Clinc Raises $6.3M Series A to Help Take Financial A.I. to Market

Clinc, an artificial intelligence startup spun out of the University of Michigan, announced this week that it has raised a Series A round worth $6.3 million, just six months after closing on a $1.2 million seed round.

The new round was led by Drive Capital, with contributions from Hyde Park Venture Partners, Ann Arbor, MI-based Cahoots Holdings, and investor Stuart Porter. As part of the deal, Drive Capital’s Mark Kvamme will join Clinc’s board of directors. The funding brings the company’s total investment to date to $7.75 million, according to a press release.

When we profiled Clinc last summer, co-founder and CEO Jason Mars said the company was on a mission to lead a transformative shift where state-of-the-art A.I. research emerges from the lab to be more seamlessly applied toward solving problems in the real world.

With that goal in mind, in September, the company released Finie, which Mars describes as a voice-controlled, automated personal financial assistant that can perform banking tasks and use analytics to extract insights from a user’s bank account. Instead of calling the bank, users can ask Finie questions about their finances, such as “What was my most expensive transaction last month?” or “Can I afford to spend $500 on a new couch?” The idea, Mars says, is to lower the barriers that prevent people from understanding their financial picture.

“The key differentiator is that Finie allows users to ask questions in messy, human language,” Mars explains in an interview this week. “There are no special keywords or rule-based commands to learn.”

On Sept. 8, the software debuted publicly at Finovate New York, an annual fintech conference, where Mars says it won best in show.

“It was awesome; I got bum-rushed at the booth,” he recalls with a laugh. “It created a lot of inbound interest, and it got the ball rolling with VCs and financial institutions.”

Clinc has a cloud-based API (application programming interface), and the company is hoping to take Finie to market by partnering with a financial institution that would integrate the A.I. software into the institution’s mobile app. Mars says there are currently several pilots underway with top companies in the banking industry to test that proposition. He expects to announce a “really huge” partner by July.

Mars says the 10-person company will use its new capital to further expand Finie’s capabilities, develop other products, double or triple the current number of employees, and move to a new headquarters in downtown Ann Arbor. However, Clinc’s overarching goal is still to bring artificial intelligence to the masses in order to help solve everyday challenges.

“We want to make it super easy for folks to add artificial intelligence to any experience,” he adds.

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