A software artificial intelligence (AI) company in Manchester has raised £4m in equity funding from a consortium of private and institutional investors.

Ditto AI Ltd has patented a scalable technology for creating software advisor bots which replicate the expertise and accountability of real humans.

The company's first vertical market is environmental, health and safety (EHS), where its products are now being used across a range of public sector organisations, FTSE 250 companies and private businesses.

The funds secured from IP Group plc and Parkwalk Advisors will allow Ditto to extend its presence in the EHS market, further develop its core platform technology and deliver new commercial applications in tax and healthcare.

Ditto claims that its technology addresses the fundamental shortcoming in so-called 'black box' approaches to artificial intelligence: the system's inability to explain its reasoning.

The company's applications solve problems and provide conclusions in clear, plain language, giving them an all-important human touch.

"People are increasingly concerned about a perceived lack of accountability in the field of AI and we believe our solutions, which provide clear audit trails, have an important part to play in addressing that problem," said founder and CEO Rick Turner.

"Our technology has been many years in the making and this fundraise is a welcome validation of that effort. We now have not only a viable technology platform, but also demonstrable commercial traction in its use.

"These funds will enable us to capitalise on our early successes and reach for the goal of establishing Ditto as a leading AI company. We are very excited to be embarking on this next phase of the company's growth."