A Chat with Andy Wilkins, Co-Founder and CEO at AI Tech Start-Up: Futr

Founded in March 2017, Futr is VC backed by Public.io, the British Robotics Fund and Praetura Ventures.

Futr’s mission is to deliver superpowers to critical service teams to be the best they can be. From out-of-hours self-serve chatbots on any channel to making live chat agents instantly multilingual in over 100 languages, Futr’s superpowers are transforming the way organisations serve their audiences.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

One of the cornerstones of a fair society is universal access – access to safety, information, education, healthcare and so many other public services.

We’re fortunate to live in a time where most agree that one’s characteristics, i.e. economic background, choice of language, level of technical prowess or availability, should never subject you to a lower standard of service than anyone else. And yet, not only does this two-tier system continue, it seems to be more pronounced. We founded Futr to democratise access to the services we need and use every day.

Lee and I both recognise that the only way to make a significant step toward lasting change is by leveraging technology. Over the past few years, we’ve seen amazing progress made in areas such as interoperability and artificial intelligence. These leaps forward, most of which we continue to make at Futr, and our passion for fair access to services, are what helped us define Futr’s path.


How does AI help teams – doesn’t their introduction take away work from people?

COVID has been tough for everyone and now, more than ever, we appreciate the amazing work that our critical services provide. From nurses to police officers to mental health call agents, we simply couldn’t have made it through the past 14 months without them.

But they’re struggling, overcome by volume and the changing nature of 24/7 digital demand. That’s where we come in to help. Futr builds superpowers for critical service teams so that they can be the best that they can. From intelligent out of hours chatbots, to making live chat agents instantly multilingual in over 100 languages or on any social media channel, Futr’s superpowers are transforming the way organisations democratise access to their services.

Already working with the police, the NHS and a number of amazing charities and social services, our mission is to give superpowers to critical service teams everywhere.

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

Internally, we’ve had to adapt just like other businesses, but that’s allowed us to strengthen our processes and improve our communication and transparency. Externally, we’ve been working with critical services teams since we started in 2017, the pandemic has helped us double down on our core verticals of public safety and social services.

We’ve witnessed the impact of our tech, and that’s had a profound effect on the team. It’s something we’re incredibly proud of.

Tell me about the support you and your team are providing to UK’s critical care units. Is this the only sector you’re targeting?

Critical service teams are not able to provide an equal service to all those that need them. They are struggling to balance their specialised service delivery with increasing levels and complexities of demand, expectations of immediacy and constant channel shift.

Hampered by legacy systems they aren’t able to deliver their services on their users’ own terms; at the time they need it, in the languages they speak and on the channels they have access to. Futr delivers hundreds of conversational microservices or ‘superpowers’ available ready-to-go from its SaaS platform or as independent API services. From real-time translation into 100+ languages to sentiment monitoring or omnichannel conversion, Futr’s service superpowers integrate seamlessly with legacy systems and enable service teams to deal with the ever-changing nature of demand, enhancing their core service rather than replacing it.


What has been the reception of AI-powered communication by the UK public so far – is there a future for this sort of thing?

Whether it’s providing automated answers 24/7 or translating complex emergency communications on the fly, the response to our technology from both our customers and their users has been incredible. This is the future of critical support. We’re not trying to replace anyone and acknowledge that no machine ever could or should. All we’re doing is using AI and other fantastic technology to help support teams be the best they can be.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

There’s no silver bullet out there despite the masses of advice available. The one thing I would say is to surround yourself with great people. No one will ever be able to match your passion and your drive, but building a successful business takes a team. Sell them your vision, listen to them and keep them engaged and invested every step along the way.

What can we hope to see from Futr AI in the future?

We’re on a mission to continue to transform how critical services are delivered here in the UK and abroad. We’ll continue to add to our amazing team to do that and execute our incredible tech roadmap to ensure that we continue to impact how our critical service heroes interact with their users.