Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high risk investment and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 mins to learn more.
ARMD is a startup that is focusing on a heavily under-protected and underserved community – tradespeople – representing a £6.5+ billion market opportunity in the UK alone. ARMD’s research shows that less than half of tradespeople have tool insurance, and for those that do, it can take weeks for insurance companies to settle claims, often leaving them unable to work. So ARMD is reinventing the way tradespeople protect their livelihoods using a combination of digital technology, smart alarms and insurance.
We got to know ARMD’s founder Devin Chawda better in an exclusive interview.
Tell us about the business – what it is and what it aims to achieve?
ARMD is an insurtech for tradespeople. The idea came from customers of our previous IoT business who asked us for a solution to help them prevent tool theft. In my last IoT business (which I sold in 2019) tradespeople came to us with this problem. When we dug deeper, we realised how big it was and with our combined technology skills we could build a solution.
Then after some further research and focus group work, speaking to literally hundreds of tradespeople, we realised that a deterrent and smart alarm was only part of the solution, and the main problem was not being able to work. It then became our mission to not only better protect, but to get these people back to work as quickly as possible. ARMD was then born!
Could you tell us about your mission?
In a nutshell ARMD exists to better protect tradespeople and their livelihoods. We are doing this by creating an ecosystem of technology products that can be used independently, thus creating multiple entry points and revenue streams for the business, or when combined provide superior levels of control and protection. Our unique proposition consists of 4 core elements:
- Record – A free tool inventory app for tradespeople to digitally record their tools and receipts.
- Protect – The ARMD Guard smart van alarm and tracker (launched Dec 2022).
- Insure – Digital tool insurance that’s easy to buy and submit claims in 6 simple steps.
- Replace – An online shop selling power tools from the major brands.
This innovative solution simply combines IoT and insurance to help prevent theft in the first place and to get them back on the tools quickly if a theft occurs. Tool insurance claims can take weeks to settle but we have settled next day proving that our technology works.
After a very successful raise on Seedrs 2021, could you tell us some of the advances ARMD has made since?
The last raise really helped set a number of balls in motion. We focused on improving our core offering, with the key development being the ARMD Guard smart alarm and tracker that launched in December ‘22. Now, for the first time, we can leverage and sell the full ARMD proposition via our launch partners.
We are proud to announce that we have over 3,500 registered users and over £1 million worth of tools registered on our platform. Our industry-first “Quick Claim Settlement Promise,” backed by RSA, has been a game-changer for our clients, providing peace of mind and streamlined claims processing.
In addition, we have successfully launched our first strategic B2B sales partnership with CSL, Europe’s leading secure connectivity provider. These innovative products have been widely recognised, and we were recently voted “Product of the Year 2022” by Professional Builder, and featured on BBC News platforms.
ARMD has also graduated from the prestigious Lloyd’s Lab after being selected from over 120 insurtechs globally to join the Lloyd’s of London accelerator. We have worked tirelessly to scope and secure support for our new embedded and parametric insurance products, as well as agreed upon a number of exciting new sales partnerships.
It has been all go!
How big is the market opportunity for ARMD?
The initial sector is tool insurance, which we believe is fundamentally flawed from the perspective of both the tradesperson and insurer. Currently there is a massive protection gap for tradespeople. There are multiple ways to help protect the circa 3 million tradespeople in the UK and we are starting with tool insurance as that’s where the immediate problem lies, however we can expand in a few different directions including other complimentary insurances, strategic partners and expanding into other countries. We are planning to seamlessly embed our insurance together with tools at checkout, and the global power tool market was worth $45B+ in 2021 and is growing.
What can you tell us about the market and how ARMD is positioning themselves for success?
Our USP is that we have created a solution that aims to both prevent crime and reimburse quickly in the event of a theft so that any impact to the customers’ livelihood is minimised. Other solutions are fragmented – either insurance or alarm – but we wrap it all up in one package for a small monthly subscription. We are also developing non-traditional distribution channels for insurance, ie tool retailers, who our customers trust more than the traditional broker channel.
Now in 2023, what are the aims of this raise and why is now the best time to launch your campaign on Seedrs?
We have achieved a lot with a small team and in a short space of time. We have identified an unaddressed problem that affects millions of people. We have built a unique solution of “proactive protection and reimbursement” that truly protects tradespeoples’ livelihoods whilst making tool insurance commercially attractive to the insurers and now is the right time to take it to the next level.
The funds raised from this round will:
- Enable us to scale the business by recruiting the first key hires we’ve identified.
- Develop the distribution channels beyond the exciting partnerships that we have already agreed and continue to build the ARMD brand.
- New Product development – we have capacity and investment for 2 new game changing tradesperson insurance products, one embedded the other parametric, which will also enable us to move the point of distribution to retail point of sale eg tool resellers where tools are bought.
Watch the space – it is going to be an exciting year!
What have been some challenges?
Getting ARMD off the ground with limited resources and only 4 of us. I am really looking forward to more hires coming onboard and sharing the mission of building ARMD into the go-to insurtech for tradespeople.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Running an early stage business and having a young family means I don’t seem to have much spare time nowadays! However whenever I get a chance I love to run. I’m lucky to live in a part of London that is near to the river and some beautiful parks, which makes it even more enjoyable.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building ARMD?
There have been quite a few learnings so far and I’m sure there will be many more! One of the standout ones is the level of mistrust and just how badly let down tradespeople feel. I recall on an early Zoom focus group a plumber mentioning that he gets up two or three times every night to check on his van from the bedroom window, waking up at even the slightest noise. He felt vulnerable and didn’t know what else to do to combat the spate of burglaries in the area. All the others in the group were nodding in agreement. This issue is literally stopping these guys from sleeping and impacts all areas of their lives!
If you could give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Enjoy the ride. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day throes of life, especially as a startup founder, but be happy and thankful for what you have achieved, which is very often a lot more than you think.
ARMD is overfunding! ARMD is a great opportunity to invest in an award-winning solution that uses smart tech and insurance to help prevent theft and get trades back to work quickly if the worst happens.
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