Property and Fintech Start-up, iknowa, Launches New Platform
The London-based tech startup leverages AI, ML, and cognitive technologies to address inefficiencies, transforming the way building and renovation projects are procured and performed for homeowners, property developers and tradespeople.
iknowa, a property and financial technology startup, that is making building and renovation projects easier, safer and more efficient, today, announced its availability in the greater London area.
Historically, tradespeople have struggled to generate quality leads through existing referral websites that charge fees, regardless of if the tradesperson gets the job or not. Similarly, homeowners and developers have struggled to find quality tradespeople due to the inability from existing platforms to comprehensively verify the quality, workmanship and expertise of tradespeople.
iknowa’s patented software applies ML & AI to assist homeowners, property developers and tradespeople in analysing project quality and performance to proactively address issues before they arise. Through automation and optimisation, the platform reduces time and money spent on administrative tasks, while enhancing the posting, quoting and management, for all user groups.
Connected and underpinned by a banking infrastructure, iknowa’s applied algorithms handle proprietary methods of ranking user groups and organisation performance to improve project quality and support business development. Project-related data is securely stored to increase trust, reduce waste and improve quality.
“For too long, the construction industry has lagged behind when it comes to tech adoption that increases overall efficiency, transparency & simplifies project processes. iknowa equips homeowners & tradespeople with innovative, transparent and cost-effective tools, freeing users from repetitive and time-consuming tasks so that they can spend more time on what they do best and what they love. iknowa is well-positioned to bring big tech experience to the home construction and renovation industry with a platform that provides a better experience and safety to all stakeholders.” - Allar Ahtmann, Chairman and CEO of iknowa
Benefits for Tradespeople
iknowa’s platform offers tradespeople continuous personalised support in building a reputable business portfolio, while providing them with a free and simple way to find and quote on jobs. Combining AI and standardised frameworks, iknowa easily enables tradespeople to convert quotes into project plans through integrated project management tools, reducing time and money spent on administrative tasks while guaranteeing payments for jobs won. iknowa creates personalised pathways for junior tradespeople, providing them with new and unique opportunities to gain experience while enabling established tradespeople access to skilled junior talent. The platform’s intelligent infrastructure is built in a way that serves homeowners more than any other service on the market, which, in turn, increases the consistent workflow for our tradespeople.
Benefits for Homeowners/Property Developers
iknowa offers a user-friendly, free and simple way to post building and renovation jobs. The intuitive platform enables homeowners and property developers to compare tradespeople for hire and receive quotes. Using iknowa AI assistance, users can track and manage job progress while ensuring protected payments through a secure escrow account. iknowa provides continued personalised support to homeowners and property developers throughout the entirety of the project.
"Technology adoption is influenced by its nature to be complementary or disruptive to an industry. At iknowa, we chose to work with our market to create a platform built upon trust, transparency and safety. Put simply, our users want a solution that provides opportunity, while eliminating the current associated risks. iknowa is the only company that is dedicated to addressing the concerns related to quality, reliability, and miscommunication associated with the building and renovation projects, head-on while simplifying the otherwise convoluted building and renovation industry.” - Keano Chang, President and COO of iknowa
iknowa is a London-based property and financial technology startup that is disrupting the outdated home construction and renovation industry by connecting homeowners and property developers with over 500 validated tradespeople while providing unprecedented access to project status and data. Through AI and ML, the platform provides all parties with continuous support to ensure successful projects.
Insurtechs are winning the race with legacy system companies
Nestled in its own place within the world of financial services, insurance is arguably more unpopular than retail banking.
That’s hardly surprising given that, from a customer service perspective, insurance is something of an off-kilter transaction. You pay a sizable premium in exchange for a service you hope you will never have to use. This image problem is exacerbated by ubiquitous tales of insurers not paying out when it is time to make a claim.
The insurance sector has long been due to an overhaul, and this is where the disruptive force of insurtech comes in - one of fintech’s most upwardly mobile subcategories. Accordingly, last year, insurtech in the UK alone attracted £262m in investment, a growth of 60% on 2019, according to Tech Nation. Insurtech’s momentous growth has been captured in a new report by The AI Journal exploring this burgeoning sector.
What exactly is insurtech?
Put simply, insurtech refers to technological innovations that seek to make insurance cheaper to buy and more efficient to use. In a similar vein to fintech, the large, established institutions have been dipping their toes into insurtech, but it’s the disruptors who are genuinely looking to shake up the status quo, diving into and exploiting those areas that traditionalists have little imperative to explore.
Examples are price comparison sites (one of the earliest forms of insurtech that was eventually snapped up by the insurers it initially sought to disrupt), claims software, customisable policies, or even smart-tech-enabled dynamic policies whose premiums can fluctuate depending on changing circumstances.
The latter, for instance, could use someone’s fitness tracker or smartwatch to monitor fitness levels, thus reducing the premium of a life insurance policy; or track a GPS system that records the location of a car and assesses risk levels accordingly.
Most consumers tend to shop around for their insurance needs and perhaps end up buying their contents insurance with one provider, their car insurance with someone else, and their pet insurance with yet another underwriter. Managing all these different policies, with their varying renewal dates and payment terms can be complex. This has led to the increase in apps that pull everything together.
More prosaically, insurtechs are developing AI that uses machine learning to act as an insurance broker, eliminating the need for a human intermediary and therefore offering more cost-effective and impartial advice.
Insurtechs and risk
But there are some obstacles in the way of insurtech’s continued evolution.
Insurance companies are averse to risk. Understandably so, as at the crux of the industry is the role of the actuary, whose job it is to analyse and measure the probability and risk of future events. So it’s little wonder that there’s a reluctance among the traditional players to welcome the disruption that insurtech brings.
Insurance is heavily regulated, a minefield of legality and labyrinthine jurisdiction, which means the idea of shaking it up can be anathema. And why would they, when their old-school business models are working perfectly fine?
There’s an understandable nervousness and unwillingness to work with startups, who themselves need to work with the bigger firms in order to underwrite risk.
While it seems like a catch-22 situation, there is growing, if cautious, interest from insurance companies, who can see the benefits of insurance with a friendlier face, innovative solutions, and a competitive edge through differentiation. As that tentativeness dissipates, the growth of insurtech will gather even more momentum.
Tom Allen's analysis is based on the findings of a new report on the fintech and insurtech industries produced by The AI Journal.