Sunday, June 23, 2024

Nous, service to help households face the cost of living crisis, raises $9m seed

Nous (to rhyme with ‘house’) a London-based fintech start-up, has announced it has raised a $9m seed financing round to build out its service that helps households get smart and stay vigilant as they navigate the imminent cost of living crisis.

UK households are facing an unprecedented cost of living squeeze driven by soaring energy prices, increased transportation and fuel costs, rising prices of everyday goods and services, and compounded by increased interest rates and NI tax increases. It is estimated that the average UK household may be as much as £3,000 out of pocket in the next 12 months, in the worst squeeze on household incomes for 30 years – a £90bn problem just in the UK.

Nous’s proprietary tech platform – available on mobile, tablet and desktop at http://nous.co – aggregates first and third party data feeds to power a real time personalised dashboard of a household’s finances along with actionable insights. By monitoring vendor activity, Nous will provide the vigilance to protect consumers from vendors who would otherwise take advantage of their inattention by hiking prices or levying loyalty taxes. Across energy, insurance, mortgages, broadband and other subscriptions, Nous will save a typical household more than £1,000 a year.

The more people who join the platform, the smarter it gets. As the business scales out of closed beta, this anonymised dataset on vendor activity is used to train its models so it can progressively automate routine household decisions, such as when to renegotiate a contract or execute a switch to a more optimal service provider that meets a minimum threshold of service quality and reliability.

Unlike the web 1.0 switching and comparison sites, the company has a strict commitment to neutrality. To underwrite its status as a consumer champion, rather than making money from advertising or commissions, it will offer a free dashboard with the option to upgrade to a paid subscription service for its premium automation service.

The company, founded in 2021 by a team of serial entrepreneurs headed by former venture capitalist and onefinestay founder & CEO Greg Marsh, has raised funds from a who’s who of angels, entrepreneurs and investors.

The round, led by Mosaic Ventures, involves participation from more than 65 leading angel investors, including renowned tech entrepreneurs such as Tom Blomfield (co-founder of GoCardless & Monzo), Marc Warner (co-founder & CEO of AI pioneer Faculty.ai), Dan Hegarty (founder & CEO of leading digital mortgage company Habito), Eamon Jubbawy (co-founder of fintech unicorn Onfido), serial entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, ActiveHotels (Booking.com) co-founder Andy Phillipps, ex-number-10 strategist John Gibson (one of the original architects of OpenBanking), Christopher North (the former head of Amazon UK), and John Fingleton (former head of the Office of Fair Trading, now CMA), among many others.

The founding team of experienced serial entrepreneurs is joined by a growing group of elite senior engineers, designers and marketing specialists with prior experience from companies such as Brainlabs, Deliveroo, Disney, Emma, Facebook, Flatfair, GDS, Habito, Just, McKinsey, Ocado, onefinestay, Tandem and Tails. The leadership team of five comprises:

  • Greg Marsh, CEO, founded & led pioneering accommodation marketplace onefinestay through to its successful exit to French hotel giant Accor in 2016 in a deal worth more than $200m. Greg cut his teeth as an investor with Index Ventures in London, and has previously advised the UK government, served as a board member of Amnesty International, and taught entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School.

  • Christian Hølmer, CTO, the co-founder of several successful start-ups including leading Danish ticketing marketplace Billetto and influencer network platform Bloggers Delight, before a stint as an engineering leader at Facebook London.

  • Lydia Howland, Head of Service Development, headed customer research at Deliveroo through IPO after roles at Tails and GDS. Lydia started her career at thinktank Demos before 11 years as a design and innovation consultant at IDEO.

  • Jon Rudoe, Chief Commercial Officer, a subscription commerce expert, was part of the early team that scaled Ocado and later a senior executive and management board member at Sainsburys.

  • Glen Walker, COO, co-founded Trouva after several years working with Greg at onefinestay and before that at McKinsey in London.

The new capital will be used to scale up the product team. With a greenfield tech stack, the company is currently hiring senior full stack engineers who share its passion for building products from the ground up to improve people’s lives.

Greg Marsh, founder & CEO, said, “At a time when UK citizens are facing the worst inflation crisis for 30 years, household expenses are the largest component of people’s living costs, and yet most of us are routinely exploited by companies who hack our inattention to sneak in loyalty taxes at every turn. Nous will change that. Unlike anyone else in this field, we’re on the side of households, and we’re building a service to make people’s lives simpler and fairer.”

Toby Coppel, co-founder & General Partner, Mosaic Ventures, said, “Having worked with Greg before, we are absolutely delighted to support him and his outstanding team as they build a service that deploys sophisticated tech in a robustly ethical way – it’s like a cross between Which and Google! Nous can deliver a really positive impact on people’s lives during a time of mounting stress and anxiety. It’s tremendously exciting to invest in such a huge commercial opportunity which also has such enormous potential to do good.”

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