A Chat with Kendal Parmar, CEO & Co-Founder at Untapped AI

Kendal Parmar, CEO & Co-Founder at Untapped AI

Untapped AI was founded by myself and Brendan O’Hara in 2015. I have a background in business psychology and designed the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ methodology for the Sunday Times, which is still used by organisations all over the world. On the other hand, Brendan has a vast background in finance and technology, and has worked with leading organisations such as JP Morgan. We combined our expertise to form Untapped AI.

Untapped AI’s technology provides accurate, raw, unfiltered data for companies and helps employers and individuals identify problems before they become apparent. After recognising that a lot of organisations fail to create successful change, we wanted to specialise in providing grassroots data to drive business transformation and speed up the pace of change from the bottom up. We bring emotional intelligence to technology, and our insights combine transformational human relationships with the power of AI feedback, all tailored to the individual.

Combining the psychology of leadership with the technology of AI, the Untapped ‘accelerator platform’ creates personalised data insights and provides coaching for individuals to help them reach their untapped potential.
Our AI and You – Untapped

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

With phone addiction having a negative effect on a lot of youth, we wanted to change the narrative and create something positive, from AI taking to AI giving. Allowing technology and AI to be helpful, and to be used as a tool to provide useful knowledge about ourselves, increasing our self-awareness.

Untapped combines the psychology of good leadership and coaching with AI technology, creating a truly personalised coaching program that provides long-term insights and trends for businesses. Instead of using AI to help increase sales or get more customers, we wanted AI to help individuals learn about themselves and see what small improvements and adjustments they need to incorporate in order to help make a difference and transform their organisation. What we do is aggregate individual data and feed it up to the people driving change from the bottom up.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

Being a fully remote company for over five years when the pandemic hit gave us a real advantage. Working from home was normal for us. We continued to work through with little furlough assistance. We really understood all the challenges remote working brings with it: helping our users to communicate online, manage from home and feel connected with others, all whilst maintaining the necessary boundaries. We have all experienced ourselves and learnt how to make the best of it.

Our workforce is 75% female, so most of us faced real issues with our workspace being shared with many others! Pre-pandemic we worked from home alone whilst our children were at school and partners were at work, but then we found ourselves sharing our space with our families or flat-mates. The toll of the housework and childcare not surprisingly fell primarily onto women in this pandemic and that was no different for us. It was a huge juggling act and needed resourcefulness and resilience and ‘taking our own medicine’ was crucial. We really had to make space for ourselves.

Every day mental health also came right to the forefront – because of the pandemic the demand for what we offered exploded. Since March 2020, we have increased our Accelerator (coaches) community by 150% to meet demand for our platform. Typically, companies rely on Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to help people with mental health issues. However, the pandemic took its toll on our ‘everyday mental health’ and people having a way to measure it and talk about it in a safe space was invaluable. On average on our platform we lowered anxiety by 14% and increased well-being by 23%.

We also encountered unique leadership challenges. Remote working meant leaders had to take on many extra responsibilities for the wellbeing of their people. They quickly had to become more rounded leaders – and this continues today. Leaders are alongside their teams as they deal with grief and loss, and other mental health challenges. Leaders were initially ill-equipped for this and Untapped AI was there to support them to rise to the challenge.

What can we hope to see from Untapped AI in the future?

At Untapped AI, we’re calling for companies to stop using surveys, and are creating a new category for transformational change through personalised data insights.

Surveys simply don’t provide accurate data, with employees not answering survey questions truthfully. Alongside this, only 10-15% of people have high self-awareness. We have also found that 75% of change initiatives do not work in companies as they drive the change through the use of surveys, which is a flawed methodology. For this reason, employees do not buy into the initiative. To combat this, Untapped AI provides accurate, unfiltered, uncensored data insight that companies can actually use to make effective strategic decisions.

We aim to open a philanthropic arm in the future where we can provide our services to people and companies who are not able to financially afford it, and help everyone find the self-awareness they need in order to improve and make a much-needed change.