Serial entrepreneur Ian Wright isn’t a man to mix his words.
The 43-year-old previously sold two tech companies and is now an investor and non-executive director to Liverpool-based TheWebinarVet.com, North West animation SaaS business Viddyoze and international online retailer Street Solutions UK.
His latest venture has seen him invest a ‘significant six figure’ sum on a new tech platform that he says will ditch ‘fluffy content’ in favour of genuine business contacts.
The North West-based businessman has spent 18 months building his new business – Board.AI – in response to complaints that traditional channels like LinkedIn have become ‘faux social media platforms’.
He says Board.AI’s algorithm can’t discriminate on things like gender, ethnicity, sexuality or religion because it doesn’t ask those questions in the first place.
“Board.AI removes the white noise that is content,” explains Wright. “If you strip it back to basics its AI technology is focused solely on finding the right business match for its users, based on skills. It’s that simple.
“People are time poor so it only invites you to one meeting a week and you can decide what it is you want to achieve from it.
“For example, if you’re looking for a fractional, non-exec or portfolio director role, you can tell it that you’re looking for that and the technology will know your sector, expertise and location and match you to a business or headhunter that is looking for somebody with your sector experience.”
Board.AI already has 15,000 users and Wright is planning a rollout that will add another 50,000 accounts to the platform before it switches to a paid for model.
In 2019 he launched Virtualnonexecs.com and has grown it into the UK’s largest community of non-exec directors.
He decided to launch Board.AI after becoming frustrated at the amount of ‘fluffy content’ on platforms like LinkedIn.
“LinkedIn has 830 million members worldwide but instead of the personal updates that some people like, I just want to use it to do more business,” says Wright.
“That’s where Board.AI comes in. It’s a C suite and board level connecting platform that is wholly delivered by using an algorithm.
“There’s a lot of talk about ending discrimination but oddly, platforms ask all the questions of their users which others may use to actually discriminate! Board.AI doesn’t need to know its users’ gender, race, sexuality, pronouns or religion. The algorithm is only concerned with finding a great match.”
Wright says in addition to being a ‘matching platform’, Board.AI was also focused on solving common business problems through its extended network.
“Rather than connect with a million people, users want to connect with the most relevant one that can actually help,” he adds.
“The beauty of Board AI is it can also help answer common business challenges.
“For example, I’m a non-exec in various businesses and I can use it to help my clients. It also helps me find co-founders, raise finance etc.
“I’ve just met a fantastic family business with a £22m turnover and £2m net profit. They have 100+ staff but have no meaningful external accounting help or management team.
“As a result the owners are under incredible pressure. Board.AI allows them to come to the platform, share a challenge around not having an accountant and Board.AI will automatically make introductions to three national accountancy firms who form part of a panel They can decide who they want to speak to. That then initiates a series of free consultations.
“That can be for any of the headaches that a business owner typically has, from tax, employment law or a legal issue. The possibilities are endless.
“This is only concerned with making business contacts. It’s not concerned with being a social media platform. That’s the difference.”