Angus Pauley interviews "Co-founder and Dark lord Sauron" of Kitt; Aleks Dahlberg, on everything from AI to the heart warming speeches of Bernard Hill and Viggo Mortense.
Kitt is property management software which simplifies property management for landlords and investors. They make communicating with tenants, maintenance, expenses, tracking rent and finances easy and inexpensive. Kitt is built on top of an AI driven banking API and harnesses leading automation software which allows them to do it all.
What were you doing before Kitt?
Kitt has been multiple things. It actually started off as a product called Venturestay (or Wonderstay, you decide), which was sort of similar, but for landlords who rent specifically to working-tourists. It turned into a similar platform called Stayrs. However, after we became more serious and met with serious people - we saw the problem vividly and pivoted to Kitt.
Previously I made a bunch of not-so-great web products that didn’t do much, and ran another web-design/graphic company to keep myself afloat. I also did another ‘start-up’ called Haggle with Kitt’s current CTO, David, back in 2014 (I think). That didn’t really go anywhere.
And before that?
Before start-ups I was up to no good; just being a piece of work really. I knew I always wanted to run my own companies but delayed it to focus on causing trouble.
Was there an 'a-ha' moment in which you came up with the idea for Kitt?
There was no ‘a-ha’ moment. I don’t even remember starting it. The first I thing I remember is Sam and I building it. That’s all I recall.
How did you come across The Distiller?
I first heard of The Distiller after Startup Weekend 2015. I came in a couple of times, but I didn't make much use of it then, which was probably unwise since the last 6 months here have been great!
What does the start of your day look like at The Distiller?
I set up my laptop and then go through scribbles I made on a piece of paper the night before; reading my thoughts and to-dos. Then I remember I've already written them in my note book and procede to make a coffee.
How do people currently solve the problems Kitt solves?
Through either a pad and paper (which I am not against at all), or by using property agencies which are probably on average 500% more expensive than Kitt per month.
How did you plan those initial conversations with landlords and property investors? Do people generally fear AI, or have you found it a good talking point?
To be honest when we first started talking to people, we winged it. Eventually, we knew what to talk about.
In regards to AI: People like hearing the acronym AI, that’s all I’ve noticed.
How did you meet your team for Kitt?
Sam, I went to Highschool with. He was the only person I knew who did any web stuff outside of school. Naturally, we developed a bond.
David, I met through the PC game Counterstrike. We were in the same server and I asked if anyone knew how to code. Eventually, I got to know him.
Eugene, I met when I was working for someone else. He came in for a job interview. I met up with him afterwards and convinced him to work for me instead (for no money).
Scott, I have been friends with since highschool. He’s my flatmate now and is contracting to do some minor coding as well as clean up our messy front-end.
If you could recruit one famous person to the Kitt team, who would you recruit and why?
Probably Bernard Hill or Viggo Mortensen to give us heart warming, motivational speeches from The Lord of the Rings adapted to fit Kitt.
Something like the below:
This explains the second language listed on your Linkedin Profile.
Correct! Sindarin is one of the Elven languages in Tolkien’s Arda (Lord of The Rings).
You have an impressive Instagram boasting over 4000 followers. We've cherry picked a couple of images for you to give some more context to - can you explain these grams?
I post images on Unsplash and they often get posted elsewhere - that's where most of my followers have come from.
The first one (top left) is Seane (my girlfriend) contemplating a triple back-flip off of the rock at Tunnel Beach fully clothed - which is impressive.
The second (bottom left) is a piece of ice I found at Mackenzie that had scratches in it resembling the outline of the mountains in the foreground.
What would you caption this article when we share it on Instagram to make it go viral?
“Please don’t let this go viral” - post the question as well.
What’s next on the horizon for Kitt?
We are launching sometime in January. We're also raising funds again in the next few months.
And finally, if you could put anything on a billboard what would you choose?
Some glue, so someone can attach some advertising to it.
AUTHOR: ANGUS PAULEY
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