Meet the Real Estate Tech Entrepreneur: Orla Shields from Kamma
In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with Orla Shields, CEO & Co-founder of Kamma.
Without further ado…
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Orla Shields, CEO & co-founder of Kamma – the global search engine for local legislation. Our unique technology targets areas of fluctuating, complex, and messy local legislation, to harness it into clean, usable data sets for leverage at scale. The majority of our focus to date has been on the property sector, helping a variety of stakeholders navigate laws on property licensing, planning schemes, rogue landlords, and energy performance.
Before founding Kamma, I trained as a chartered accountant at Ernst & Young before moving to the Irish Central Bank to work on the recapitalisation of the Irish banking sector during the credit crisis. I then moved to London for a dream job contributing to making the London 2012 Olympics the amazing spectacle it was by managing a £650m infrastructure budget. I stayed in London, experiencing the rental market here, and worked as a Commercial Director of a number of top-tier digital agencies and media companies.
What problem does your product/service solve?
All good inventions are rooted in personal experience, and Kamma is no different. I went through some terrible renting experiences and found it crazy I could get better information on hostels in India than rental properties in Islington. There was also no recourse; a bad review is a big deal to a Goa hostel but means nothing to a London landlord. There needed to be more transparency and a more balanced market.
We originally built an app that helped tenants and Landlords ensure they adhered to all regulations designed to guarantee a minimum standard of accommodation. We quickly realized, however, that we needed to do more.
The diverse set of legislative tools introduced to devolve power and responsibility for raising minimum standards in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) to Local Authorities created such a messy patchwork of rules that it placed a huge burden on stakeholders in the PRS. This resulted in standards not being raised, agents being fined, and financial institutions taking on more risk, all because the regulations were too complex to uncover, understand, and implement.
Kamma has solved this business problem through technology and data methodologies that aggregate, cleanse, and map Property Licensing in real-time, something that nobody else in the market has been able to do.
As the UK’s Property Licensing architecture becomes increasingly dynamic and fragmented, the frequency of new consultations, amendments, expires, and implementations are rapidly increasing. Kamma leverages AI, data, and tech to automatically track and aggregate each one into a UK-wide database.
Kamma’s platform puts agents and landlords back in control, automatically and continually reconciling their portfolios with the UK’s Property Licensing framework, immediately notifying them of changing regulations that impact their properties. Kamma is the only data-driven solution empowering agents to de-risk, upsell premium service, and drive revenue through a targeted licensing application service.
What are you most excited about right now?
In solving Property Licensing, we have built a lot of proprietary back-end services to deal with the UK’s geographic hierarchy and inconsistent addressing formats, including our own geocoder. While it was a huge undertaking to build our engine, we are now reaping the rewards in being able to point it at new areas of property legislation such as planning and EPCs, transforming us from a property licensing software company to industry-leading experts on geographic legislation.
What’s next for you?
Having worked so hard on our technical foundations and very recently closed a funding round, we’re in a fantastic position to bolster our team, capitalise on the commercial side of the business and aggressively scale across multiple verticals while continually adding to our product suite. While the hard work will never stop, Kamma’s future is extremely bright, and leading the business forward into our next phase is exhilarating!
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
I feel very strongly that current workplaces are simply not equipped to serve the needs of most people today. As well as solving complex problems and raising standards, we’re aiming to create the kind of workplace we all dreamed of working in during our previous careers; low ego, high impact, output-focussed environments where each individual can truly excel and the team is greater than the sum of its parts.
Thanks to Orla for sharing her story. If you’d like to connect, find her on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).