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29th November 2022

Risk Management firm founder discusses “intense year”


NPIF - Maven Equity FinanceGreater Manchester LEPNorthern Powerhouse Investment Fund

The founder of a Manchester-based NPIF portfolio business who provide risk management services has discussed the work that has gone into developing its platform following an “intense year”.

RiskSmart has developed a platform that aims to provide companies with a simple to use and cost-effective way to manage risk within a business. It leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence, with its platform centralising and digitising risk management to increase confidence in business resilience.

Founder Ryan Swann said RiskSmart was “all about innovation, both internal and external”.

“RiskSmart is an all-new risk management platform designed specifically for SMEs,” he said. “That means we’re innovating on professions – risk management and the Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) roles – that have been, in many ways, gathering dust.

“We have a background of working as risk professionals, and we’ve often longed for a better way of doing things. Waving goodbye to spreadsheets, ditching manual processes, getting richer data…it all seemed like a pipe dream at times. After realising that no one else was innovating and providing solutions for SMEs like ours, we decided to do it ourselves.

“On a technical level, RiskSmart is a far more advanced piece of tech than the GRC world has previously seen. It provides a hub for all things risk management: an in-built library of customisable risks; quantifiable risk scores so you know when to take action; data-driven insights for smarter decision making; and our very own artificial intelligence, ARi, which helps ensure your risk management is future-facing.

“Despite that, we’re in constant conversation with risk professionals to pulse-check the industry. We’re always looking for areas we can improve, new problems we can address, and ensuring the user experience of our services is accessible for everyone. We’re here to help others innovate in their own business, so it’s important that we’re constantly innovating behind the scenes at RiskSmart, too.”

Swann said 2022 had been an “intense year” for the start-up business.

“At the start of 2022, RiskSmart hadn’t yet fully evolved from some ideas scribbled down on paper. Those notes soon became pitches and presentations, and before we knew it, RiskSmart was a reality. We launched the brand in full at the start of August – but brand launches can be scary. They feel like a first gig, never knowing if anyone is going to show up. They did.

“We directed people via our LinkedIn page to the brand-new RiskSmart website, hoping simply to gauge the levels of interest we would receive in our first couple of weeks. We didn’t expect to have our first demo request in before lunchtime. Just over a week later, we’d hit five demo requests. By mid-September, the RiskSmart LinkedIn page had garnered over 700 organic followers without a single paid ad. Since then, we’ve been hard at work on the RiskSmart platform, ironing out the last few bugs and putting the final UX touches into place.

“Our Marketing and Sales teams have grown, and we’ve been hard at work conducting demos and getting the RiskSmart name out into the wild. It feels like we’ve crested the hill – but that doesn’t mean what comes next will be easy.”

Earlier this year, RiskSmart secured a £250,000 investment from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, which is managed by Maven Capital Partners and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Swann said: “As a brand-new start-up, the NPIF – Maven Equity Finance investment is what got us off the ground. It took RiskSmart from a dream to reality, allowing us to invest more heavily in making the platform exactly what we envisioned. It’s also meant that we’ve been able to grow a star-studded team, expanding beyond our original risk rockstars with new hires that have already made their presence felt. Not only that, but it’s given the team a real boost, too.

“Since we acquired our funding, we’ve all been showing up with a real spring in our step, knowing that the risk evolution is now just around the corner.”

Swann said the company aimed to further build up it brand, with recruitment planned for 2023.

“As a start-up, our initial plans are humble,” he said. “Having recently launched our brand, we’re now looking to continue getting our name known and have more businesses using RiskSmart. This will also be supported through a number of new hires throughout 2023, as we grow our team to meet our expectations for demand.

“But long term, our goals are more ambitious. We envision RiskSmart as the de facto choice for risk management, doing for risk management what Xero has done for finance teams. And, as the world of today grows increasingly complex, we’ll continue expanding RiskSmart’s functionality with new features and benefits to help risk managers thrive.

“We want RiskSmart to be at the centre of a diverse, inclusive community of risk professionals, all of whom are committed to growth and knowledge.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 495929.

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