Cargo claims management is a time-consuming and complex process that can take between 3-6 months to settle a single claim. OPTIMIZ is the predictive claims resolution platform that fixes this by instantly connecting cargo owners and their insurers directly to shopping lines, freight forwarders, airlines, and port terminals to introduce a new level of transparency in cargo claims. OPTIMIZ’s multisided platform matches each case to the appropriate claims’ handler, and various data sets including characteristics of the cargo in question, cause of damage, and past claims can assist the decision of the shipping line and claimant. OPTIMIZ recently launched and is initially focused on helping fruit exporters manage claims, which often face rejection due to a lack of supporting documentation.
London TechWatch caught up with CEO Kingsly Kwalar Kongnyuh to learn more about the launch of OPTIMIZ, the company’s future plans, and his favorite eating destination in London.
Tell us about the product or service OPTIMIZ offers.
We have designed and built a multisided platform that connects cargo owners and their insurers to shipping lines and other cargo carriers with the goal of fostering predictive claims resolution.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
I joined the shipping industry several years ago in London after I finished Uni. I had left my country in Africa in search of further studies. I was fortunate to land a job with a leading Greek shipowner in London. I was then headhunted to Argentina where I worked for fruit exporters and their insurers to handle their cargo claims. Three years later, I was reassigned to South Africa where I had to learn the business from an African perspective. In 2015, I started my first company called StilFresh which is focused on assisting African traders and insurance companies with an appetite for Africa to manage their claims against cargo carriers. All along, we always considered how we can bring more value to our customers and the concept of OPTIMIZ was born and in 2018, we incorporated in London, and we are now live.
We use a data-first approach to claims resolution. As opposed to physical or manual claims handling, we use various data sets including characteristics of the cargo in question, cause of damage, and past claims to guide the decision of the shipping line and claimant.
What market is OPTIMIZ attacking and how big is it?
In our first phase, we are targeting fruit exporters. $990B worth of food is wasted every year and 14% of that occurs in transit. 45% of all food wasted is made of fruits and vegetables. This brings our market to about TAM to $138B and SOM to $1.8B
What is the business model?
We use a no-cure no-pay model for cargo owners and their insurers and a subscription model for shipping lines and other carriers.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
It has been quite challenging. We have lost investors and have had to let go of some of our colleagues.
Tell us what building your company in London has been like?
It has been quite challenging from the standpoint of access to talent. Without deep pockets, it is difficult to attract and retain talent. However, from the standpoint of network, it has been exceptional!
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
In the next six months, we will embark on an online campaign to attract fruit exporters from around the world to use our solution. For the first two months, they will be able to use our tool for free and every claim resolved within then, would come at no cost to them. We are committed to ensuring that our customers have a really great experience and that is what we will be paying our attention to. We will also be working with cargo surveyors and self-evidence collection solution providers to integrate their services on our platform.
What does being “Made in London” mean to you and your company?
What else can be done to promote early-stage entrepreneurship in London?
Access. When I finished Uni, I was fortunate to have been mentored by the director of the legal department of John Lewis at the time. She asked me how she could help me and I said all I needed was access. She introduced me to her ex-classmate who would later give me my first job in the shipping industry. This holds true as it was back then. A founder who has access to the tools he needs is likely to succeed.
She asked me how she could help me and I said all I needed was access. She introduced me to her ex-classmate who would later give me my first job in the shipping industry. This holds true as it was back then. A founder who has access to the tools he needs is likely to succeed.
What is your favorite restaurant in London?
GBK every time!
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