NoBias gets new funding — Aims to attract more women to the tech industry

The project to revitalize the male-dominated tech industry has received new funding. NoBias, a new language processing tool, uses AI to create more inclusive communications to attract more women to the industry. – There is still work to be done, but we see great potential in this product, says Karin Sjöö Åkeblom, CEO of Tromb.

An industry at the frontline, but with a dated and non-inclusive communication style. Recruitment ads with word choices such as ”you will get a beer for the game after work” are a common occurrence – something that contributes to qualified candidates not finding themselves interested in the recruiting company.

NoBias is a project partially funded by the Swedish innovation agency, Vinnova, with the mission to solve the problem by using AI to find words and expressions that unknowingly exclude people and to review communications from a norm-critical perspective. With the help of AI- and design researchers, as well as language and gender experts, Substorm together with Luleå Tekniska Universitet (LTU), Tromb, and Teknikkvinnor have developed a successful prototype where the technology and the algorithm do what we set out to accomplish. The big challenge has been – and continues to be – to find sufficient training data to get the algorithm to function optimally.

– The challenge has been to create an AI model that is not biased, which we know from experience to be very hard to do. The collaboration between gender experts, developers, and designers have been intense; working this closely together is demanding but also extremely rewarding. This has brought about insights between the contributors, which we would have never gotten otherwise, says Sofi Elfving, founder and CEO at Substorm.

After a successful start of the project, NoBias has now secured new funding, where Vinnova has granted 2,6 million SEK to be spent over a three-year period. While currently, the tool works much like a spelling correction program that only analyses text, the project team has the goal to include pictures and moving images in the analysis.

– Visual communication has an enormous impact on how we interpret a brand, a company, or an organization. If we can include generative imagery that is more inclusive, we can go far with the service, says Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, professor and design lead at LTU. – In the future, we would like to add more aspects like ethnicity and age; the associated AI challenges are something we want to solve.

In brief

About LTU

Luleå University of Technology is experiencing strong growth with world-leading competence in several research areas. Our research is conducted closely with industries such as LKAB, Ericsson, Boliden, ABB, SKF, and leading international universities and national and regional actors. Luleå University of Technology has a total turnover of SEK 1.9 billion per year, and we currently have 1,815 employees and 19,155 students. Read more here:

About Teknikkvinnor

Teknikkvinnor Sverige AB are experts in gender equality and inclusion within the technology industries. They support companies, everything from industry and workshops to tech, with DEI strategies, lectures, training, and workshops to create inclusive organizations with business benefits and profitability in focus. In 2017, Teknikkvinnor founded what is today Sweden’s largest network, with 32,400 women and non-binary people who work, study, or are interested in technology. Read more here:

About Tromb

Tromb operates in digital business development and develops companies by creating extraordinary experiences driven by creative solid minds and deeply rooted in the technology, data, and business strategy required for operational excellence. Tromb creates unified brand experiences with business models that transform industries and foster meaningful relationships with users. An integrated way of thinking has made Tromb one of Sweden’s fastest-growing companies in digital business development. Read more here:

About Substorm

Substorm is a young consultancy and tech company with deep experience in business development and research within the Intelligent Automation area. We work with Applied AI and Intelligent Automation and make it available for more companies and organizations by lowering the entry threshold and offering concrete and understandable solutions that immediately generate business value. We believe that Intelligent Automation and Artificial Intelligence are keys to a more sustainable future. That is why we take responsibility for ourselves and our customers while at the same time being brave to drive change and create new solutions. We have fun and make our clients’ jobs more fun.

For more information, please contact:

Sofi Elfving, CEO Substorm
+46 (0)70-359 40 68

Jonna Hillblom, CMO Substorm
+46 (0)72-215 03 88