Kent to support start-up with machine learning

With the support of Kent Innovation & Enterprise, the University’s School of Computing and London-based fintech start-up Youtility have been awarded funding to begin a 30 month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to enhance user experience using machine learning models.

Dr Fernando Otero and Dr Matteo Migliavacca from the University’s School of Computing will be working with the Government backed start-up to develop and integrate machine learning models in order to improve user experience for their consumers. The new models and embedded technology will enable Youtility to grow their user base through empowering consumers in a disengaged market.

Youtility is a money and budgeting app that brings home finances into one place, allowing users to budget, track, compare and switch providers in-app. Youtility is a product of Open Banking and is FCA-registered to connect to one or multiple bank accounts. Once registered, Youtility displays historic spending across the home and provides users with smart insights, relevant money saving advice from Citizens Advice, notifications for key events, awareness of high bills and helps users get ahead of expiring contracts and making informed, smart decisions that are right for them. Youtility has received multiple grants from the UK Government, established a strategic partnership with Citizens Advice and were the primary member into Ofgem’s Innovation Link Incubator programme. .

Dr Otero’s strong background and expertise in developing and applying algorithms to data mining tasks are particularly relevant for this project and Dr Migliavacca’s research expertise in developing, measuring and optimising parallel architectures and algorithms will hugely benefit the project in reaching its scalability targets.

This is not the first time the University’s expertise will help to enhance an app based tool: last year a team of four academics across three different academic disciplines began a project to embed expert data analytics as well as an understanding of social networking theories into the social planning app PlanSnap.

KTPs are a UK-wide government programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK academic knowledge base.

Kent has a great track record of successful KTP’s with two of the University’s most recent projects achieving a grade of “outstanding”, the highest possible rating from Innovate UK, the UK’s technology strategy agency, a grade that only 10% of KTP projects achieve.

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