ALT/AVE aim to reduce paper use by 95% in the finance industry

Offset printing press

UK-based small and medium sized enterprise (SME) ALT/AVE launch Innovate UK Smart Grant funded docStribute®️ to facilitate eco-friendly document distribution.

About the project

Despite the increased usage of online banking and mobile banking apps, the financial services industry still has a huge impact on the environment. Distribution of post-sales literature is still largely done on paper, and it is estimated that over 5.2 billion documents are printed and distributed to customers annually in the UK alone. This is the equivalent of cutting down more than half a million trees a year.

Chris Ansara, founder of ALT/AVE, decided to apply for an Innovate UK Smart Grant with a project to challenge the current mind set in the financial industry. To drive a more digital approach and to cut out the unnecessarily waste of paper helping the UK achieve its net zero target by 2050.

Chris Ansara, Founder and CEO said:

ALT/AVE was founded on a desire to improve communications and to help industry improve value chains through lowering emissions, Innovate UK’s support enabled us to do just this.

The London based start-up received £148,000 in funding from the Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020 competition. The funding enabled the project to develop a durable medium, and to streamline the delivery of terms and conditions (T&Cs) from banks to their customers in a manner that is:

  • cost efficient
  • compliant
  • environmentally conscious.

Being awarded the Smart Grant enabled ALT/AVE to develop their flagship product, docStribute®️, build out its capabilities and applications, and prepare to launch and onboard its first users in 2021.

Chris Ansara, Founder and CEO said:

Innovate UK support was important in bringing the concept to life. The funding meant we had more resources with which to research and develop the product, and successfully launch in 2021.

Historically, stringent regulatory requirements in the UK have made finding alternative ways to distribute documents, such as T&Cs, a difficult task. Other potential solutions, such as sending documents as PDFs via email, have been explored within the industry. However, issues, such as leaving the customer vulnerable to malware and scams, have meant that ALT/AVE’s product offers a more attractive and secure solution.

docStribute®️ allows companies to deliver private, confidential, and mandatory documents to customers digitally, via immutable hyperlinks, using distributed ledger technology. It uses the Hedera hashgraph network, a decentralised enterprise-grade public network on which anyone can build secure, fair applications with real-time finality. This network provides the highest standard of security as it’s shared by 39 leading companies, that means hackers would need to hack all 39 organisations to infiltrate the network.

Impact of the project

Commercialising docStribute®️ has created opportunities for ALT/AVE and has resulted in them connecting with people from across industry and talking to them about emissions and cyber risk. It has given them the opportunity to illustrate existing problems and demonstrate just how well their product fits within the response. ALT/AVE has sold its docStribute®️ solution to a wide range of customers including some of the largest financial institutions in the UK and EU.

Reducing carbon emissions and costs

To ensure the UK is working towards its net zero target, the government will be reporting on carbon emissions, with new regulations and legislation expected in coming years. With these regulations in place companies will be encouraged to actively look at ways they can reduce their carbon emissions.

For the finance industry, this is where docStribute®️ comes into play, improving value chains through reducing emissions across the business world. The product will enhance cyber security in key business sectors and deliver safer and more environmentally friendly communication outcomes.

Postal deliveries emit (at least) 29g of carbon per item in transportation alone. If we take into account that T&Cs packs typically are around 60 pages, related CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions are regularly closer to 300g per document. By scrapping this old school method and adopting docStribute®️ customers will:

  • significantly reduce costs for distribution of regulated documents
  • reduce time spent on administrative tasks so they can allocate staffing to value creating activities
  • reduce paper usage by 95 to 100% with each email producing only 6g of carbon emissions, thereby cutting related emissions by up to 95%.

If every regulated document in the UK was sent by docStribute®️, we could save 247,000 metric tons of CO2e per year related to paper documents from the financial industry alone.

docStribute®️ is at the cutting-edge of regulatory technology, its inception and launch to market shows large businesses, notably in financial services, that a better way to communicate is available.

Delivering better outcomes

Having successfully been awarded Innovate UK funding, ALT/AVE also took full advantage of the additional support from Innovate UK Edge, who provide specialist ‘wrap-around’ activities to successful projects. This primarily focuses on product commercialisation and value proposition development, as well as go-to-market strategy, including sales. This allowed ALT/AVE to refocus efforts and resources and enabled them to deliver better outcomes and boost growth.

Innovate UK Smart Grants help SME’s, like ALT/AVE, and their partners, to accelerate development of their innovation, and bring their product to market. If you’ve identified a challenge in your sector or industry and have a world-class and genuinely new idea as to how you can solve it, then Smart funding could help.

You can find out more about whether Smart is the right funding mechanism for your project in our latest blog, exactly who are Smart grants for.

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