Homeppl launches two new technologies to fight rental fraud
The UK has been grappling with growing rental fraud since the start of the pandemic as tenants whose income, credit and employment have been hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19. A number of UK SEO companies tasked with verifying leaked claims in the first half of 2021, until a 72% increase in the number of fraudulent rental claim attempts, the Independent report.
To help combat this level of fraud, UK startup proptech has launched two fraud detection tools that run on its current proprietary technology to help agencies in the UK from faulty tenant apps.
One of the two technologies – a document scanning tool – allows agents to effectively screen a tenant by processing documentation that is scanned at what Homeppl considers an “even deeper level” than existing screening technologies. .
The product can detect fraud by spotting inconsistencies and nuances in document typography and font styles. Any fonts other than those used by banks are flagged as indicating that the document was probably tampered with.
Its second product, dubbed ‘Heimdall’ – named after the Norse mythological god who watches over invaders – leverages Homeppl’s proprietary fraud data to develop an alert for the rental screening process. By analyzing various data points, Heimdall can determine a candidate’s legitimacy and recognize when a fraudster is committing rental fraud multiple times through various agencies.
According to the company, Heimdall was born out of a pet project in late 2021 as an experiment to see if the technology’s extensive fraud data could be exploited further. Now, Homeppl intends to increase the power of Heimdall in the near future by leveraging even more internal data points to ensure that a wider range of information can be analyzed to detect fraud.
To do this, Homeppl plans to turn to machine learning and AI algorithms to boost its capabilities.
“It’s no secret that the rental industry is a rapidly changing and difficult landscape for agencies to manage today – couple this trend with an unprecedented volume of rental fraud – and it creates a a difficult space for agencies and landlords to navigate,” said Homeppl CEO and Founder Alexander Siedes.
Founded in 2017, Homeppl’s technology stack is unique in that it leverages Open Banking, proprietary behavioral analytics and fraud detection testing rather than standard checkbox assessments. It has also been backed by some of Europe’s top venture capital funds, including Ascension companies, Just by designand JLR star and became a Barclays Techstars company the same year of its foundation.
While much of its technology is aimed at keeping bad players out of space, Homeppl’s products have also succeeded in getting more good ones in. According to the proptech, Homeppl’s approach means that the roughly 5 million tenants who are currently rejected by the system would be able to pass the checks.
Freelancers, international students and expats can opt out of their “invisible” status as the platform approves around 95% of tenants. Compare that to more archaic credit check services whose high rejection rate allows “good tenants” to fall through the cracks – an average of 30%.
Following its $1.4 million seed round in September, Siedes said the company intends to launch in multiple European cities as it heads toward its Series A round.