrative tasks. Can you guarantee that all ‘human error’ will be removed? If not, how do you approach this with your clients?

Inevitably, the introduction of radical technology and innovation has an impact on business culture, teams and the way in which work is distributed and tasks are performed. AI is already fundamentally changing the insurance industry and this is only set to continue. omni:us’s primary goal is to help organisations increase efficiency and innovate by enabling them to radically streamline business processes through the classification of, and data extraction from, highly variable documents.

Ultimately, there will always be a need for human input on any scale, so some roles will never fully be eradicated. Instead of ‘removing the need for people’, omni:us aims to empower workforces by overcoming traditional limitations of manual workloads and helping to redeploy people to higher-value work.

What does the future hold for omni:us? Will you branch out into other industries? How do you see the role of AI evolving within the insurance industry?

We aim to further advance our revolutionary technology to benefit businesses in the insurance industry, as well as huge potential to apply omni:us technology to many other diverse industries such as finance, manufacturing, transportation and healthcare. As part of this, the company is committed to providing the leading solution to handle all highly variable and unstructured documents and data formats. As well as this, we’re also in the process of raising a further funding round this year (expected mid-2018) as well as opening an office in the US and further growing the team.

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