Meet Alexander Siedes, CEO at PropTech Firm: Homeppl

Alexander Siedes

Homeppl creates financial inclusion. We use the latest anti-fraud technology, data analytics, Open Banking, and behavioural analysis to create equal opportunity in the rental market. Our platform enables people to access the financial products they want based on their true financial abilities, rather than their credit file.

Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs), e.g. Experian or Equifax, are limited because they aggregate consumers data from domestic lenders or utility companies. Any person that doesn’t engage with businesses that share data with the CRAs is “invisible” to the system and automatically considered to be “high-risk”, subsequently meaning they are financially discriminated against. Unlike CRAs, we collect and authenticate consumers’ data directly from the consumers.

We use Fraud Tech and Open Banking to determine the real financial risk of people. Our disruptive technology revolutionises service transactions: firstly, we can fairly consider any person from anywhere around the world, regardless of their nationality or country of origin, including students, internationals, and self-employed. This is evidenced by our 96% approval rate of applicants, which is 25% higher than average. Secondly, we protect our clients from fraud and default. We’ve been trading for nearly five years and take pride in our 0% default and false negatives, compared with the 8% average default in the UK.

Homeppl’s latest Fraud Tech addition is “Error Level Analysis” (ELA) which is the analysis of compression artifacts in digital data with lossy compression such as JPEG. In layman’s terms, it’s another deeper level of analysis to identify when documents have been tampered with. This, therefore, means that our clients can have even greater confidence in the protection we provide.

We chose to start in the rental market for two reasons. Firstly, tenants make between 40% and 50% of all citizens in OECD countries meaning the opportunity is massive, and, secondly, it’s absolutely crucial for landlords to ensure that their tenants can pay rent because terminating a rental contract or evicting tenants is incredibly difficult and time-consuming.

We work with a whole range of property businesses, such as high-end real estate companies Knight Frank, JLL, Chestertons, Carter Jonas, Quintain Living, and large property marketplaces, such as Spotahome.

Rental fraud is out there. Our data shows that up to 5% of all tenant checks are fraud attempts, therefore fraud analysis is becoming increasingly more necessary and sophisticated.
Senior Frontend Engineer - Homeppl | Otta

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

As CEO and Founder of Homeppl, I experienced first-hand the difficulties foreign nationals with no previous credit files face when trying to rent a property in the UK, before I started this business. Perfectly sound tenants are regularly discriminated against simply because they do not have credit reports and I was one of them. I Co-founded Homeppl with the intention of filling this void and creating financial inclusion for everyone.

Not only do existing tenant checks exclude tenants from the process by deeming them ineligible, they are also very slow. For example, there are 500 million adults in OECD countries without credit history and on average it takes 240 hours to complete a rental check. Verification processes are so complex and archaic that in March 2017, more than 150,000 people in the UK signed a petition to be able to reuse rental data and consume it with other financial related products.

Homeppl is backed by some of the world’s best Fintech VCs, such as Ascension and Fair By Design, based in London, and recently launched in eight other European countries.

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The pandemic allowed us to do two things very well. Firstly, increase industry awareness of the need to have the right tools to fight fraud in the new remote economy. Secondly, we decided to come out with a new product – ‘guarantid’ – to back those tenants who are wrongly required to have a guarantor or pay the rent upfront. In the last 12 months, we witnessed 4x YoY growth on revenue with really exciting metrics on the new product, guarantid; we raised £2.5M; tripled our team; and expanded internationally.

What can we hope to see from Homeppl in the future?

Our mission is clear – creating financial inclusion and equality of opportunity. The more we distribute our product to customers the more good we do to the world. We plan to continue our growth in the real estate industry and expand to new markets both inside and outside of the UK. In the future, we’ll consider applying our solution to other verticals, such as Mortgages or HR.