We spoke to founder, Rachel Curtis about the company’s next steps and how the AI Accelerator and her involvement with the DDE Programme and University of Edinburgh has helped Inicio.AI achieve major milestones.

Rachel Curtis
Using next-generation conversational AI to guide users through detailed affordability assessments
AI Accelerator
September 2022 - March 2023
The AI Accelerator endorsed the uniqueness of our solution and gave us the support we needed to grow as a team. It also connected us with a supportive community that understood our journey because they were facing similar situations in terms of seeking investment, training or advice.”

What led you to set up Inicio.AI? 

Having worked in financial services for nearly 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of the problems users and advisors face first hand. I think this has made me a real problem solver. I undertook a digital transformation project and along with some of the people I met on that project, we developed the concept of Inicio.AI.

What real world challenge do you want to address?

Inicio.AI is an affordability tool that helps people document their income and expenditure. We aim to reduce the stress, worry, and shame around debt. During the pandemic lockdowns, there were two and a half million people considering suicide because of debt. Figures from December 2022 suggest this has since worsened, with one in eight of those in debt now attempting suicide. We want to give people the tools to engage with financial management and take control of their debt and the first critical step is to understand their current financial position.

What role does data play in Inicio.AI?

Data is key for us as our customers complete income and expenditure forms or have conversations with our AI. We use this data to further train our virtual agents to work with customers in real time. We also use external data to pre-populate or validate the information, to make the process easier and more accurate

What motivates you as an entrepreneur? 

Focusing on something we can make a real difference in. We’re not solving problems on just the consumer side or the business side, because the challenges are linked. On the business side, call centre agents are under pressure and on the customer side, with the cost of living crisis, the numbers of people struggling are going up. We want to reduce the pressure on both sides.

What success have you seen so far?

The AI Accelerator programme helped us understand and express our value proposition. This allowed us to speak to different audiences and has transformed our messaging and negotiations. For example, we were close to agreeing a contract with a client and after receiving negotiation training as part of the AI Accelerator, I used those skills to secure a six month contract for £20,000 instead of three months’ work at £5,000. You can’t get better than that.

The sales and negotiation training and mentoring we received through the AI Accelerator have been transformational – it has opened up conversations with new contacts and been instrumental in us winning bigger contracts.”

What role has the University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator played in your entrepreneurial journey?

The AI Accelerator gives smaller enterprises like Inicio.AI access to resources we would only usually get if we had hundreds of employees and thousands of pounds! For example, we’ve worked with trainers and mentors who deliver courses to the likes of Amazon and Twitter. It has enabled us to punch above our weight and now our team is trained at a level that we couldn’t have previously imagined.

What was the draw of the University of Edinburgh?

We weren’t aware how much working with the university or the AI Accelerator would be able to offer us, but it has transformed our business. Engaging with the AI Accelerator and the cohort has opened many doors for us and helped us be more effective and efficient.

What is next for Inicio.AI?

We’re building on the foundation we established during the AI Accelerator and in the last six months, we’ve been focusing on growth through sales, contracts and taking in investment.

Get in touch!

Want to learn more about Inicio.AI, click below to head to their website.