Airts adds FreeAgent co-founder to board and appoints first marketing director

Left to right - Alastair Andrew (co-founder and CTO), Andrew Bone (co-founder and CEO) an Richard Cassidy (CCO)
Left to right - Alastair Andrew (co-founder and CTO), Andrew Bone (co-founder and CEO) an Richard Cassidy (CCO)

Edinburgh-based start-up Arts has appointed former Skyscanner Growth Marketing Lead Melissa McMahon as the company’s first Marketing Director and added FreeAgent co-founder and Chief Product Officer Roan Lavery to its board.

Both appointments are in response to growing global demand for the company’s resource optimisation solution, Braid. Braid is an AI-powered people planning and project management platform for the professional services industry, currently used by two of the Big Four accountancy firms.

Airts was founded in 2013 by Andrew Bone and Alastair Andrew, both computer science graduates, with Bone becoming a Chartered Accountant, and Andrew earning a PhD in combinatorial optimisation.

Together they spotted an opportunity to take combinatorial optimisation technology out of academia and into businesses whose volume, complexity and variability would tangibly benefit from its practical application.

Combinatorial optimisation is defined as “computers intelligently solving complex planning and optimisation problems”.

Having successfully developed and launched Braid as a unique solution for optimising professional service firms’ profitability, client satisfaction, and employee happiness, the business is now scaling to meet growing demand worldwide.

To support more than 10,000 Braid users across four continents, the Airts team doubled in size in 2018, and looks set to double headcount again in 2019.

As co-founder and Chief Product Officer of FreeAgent, one of Scotland’s most successful start-ups, Roan Lavery has over a decade’s experience implementing strategy, scaling operations, and building a world-class product organisation. Lavery commented, “I’m excited to work with the talented team at Airts, helping them to scale Braid, a product already solving real customer problems with leading-edge technology.”

Prior to Skyscanner, Melissa McMahon served in senior marketing roles for global B2B organisations in companies such as American Express, and earlier as a consultant in top-tier professional services firms such as Capgemini.  McMahon added, “The Airts team has done a phenomenal job building Braid. My focus will be on sharing the learnings with our customers and the industry at large, connecting with the global community we know will get value from Braid”.

Andrew Bone, Airts co-founder and CEO said; “We’re delighted to have both, Roan and Melissa join us, their expertise will be invaluable as we scale the business to meet and capitalise on the  growing demand we’re experiencing.”

Braid solves an increasingly high profile problem for leading accountancy firms. These firms have been coming under increased scrutiny  for how they manage their audit operations and

Braid solves this problem with its AI-powered planning and engagement management technology, providing real-time economics data to ensure utilisation and recovery rates are as they should be.  Braid can analyse more than 40,000 scheduling options per second, instantly factoring in changes and disruptions to maintain optimal project and workforce plans at all times, no matter what happens.

Braid won the ScotlandIS 2019 Best New Product award, and the company is looking to double headcount for a third year running to meet growing global demand for its technology.

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