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Warwickshire's rising star tech firm that wants £1m for its growth plan

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A TECH start-up that helps tradespeople to get paid for their work has been named a ‘rising star’.

Kanda is one of just five companies in the Midlands to receive the TechNation accolade, which recognises the UK’s ‘brightest and best’ early-stage tech ventures with the highest potential

Phil Daneshyar (53790384)
Phil Daneshyar (53790384)

Electrician Richard Fleeman, 26, came up with the idea for the company, which has its headquarters in Henley, after one of his clients failed to pay him for £20,000-worth of work.

With his cousin, Rob Gallagher, 29, who at the time was studying astrophysics at Cambridge University, he started working on a digital solution.

They quickly brought in their school friend Phil Daneshyar, 26, who had experience of setting up businesses, one of which he’d pitched on BBC TV’s Dragons Den in 2017.

The three went on to win £150,000 investment through a startup competition in December 2019.

Once electricians, heating engineers and plumbers have signed up, Kanda sends out quotes and invoices and vets customers on their behalf.

Kanda emails an application online form to the tradesperson’s customer who fills it in, including agreeing how much deposit to pay. When they submit the form, they receive a decision on whether they’re approved as a client within 50 seconds.

Rob Gallagher
Rob Gallagher

Kanda, which has links to finance companies, does a credit check on potential customers so tradespeople know it’s safe to go ahead and do the work.

Once the job’s completed, the customer e-signs off the work, and the fee is paid to the tradesperson within 72 hours.

So far, 7,000 contractors have signed up to Kanda’s service.

Kanda, which is a word-play on the word ‘candour’ also lets homeowners pay monthly for home improvements, if they choose.

In January, Kanda was selected to be part of the internationally renowned Y Combinator programme in California, which supports startups with funding, one-to-one mentoring and networking.

Previous tech companies it’s worked with include Airbnb, Dropbox and Gusto.

Richard Fleeman (53790382)
Richard Fleeman (53790382)

Kanda chief executive Phil Daneshyar said the company is now seeking £1m to help grow its base of contractors. Longer term, it plans to expand into France and Germany.

He said: “It’s great to be recognised by TechNation, particularly as part of this focus on regions as it proves you don’t have to be in London to be a financial tech startup.”

He added: “As a result of Covid, we’ve had more tradespeople get in touch with us because they have seen the need to build a website for the first time and in many cases, Kanda is the first software they’ve used.”

Research by TechNation, which is part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, shows the tech sector in the Midlands is rapidly growing.

The region is home to seven ‘unicorns’, the term for tech companies valued at more than $1bn, up from three in 2020.

Some £583m in venture capital investment was pumped into the area this year and the number of tech job created almost doubled, from 87,277 to 201,673.

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