AN AUSTRALIAN fintech company hopes to raise £2 million to fund a UK roll-out after pitching to more than 200 investors in Scotland.

Melbourne-based Gobbill was one of 50 companies pitching yesterday for amounts of between £250,000 and £5 million at the virtual technology investor showcase, Engage Invest Exploit 2020.

Almost 1,000 attendees were registered for the event, around a quarter of them investors from Scotland, the rest of the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

Gobbill employs 14 people in Melbourne and is seeking a UK base from which to launch its technology, which uses artificial intelligence robots to automate bill payment and check for fraud. Last September, the company incorporated as a limited company in Scotland so it could join the industry body FinTech Scotland.

“I was introduced to Scotland through Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International,” said Gobbill chief executive Shendon Ewans. “Our official position is that we haven’t selected a location yet. I’ve had look at Singapore, London and across Australia. But Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, has drawn us a lot closer. Although your fintech ecosystem is quite small, there’s actually quite a lot happening, so it really punches above its weight.”

Mr Ewans said Gobbill had increased its monthly recurring revenue in Australia by more than 2,000% in the nine months since January 2020 and was looking to launch in the UK because it had the world’s second highest incidence of fraud and scams after America.

“Payment fraud and scams have grown seven fold in the UK over the last three years,” he said. “But since COVID hit, in the month of March alone it grew something like 400%.”

Mr Ewans said Gobbill’s technology was originally designed to help people pay bills on time, but was extended to include fraud detection after he and his brother Simon, a software engineer in the business, saw their own father fall victim to a payment scam.

“He double clicked an invoice attachment in an email and it downloaded some malware onto his machine, which then recorded all his actions for the coming weeks after that,” Mr Ewans explained. “So they were able to steal his identity, his log-on, his internet banking, his email and port his phone number across.”

Mr Ewans’ father, Stephen, a retired marine engineer who used to work at Rosyth naval dockyard in Fife, eventually got back the $8,300 that had been cleared from his bank account, but the anxiety was terrible.

“It’s something that has happened to so many people,” Mr Ewans said. “And as we explored it more, we found it was also a major accounts payable problem.”

The £2m funding would help the business recruit a “significant” number of employees in engineering roles including data, artificial intelligence and integration.

In March this year, Gobbill was accepted into the NatWest and Royal Bank FinTech Accelerator, which operates from locations across the UK. The company chose to be based out of the network’s Accelerator Hub in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, but has yet to move in because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“We hope the UK will be an amazing landscape for us to grow and to springboard into both the EU and US markets,” Mr Ewans said. “For us to start from Australia, move to the UK and then to the US would take us to pretty much 70% of the world’s addressable fraud market, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”

He said Gobbill had already secured a portion of the funding as follow-on investment from existing funders.

Since 2008, Engage Invest Exploit has helped more than 500 tech companies raise more than £750m in investment. The event was originally scheduled to take place in April at Edinburgh University’s McEwan Hall.