Daniel Gill, Founder and CEO
Augnet extracts unique data through an encrypted global network of devices to validate the quality of hundreds of SMS providers. Messages sent via Augnet are optimised via its routing algorithm.
In 2018, Daniel Gill, ex-Skype/Microsoft and angel investor, founded Augnet to address the global lack of governance in SMS messaging. As more businesses use messaging to communicate with clients, the volumes and sensitivity have surged.
While serving as Head of Telecommunications at Skype/Microsoft, Daniel observed that as the number of smartphone users increased, more and more industries were turning to SMS messaging as a method of communication, from digital banking authorisations and online transactions to password confirmations.
While this was and continues to be an effective method of communication for businesses, Daniel realised that it wasn't entirely infallible. Currently, 1 in every 20 messages is not delivered, and there is no regulation or compliance within the SMS industry.
Daniel explains, "Sending an SMS is not foolproof, as there are 'grey routes'—or unlicensed paths—where fraudsters can buy and sell data. And it doesn't matter how large or small a business may be (whether it's Google or Microsoft); it's impossible to get suitable compliance in this supply chain.”
This is where Augnet comes in. It’s the world's first SMS quality assurance platform, using real data insights. Using proprietary technology, Augnet measures the flight path of an SMS across a wide range of SMS suppliers, ensuring that messages are not only delivered but delivered to pre-defined quality levels.
Fast forward to the present, Augnet has been announced as a national winner of Tech Nation's rising stars competition.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Augnet is continuing to innovate. Daniel explains, "In about six months, we'll be introducing a new technology, which will enable us to encrypt SMS, which is a world first!"
Elon Musk recently revealed that Twitter had been victim to a staggering $60 million dollars a year of SMS fraud, with many SMS suppliers creating fraudulent accounts to inflate Twitter's bill artificially. Augnet's cutting-edge technology is well-timed, providing a solution to this issue and protecting businesses from losses like these.
"This problem isn't limited to Twitter; there's a huge amount of big tech, big corp companies, who have that same issue as Twitter, which is why it's the perfect time for our encryption technology; it tackles the problem head-on", says Daniel.
With exclusive rights to the new technology and their first mobile network operator signed up to distribute it, it looks bright for Augnet.
The EmpowerRD team are delighted to have helped Augnet claim R&D tax relief for such significant innovation.
After a period of intense R&D to create their proprietary technology, Augnet were looking to work with an advisor for their first R&D tax relief claim.
Although it was Augnet's first claim, with over six years as an angel investor, Daniel has worked closely with several other companies claiming R&D tax relief.
"I have worked with some large companies in the past whose expenses are much higher than ours, and they tended to work with advisors whose fees were quite high. I recall that the process was quite long because of all the interviews. We are a small company, so we wanted something that wouldn't be too time-consuming."
Speaking with EmpowerRD's team helped the Augnet team make its decision. The online platform, combined with help from specialist R&D advisors, gave them a mix of what they were looking for.
EmpowerRD is also, on average, 6 x cheaper than the traditional providers Daniel worked with in the past, which was another bonus.
"There were three factors we considered. First, was the technical expertise of the team there? Second, would the advisor’s process efficiently use our time and resources? Third, was the pricing competitive? And after consideration, EmpowerRD felt like a good combination of all those three things."
"We allocated a bunch of time to make our claim with EmpowerRD, and we actually ended up over-forecasting; it's one of the few projects where this has been the case."
Working with EmpowerRD
Over the past few years, Augnet has had exactly what they were looking for with EmpowerRD.
‘We’ve found working with you a relatively light touch. We can add the costs and technical details through the platform, but we also have that bit of human interaction throughout.”
Daniel adds, “At Augnet, we work in quite an agile environment, so we allocate work sprints to each project that we do. We allocated a bunch of time to make our claim with you, and we actually ended up over-forecasting; it’s one of the few projects where this has been the case.”
In fact, using EmpowerRD is significantly faster than taking the traditional provider route! On average, we’re 150% faster.
Whilst the process has been a ‘light touch’ and efficient use of their time and resources, Daniel has also been impressed with the level of expertise and responsiveness from EmpowerRD’s team.
“We could log on to the platform, attack parts of the claim for half an hour, submit something, get the feedback we needed from our client success manager and go again. Working in smaller manageable blocks really benefited the way we work.”