SA’s Vizibiliti Insight uses AI to predict tenant defaults

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South African startup Vizibiliti Insight is using artificial intelligence (AI) to help the commercial property sector pre-screen tenants and predict the chances of them defaulting.

Launched last year by Courtney Bentley and Juane Schutte, the Johannesburg-based Vizibiliti Insight has an 89 per cent accuracy rate of predicting tenants are at risk of paying late up to three months in advance, and helps place tenants more than five times faster than usual.

The startup’s fintech risk management platform uses AI to integrate over 100 global and local macroeconomic variables against various business cycles relevant to the client. The platform can predict risks, and notify individuals in real-time.

Vizibiliti Insight can machine learn all correlated and causal datasets linked to financial results, automates business processes, and has a built-in fraud detection functionality.

Bentley told Disrupt Africa the startup’s Predictive Tenant Default Platform is the first of its kind globally to integrate all these factors, with Vizibiliti Insight now working with Attacq to further test the platform after winning the recent retail challenge hosted by the LaunchLab.

“We have built-in fraud detection functionality which picks up anomalies in the dataset we are working on, acting as an early warning indicator for fraud or suspicious activity while optimising the company’s financial collection process to increase profit,” he said.

He believes the startup’s Predictive Pre-screening Platform is also a world-first, and says the Vizibiliti Insight process reduces the standard five to seven days of on-boarding a tenant to half a day.

“Before a prospective tenant is in a property we can predict their likelihood of paying late, which integrates into our risk scoring algorithm,” he said.

“We are fully integrated with TransUnion, the biggest credit bureau in South Africa, with access to 20 million consumer and business credit reports. On average we bring costs to screen a tenant from ZAR16,000 (US$1,200) to ZAR4,000 (US$300) including all individuals who have to collect, analyse and decide on whether to accept or reject the tenant.”

Ultimately, Bentley said, the startup’s platforms create a digital asset for the business which incorporates multiple risk factors over thousands of data points, improving real-time decision-making.

Vizibiliti Insight came about after the founding team conducted research into industries which have been laggards in adopting technology, and are undergoing significant disruption.

“We found commercial property funds and managers to be the audience. Globally property funds and managers to a large degree make subjective financial and operational decisions on a daily basis, often dealing with a lot of money,” said Bentley.

“With global economies, corporations and tenants shifting rapidly as disruptive forces impact them, funds have to be more agile in the way they make decisions but also to make fact-driven decisions. There is a need to record this intelligence for future generations of fund and property managers when millennials take over.”

The company is currently self-funded, but entering into negotiations over investment in order to help it scale. Though operating only in South Africa for now, it has identified two markets in particular for expansion.

“One is the United Kingdom (UK), the other Australia. The United States (US) and Canada are strong markets too, however, we have sizeable opportunities to go into those two countries with large investors. We expect to be international before the end of the year,” Bentley said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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