French AI startup Monk, a unique system for car damage detection, has closed a €2.1 million seed round led by Iris Capital, alongside Plug and Play and key business angels including Patrick Sayer (former CEO of Eurazeo), Yannis Yahiaoui (founder of Adot), and Arthur Waller (founder of PriceMatch and Pennylane).
Monk was founded in 2019 when Aboubakr Laraki (CEO) and Fayçal Slaoui (CTO), both specialized in AI and image recognition, met and shared the conviction that the market of AI-based damages detection was still at its earliest stage, requiring an expert approach. They partnered from the very beginning of the company with Getaround, a leader of the peer-to-peer car rental market to provide them with car damages claims material that proved game-changing compared to the solutions available then in the industry.
Monk’s solution is based on a ground-breaking artificial intelligence technology allowing to detect damages on any car relying on pictures taken by users, renters and/or drivers for a fraction of the traditional solutions price. Monk has already convinced several professionals of the car logistics and rental industry, as well as a Tier 1 European car Manufacturer (partnership to be announced later this year).
“Among all the solutions we’ve tested to automatically detect damage on vehicles from photos provided by our users, not only did Monk eclipse the competition but their results also exceeded by far our expectations” said P. Beret, VP of Risk Getaround.
While the company is only starting its sales outreach, this new funding round will support Monk’s R&D programme, the recruitment of new team members, especially data scientists, and its business expansion across Europe.
“Monk’s mission is to transform the mobility and insurance market by bringing trust and efficiency whenever a car changes hands. We’ve built an AI-based, hardware-free, inspection system that assesses instantly any vehicle’s condition from photos or videos. From day 1 the challenge proposed by Getaround was equivalent to climbing up the Everest. Internally it paved the way for a strong culture of breaking walls and externally the product we ended up with has echoed a lot in the automotive and insurance industries. We’ve been lucky to quickly deploy our product in other contexts and build high quality customer relationships that we aim at consolidating and developing in the coming months. We are proud to work with our new partners, who understand very well our challenges. This funding will help us boost our R&D and scale our product market-fit internationally,” commented Aboubakr Laraki, Monk’s CEO and co-founder.
“Monk has the potential to address many issues related to car damages. They’re starting with car rental claims processes in an industry on the verge of being drastically transformed by the recent crisis. But the insurance industry is also looking for tools to simplify and optimize its underwriting and claim appraisal processes, a $200 billion market today, where it would allow for more efficient, optimized and faster settlement. This would represent tremendous savings and a better customer satisfaction for insurers. We believe Monk has the potential to solve these issues with its cutting edge technology”, declared Julien-David Nitlech, Managing Partner at Iris Capital.