The writing is on the wall. It’s not coming, it’s already here: inflation, a.k.a. cost of living increases. From skyrocketing energy prices and more expensive tube and taxi rides to the cost of goods and services suddenly rising a £1 or two more, buckle up folks, as the UK economy alone hasn’t seen numbers like this since John Major sat on the frontbench.
Determined to put the power of fintech in the hands of everyday consumers like you and me, London-based startup Nous (like house, but the French translation of We is also applicable) has raised $9 million in a seed funding round and is offering to help make sense of our cents.
Operating at a household level, a process that goes well beyond open banking and requires a whole lotta additional integrations, Nous accounts for energy, insurance, mortgages, broadband, and any number of subscription services, and wrangles all the first and third-party data feeds into one corral, presenting them in an easy-to-understand dashboard.
Moreover, the AI will analyse the situation and offer up a series of savings and actions that can be enacted to keep as many of our hard-earned tuppences in our collective pockets.
Nous taps into vendor and supplier activities and alerts consumers of any shady pricing activities, including the all-dreaded “loyalty tax”, an action that when left unchecked costs UK consumers over £4 billion per year. Nous claims that they can save the average consumer more than £1,000 per year.
As with any AI-powered system, the larger the data set, the more effective the algorithm will be. Nous is no exception to this rule, and the startup points out that the more people who use their service, over time, the better it will become.
Essentially, Nous is out to help punters like you and me not only understand what the rising cost of living means to our daily lives but to see it with our very own eyes.
Saving the savings
Now if the names Emma, Cleo and/or Snoop are coming to mind, you'd be heading down the right path, however, CEO and founder Greg Marsh pointed out to me that Nous is different in the sense that these offers are, "mostly a pretext to try to sell advertising or earn commissions from insurers or energy companies. We aren’t an advertising business."
With this in mind, Nous has pledged to never accept a dime via this mechanism, offering its basic services to all, and charging only a premium for an automation service the company is building out.
"What we’re building is far more ambitious than a dashboard: it’s an automation service that actually initiates service management for you. In that sense, it’s more like an autopilot for household admin," explained Marsh.
Nous’ $9 million seed round was led by Mosaic Ventures, and saw participation from a who’s who list over 65 angel investors, including Tom Blomfield (co-founder of GoCardless & Monzo), Marc Warner (co-founder & CEO of Faculty.ai), Dan Hegarty (founder & CEO of Habito), Eamon Jubbawy (co-founder of Onfido), Brent Hoberman, ActiveHotels (Booking.com) co-founder Andy Phillipps, one of the original architects of OpenBanking, John Gibson, former Amazon UK head Christopher North, and John Fingleton (former head of the Office of Fair Trading, now CMA).
“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!,” commented Mosiac Ventures’ Toby Coppel. “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.”