Dublin company Webio has received €500,000 investment from Finch Capital to complete €1.5m in pre-series A funding.

The company, which delivers credit, collections and payments using AI, said the funding will be used to hire more employees, particularly in the area of AI.

It said it will double its Research and Development team, and expand the sales and customer success teams to address the market demand.

"The credit and collections industry is ripe for disruption, its approach to its customers is outdated and the sector has been overlooked for far too long," said Mike Brennan, Principal at Finch Capital.

"It's an extremely large market which is set for significant growth, and we believe that as a specialist in this space, Webio is extremely well positioned to lead the industry in a new direction where customer engagement across the debt cycle is a positive experience," he said.

Webio operates in the 'conversational AI' market which is expected to grow to €11 billion by 2024.

While its customers have been predominantly in the Irish and UK markets, Webio has recently secured several key partnerships in Europe and the USA.

With AI assisted conversations, Webio said it is shifting the balance of power back in the favour of the consumer, giving them more control in how they engage with their lenders.

"Businesses are moving from simple telephone systems to chat, messaging, and now to intelligent assistants," said Cormac O'Neill, CEO and co-founder of Webio.

"We will not only help customers with service issues but also help them execute transactions and make more informed choices.

"Buy now pay later (BNPL) and embedded finance are two new high growth areas that we are seeing significant traction in," he said.

Mr O'Neill said this latest investment is another step in the company's development plans to change how the sector works.

"Conversations about money are hard, they can be difficult to understand, and they can be stressful.

"We believe that the industry is poised for change and that Webio will deliver a future where these difficult conversations are made easier and managed better," he said.