Micro investing platform Raiz has partnered with the University of NSW (UNSW) with support from the NSW Government's Boosting Business Innovation Program to develop machine-learning technology to provide a better experience for customers.
Raiz's smartphone app allows customers to build investments and savings by rounding-up electronic purchases and automatically investing their spare change to the nearest dollar into stocks in a diversified portfolio.
The Raiz Rewards loyalty program also provides customers with investment contributions when they shop with one of the company's partner brands.
UNSW worked with the company to develop a machine-learning engine to power the Raiz Rewards platform.
Raiz was awarded a matching $15,000 TechVouchers research grant through the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program to work with UNSW on the project.
UNSW’s Dr Lina Yao, a leading machine-learning researcher with extensive experience in recommender systems, and PhD student Shuai Zhang helped build the engine to make more relevant and personalised recommendations to customers when navigating more than 165 brands on Raiz Rewards.
'We’re excited to see how the new techniques developed from this collaboration can contribute to Raiz’ end-user experience. I look forward to seeing our collaborations go from strength to strength,' Dr Yao said.
Raiz Invest Managing Director George Lucas said the company had a customer base of more than 179,000 skewing towards the under-35 demographic, and providing a more intuitive experience using machine-learning will better address customer demands.
'Millennials have grown up with technology at their fingertips. They expect all their interactions to be easy to navigate and, above all, customised to their needs,' Mr Lucas said.
'We’re passionate about finding new and innovative ways to add value to everyday lives. Helping customers find the right rewards for their needs is a key part of this.'
Mr Lucas said the new technology combines two common approaches, used by companies such as Amazon or Netflix, to a recommendation engine to give a higher level of personalisation and relevance by blending information on purchases.
'By combining user-based and item-based frameworks, the platform is able to better define the right product and the right customer. It’s exciting from a technical perspective but even better for customers. They will receive a higher level of personalisation and more relevant recommendations when using our platform,' he said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said through the Boosting Business Innovation Program the NSW Government has provided $18 million to the state’s 11 universities and the CSIRO to work with businesses to create great new ideas and products.
'This is about entrepreneurs tapping into the top-notch research provided by our university sector,' Mr Barilaro said.
'As a government we want to do everything we can to create the right environment for people to have the confidence to launch a startup and then get the support they need to succeed. As a result, NSW is now home to nearly 49% of Australia’s startups.'
Raiz was awarded Australia’s Investment Innovator of the Year at the 2018 FinTech business Awards for the 2nd time running and the FinTech Innovation in Wealth Management at the 2018 FinTech Awards.
The platform continues to grow with over 1 million downloads in Australia, and 13 new product releases since launch in February 2016.