South Africa's FinanceGPT simplifies financial analysis, set to interface in local languages

FinanceGPT is a generative AI startup built to help companies in their financial analysis tasks. Initially built for startups without in-house finance teams, and VCs looking to run financial health checks for their portfolios in Africa, FinanceGPT (Ipoxcap) says it has over the last two years grown to attract a diverse range of clientele including investment managers and finance officers out to fast-track their fiscal reporting.

FinanceGPT, which is part of the 2023 Startup Battlefield 200 cohort, leverages its proprietary AI models and GPT-4 to, amongst other capabilities, generate financial ratios that show the overall state of a business, make predictions on future performance and forecast valuations, based on the uploaded accounting data.

“It generates a shareable financial analytics dashboard and text-based reports depending on the company’s data and user requests,” said CEO Phiwa Nkambule, who co-founded the startup with Sibo Mkhonta (CFO) in 2020.

“We started by helping startups organize their finances for investor readiness, but we have seen a demand from portfolio managers, retail traders and company finance teams, who use it to run their investment business or manage their portfolios,” said Nkambule.

He added that while the startup has attracted clients from around the globe, its main focus remains Africa. It is currently working on FinanceGPT Patches, entailing three lean language models to seal the financial information gaps and biases of large language modes (LLMs) like GPT-4 on emerging markets. For instance, the FinanceGPT-SSA model is designed to be proficient in native African languages, and is said to ensure accurate financial insights on sub-Saharan Africa markets. Similar models are being built for the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Asia-Pacific.

“They are small language models that will work hand in hand with other foundational models to fill the gap that is left by large language models when it comes to developing countries. We know that the macro-economic dynamics are very unique and different in these regions and we want to ensure that this is well captured,” he said.

FinanceGPT is also working on a financial voice assistant that will be competent in some African languages to deliver financial advisory services. The voice assistant will be available through its own digital channels, and partner financial institutions trying to reach customers in rural areas.

The startup has been a member of Nvidia Inception since October 2022, and is leveraging its technology.

“Nvidia technology helps empower startups so they can unlock new generative AI applications for a variety of industries. FinanceGPT is utilizing Nvidia GPUs and NeMo SDK as a foundation for a distinctive solution that utilizes generative AI to help address limited accessibility and costs associated with financial advice and consultant services,” said an Nvidia spokesperson.

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