BridgeWeave, a London headquartered fintech firm that offers retail investors an Artificial Intelligence (AI) constructed portfolio for investment, has opened a ‘lab’ to ‘experiment with cutting edge ideas’ in Hyderabad according to its Founder and Executive Chairman, Akshaya Bhargava.

Even as online brokerage behemoth Zerodha’s CEO, Nithin Kamath, recently took to Twitter to pooh-pooh the role of AI and ML by hinting that ‘Powered by AI has become a marketing gimmick’ and that his own company was yet to find a use-case, BridgeWeave naturally disagrees.

The company says it is empowering a new breed of retail investors who use big data, quantitative algorithms and machine learning models .

Akshaya Bhargava is a former CEO of Wealth and Investment Management at Barclays, apart from being the founder CEO of Progeon (which eventually became Infosys BPO).

According to him, AI is a transformative technology that will change the way people invest and their platform, InvestorAi, intelligently selects stocks, using proprietary quant algorithms, which till recently was only available to institutional investors.

These stocks are then constructed into portfolios and available to retailers who want to Follow the Machine (FtM) – benefitting from its vast computing power and track record without any natural human bias, Bhargava adds.

Pointing out the advantage of using AI, Bhargava says: “It can look through hundreds of millions of daily data points, perform many complex computations to identify patterns that are hard for a human to detect. It can apply a methodology with equal diligence to all global stocks without leaning towards any one sector, market or stock. This is very valuable for an investor.”

He said Bridgeweave is working with at least three Indian brokerage houses, including IIFL. Stating that while AI is new, it is a great technology, but needs what he calls ‘Imaginators’ – people with imagination to challenge how things are done today.

“Many ideas will fail, but a few good ideas will change things for the better. What we need in the industry is tangible support, real imagination, the courage to experiment and possibly fail, the desire to innovate, hospitable platforms to co-create, the ability to test and learn. One cannot diss an entire technology because a credible use case to someone’s satisfaction has not emerged,” claimed Bhargava.

He said the Hyderabad lab would work on such ‘cutting edge ideas.’ At present BridgeWeave offers its services through an app and those who want a premium service pay about Rs 800 per month. The company says it has about 20,000 customers in India.

Through InvestorAi, the company says it currently covers over 4,500 global stocks and 1,500 ETFs in 15 markets and the algorithms perform over 800 million calculations every day - something it says is impossible for a regular retail investor to do. There are over 600 live signals available at any point in time, with new ones being added every day, Bhargava added.