Karan Kashyap, co-founder/CEO of Posh Technologies, is a more recent example of an innovator who discovered the CUSO appeal after first targeting an idea.
The models that serve as the company’s underpinnings emerged from Kashyap’s and co-founder Matt McEachern’s graduate research in conversational artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing.
“We had a pretty cool technology, but had to find a solid market need for it,” Kashyap explains.
Posh spun out of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab in mid-2018 as more Americans became more comfortable with conversational AI. Kashyap heard about free rent available at DCU's FinTech Innovation Center.
They graduated from the $9 billion asset, Marlborough, Mass.-based credit union’s one-year incubator program in September, and remain in that office space, which has grown threefold since their arrival.
Posh Technologies focuses on “chatbot”-oriented applications of conversational AI that have become a hot topic in financial services.
Kashyap sees the company’s differentiator as “persisting memory,” the ability to retain context through multiple turns of a conversation, whether in writing or verbal.
Improving the interaction between a bot and a human is the challenge that energizes his team.
Posh is training its models specific to credit union contexts. Toward that end, it makes the contribution of data sets a prerequisite for CUSO investment.
“It would be easy to bias our models by only working with data from a couple of early customers,” Kashyap explains.
He says the diversity of model inputs—geographic, socioeconomic, etc.—is key to creating a human experience.
Eight credit unions, with DCU as the lead, have invested in Posh Technologies to date. The firm recently kicked off a new funding round. Its product is in various stages of implementation with six credit unions and is live with $2.2 billion asset Chartway Federal Credit Union in Virginia Beach, Va.
"We were looking for an automated and modernized telephone banking platform that was member friendly and able to evolve with future technology," explains Mindy Estok, Chartway's vice president of project management. "We also wanted a partner that shared in the credit union culture."
Estok says the solution is working well so far, with Chartway already benefiting from new levels of analytics.