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March 3, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 7:57am

MasterCard empowers UK sales force with self-learning AI

News: Aim is to improve ability of sales teams to sell brand loyalty.

By James Nunns

MasterCard is deploying artificial intelligence technology in order to develop a sales advisory tool.

The AI tool has been developed by Rainbird Technology, a start-up from the MasterCard Start-Path Global class, and will capture knowledge and experience in the current sales function and then encode its learning into software.

The software is designed to learn with time and experience in order to bring greater efficiency to the function of its UK sales teams which are providing loyalty schemes and other card benefits for banks.

MasterCard is attempting to use the technology to unlock information that was previously locked in a single team or among a few employees. By doing this and making it accessible to the rest of the sales organisation, the members of the MasterCard loyalty sales team in the UK will be able to streamline sales processes and systems by applying standard best practices.

What this AI technology is effectively trying to achieve is an end to disparate information. As the software captures knowledge and groups together nuggets of disparate information, it is able to create a knowledge-base that will power an automated, virtual sales assistant.

The virtual sales assistant will also possess the capacity to learn with time as more knowledge and data is added to the database.

Rainbird, which is based in Norwich, was selected to be a part of MasterCard’s Start Path Global class in November 2014. The opportunity to work with MasterCard came through participation in the program.

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Stephane Wyper, global lead, MasterCard Start Path said: "There was a time when lines were clearly drawn between startups and established companies.

"Now, early-stage companies are partnering with large financial institutions, retailers, or digital players to build the future of commerce together."

Rainbird isn’t the only UK based start-up that Start Path has started working with, dopay, a company that enables employees to pay wages electronically to employees with no bank accounts; and Universal Basket, a universal shopping cart that allows consumers to buy items from multiple retailers but pay via a single checkout, are also part of the program.

The six-month virtual program selects a new set of recruits every quarter, the application window to join the next class is open until the 21st of March.

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