Ripcord's AI & robotics technology digitally transforms MUFG Bank’s document workflow


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Mr. Sam Fahmy, CEO of Ripcord

Ripcord provides an end-to-end document management solution leveraging robotics and AI technology and helps businesses to unlock value from paper-based data. Its robotic machines, equipped with a document feeding mechanism capable of automatically removing staples, document scanning and high-resolution optical character recognition (OCR), automate data digitization process. The digitally-extracted information is classified and stored in the cloud, which allows for quick search and information retrieval. The reduced need for human action in the workflow allows businesses to digitize data with speed, at scale and securely. Ripcord’s solution comes in handy for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), seeking to overcome an intractable challenge.

Amidst its recent digital transformation efforts, MUFG, with an over 360-year history, saw the need to digitize legacy documents. A relic of traditional practices is the paper-based identification form used to associate personal identification seals (known as hanko in Japanese) with client accounts. MUFG, which achieved its current scale through mergers and integrations of several banks, now possesses more than 300 million pages worth of these documents in warehouse storage. The sheer volume of these documents would require decades of manual labor by dedicated staff, without the digitization process. The task is further complicated by the inconsistent formats of documents used across the entities that merged to form MUFG. By using Ripcord’s high-speed and high-accuracy solution, MUFG would save both the time required for digitization, and the operational costs associated with outsourcing physical document management to external vendors.

In July 2020 MUFG Bank announced its decision to implement Ripcord’s solution for its hanko document digitization project. In compliance with Japanese data regulations, Ripcord’s robotic machines were deployed in a dedicated facility established by MUFG in its Shikatsu Center in Nagoya. The start of the project implementation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to getting the project off the ground, with issues associated with setting up of machines and on-premise adjustments needed to meet MUFG’s use case requirements. The international travel restrictions imposed by most countries in mid-2020 caused difficulties for Ripcord’s engineers to enter Japan to address these issues. Ripcord and MUFG staff collaborated to resolve these issues, with the result that all deployed machines are now fully operational and the project is on track.

Digitalization needs transcend borders and business sectors. In its U.S. home market, Ripcord provides its solution to clients across a wide variety of sectors, such as financial services, professional services as well as gas and oil sectors. The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also looking to tap Ripcord for tax document processing. In Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (a Japanese governmental agency promoting economic and social growth in developing countries) announced its decision in 2023 to tap Fujifilm Ripcord, a joint venture between Ripcord and Fujifilm, for its digitalization needs.

Ripcord continues to innovate and increase the value it provides to clients through its service offering. It recently announced its integration with OpenAI and is developing a generative AI tool called Docufai that is designed for an elevated document discovery experience, enabling clients to search terms in scanned documents using natural language queries. The company aims to provide this product in combination with the data digitization service - Docufai Express - on a subscription basis.

Ripcord was founded in 2014 in Hayward, California, and has since raised a total of US$117.5 million from five rounds of funding from institutional investors including Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, prominent tech individuals like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and major tech companies like Baidu in China.

In addition to being a client, MUFG is an investor through its corporate venture capital arm MUFG Innovation Partners (MUIP). The innovative company was uncovered by MUFG’s Global Innovation Team in Silicon Valley. Following the start of the MUFG-Ripcord collaboration project in 2020, MUIP made a strategic investment in 2021 due to several factors. First, Ripcord’s seamless integration between hardware and software was unique in the market. Second, it proved to be a salient solution to the digital transformation challenge faced by MUFG. Third, Ripcord’s track record of winning notable clients across sectors illustrate the widespread need for the company’s solution, indicating immense growth potential. Ultimately, MUIP’s investment was aimed at strengthening the collaborative relationship with Ripcord, and illustrate MUFG as a lighthouse collaboration use case for some of MUFG’s large corporate clients with similar digitalization needs in Japan and beyond.

Ripcord's AI & robotics technology digitally transforms MUFG Bank’s document workflow