CLARA MURRAY reports on a small business with big ambition
A Croydon accounting technology company is launching a crowdfunding campaign to help them create local jobs and expand nationally.
MyT has spent the past four years developing a mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to read and upload paper receipts.
The company, which already has a significant customer base locally, hopes to raise £100,000 through crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
Oumesh Sauba, the chief executive of MyT, said half the cash raised will be spent on marketing for a planned nationwide expansion, while the rest will go into improving the technology.
“It’s an AI-compatible, machine-learning system which is really, really good. But we’re still training it and improving all the time,” Sauba told Inside Croydon.
Sauba was inspired to start the company after running his own accounting firm in Croydon, Sauba & Daughters, for more than 12 years.
“As an accountant, a problem I often see is customers sending us information late, or coming to us with a bag of receipts which you have to go through to produce a tax return. This is a problem that most accountants have all over the country.
“Now we’ve found a solution to that problem of the bag of receipts – everyone uses their phone every day, so it’s easy for them to take a picture of their receipts every day.”
Once the user takes a photo, the app does the rest.
“We’ve trained AI models to use optical character recognition to read those receipts and then say ‘this is a VAT number, this is a total, this is the date’, and then populate all that information so it can be used for bookkeeping.”
It will also help customers comply with new tax regulations, which from 2024 will require businesses of all sizes to keep digital records.
So far, MyT has been funded “on a shoestring” by the founders, helped by a grant from the council’s Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund.
Seedrs is a London-based investment site which has been used by online bank Revolut and veg subscription service Oddbox to generate their business investments. Sauba hopes it will allow his company to take the next step in its growth.
“It will give people who invest about 5.5 per cent to 6 per cent of the business in total,” he said.
“We’ve done a valuation of the business with the technology we have and everything else, and if you go out there today and you try to do what we have done over the last few years, it would probably cost you £1.5million to £2million.
“Other bookkeeping apps are quite difficult to use, and users struggle to get a hold of someone – customers want to be able to speak to people who understand what they’re talking about, so we are investing in customer service.
“We are talking to some local colleges about apprenticeships for account assistants and trainee accountants, so they can train while at the same time learning our system and giving customer service.”
The tech sector in Croydon almost doubled in size between 2015 and 2020, and is estimated to employ 8,000 people, which would make it one of the largest tech hub in London.
“We are ambitious. We’re already recognised by HMRC as a software provider and we think we’re going to go global with the system, there’s no doubt about that.”
MyT’s funding on https://www.seedrs.com/ is expected to go live next week.
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