February 26, 2024

As the cost of living becomes more painful, generative AI is said to be competing for your job, and it might save some money on your household bills, at least for now.

UK-based cost of living start-up north corp. Now it’s launching an assistant powered by OpenAI (combined with its own proprietary system) to help users understand and manage their household bills. Users will be able to upload bills or connect their email inboxes to automatically forward bills to the assistant. It then categorizes and summarizes the bill, alerting customers to details and potential savings.

Nous claims it can now save households up to £1,000 or more a year through the AI-powered system, averaging around £126. It also said it can spot when a provider tries to send an estimated bill instead of a final one.

The new feature, which is a free tier for Nous members, currently applies to energy bills and will soon be extended to broadband, mobile and insurance documents, and alerts via WhatsApp.

According to the company’s own research, two-thirds of Brits find it difficult to understand their energy bills, with just 15% saying they read the fine print.

After more than 12 months of private beta development, Nous soon plans to offer a subscription service as its premium offering, with a focus on clear billing and customer guarantees around data privacy. This free product will serve as an onboarding tool and customer acquisition channel for premium services. The startup relies on open banking regulations for consumer spending data.

Greg Marsh, co-founder and CEO of Nous, told me: “We knew AI was going to be part of the service story. It provided automation and scale. It wasn’t until this year that I understood the power of unlocking value for customers. The combination of the LL.M., our domain knowledge, and our connections to commercial suppliers is powerful. But AI is front and center of it all.”

Given that most people find digging through bills boring, utilities and insurance companies sometimes use the opportunity to “bury nasty surprises,” he said. Generative AI, he says, is “great for capturing these things right away.”

He says Nous already has thousands of people using the service, but he doesn’t want to be in the business of monetizing data: “We use it to empower our users. A typical insurance contract requires 44 pieces of information. We can take almost all of that from your last insurance contract, and we can chat with you via Whatsapp and ask you just four additional questions.”

Former Index Ventures venture capitalist and onefinestay founder Marsh said he started Nous as he struggled with family bills during the Covid-19 pandemic while having a second child.

To date, Nous has raised $10 million in seed funding from investors including Tom Blomfield (co-founder of GoCardless and Monzo), Marc Warner (co-founder and CEO of Faculty.ai), Dan Hegarty (founder and CEO of mortgage lender Habito), Eamon Jubbawy (co-founder of Onfido), and Brent Hoberman (founder of Founders Forum). Mosaic Ventures and Chalfen Ventures also participated. Nous said it was a “B Corp pending” business.