Our Start-up of the Week is KitchenWhiz, an AI-powered kitchen planning and marketplace software that can be used to design kitchen plans within minutes.
KitchenWhiz is an AI-powered kitchen planner and marketplace tool that enables beginners to design kitchen plans and connect with cabinet makers and suppliers who can build a user’s dream kitchen to their specifications.
The company was founded in 2017 by Constantinos and Kyproulla Nicolaou, a brother and sister based in Cyprus. Together, they have designed a platform that enables customers to draw their kitchen shape and then place cabinets on a 3D floor plan to make sure that everything fits.
Once a user designs a kitchen and picks out a cabinet style that suits them, they can either contact a cabinet maker on the KitchenWhiz marketplace to get the ball rolling, or send the design to their own tradesperson.
The team behind KitchenWhiz
Constantinos has eight years of experience building online projects and working in online marketing, and Kyproulla has 17 years of experience as a professional interior and kitchen designer. While Constantinos knows how to build and design websites, his sister knows about product design.
“Kyproulla is an integral part of the success of KitchenWhiz because she has the perfect understanding of how to create a design protocol and tool that not only designs aesthetically pleasing kitchens, but also makes sure they are error free,” Constantinos told Siliconrepublic.com.
“Our team has more than 60 years of combined experience designing and selling kitchen cabinets. The demographic we are targeting is homeowners who find it difficult and time consuming to properly design their own kitchens.
“For years, customers were coming to us to design their kitchens. So we created KitchenWhiz so that homeowners could design their kitchen on their own. Now, we want every professional in our industry, from cabinet makers to countertop and appliance manufacturers, to be able to use KitchenWhiz to cut down their operating costs, increase their productivity and discover new sales opportunities.”
How KitchenWhiz works
KitchenWhiz is an online tool that allows users to visualise designs. The company claims that it can be used by everyone, from beginners to veteran designers.
“KitchenWhiz is innovative because it reduces the kitchen design time from hours to minutes and requires no download because it works online,” Constantinos explained. “As a result, the design toolkit reduces operational expenses for cabinet makers and the marketplace can increase their revenues.
“We want to make it easy for homeowners and professionals alike to design dream kitchens, by creating an easy-to-use platform that guides users through the design process.”
Kyproulla added: “We offer automated positioning and calculating of dimensions. Image an L-shaped kitchen, where 20 individual cabinets fit in the available space. With other kitchen planning software, you have to place each cabinet one-by-one.
“With KitchenWhiz, you just need to draw your general room shape and it will position all 20 cabinets at once in 2D and 3D. Also, it will make sure that the design of the kitchen is functional and without errors, not just attractive. Using our own proprietary algorithms, KitchenWhiz serves as a virtual kitchen expert through various design rules embedded in the software.”
The siblings said that their primary mission is to “democratise kitchen design” and “disrupt the current design and sales process in the kitchen furniture industry”, because everybody should be able to design their own kitchen without any prior expert knowledge or training.
The start-up scene in Cyprus
When asked what the start-up scene in Cyprus is like, the Nicolaou siblings agreed that it is growing quickly. “The government is taking serious efforts to support the ecosystem, with recent grant announcements for government funding for Cypriot start-ups with international expansion potential,” they said.
“We have applied to one such funding scheme recently, with the possibility of receiving €500,000 in government funding.”
Besides grants, KitchenWhiz is also seeking VC funding to expand the business. “We are currently raising our seed round to improve the design tool, build a costing module and improve the marketplace,” Constantinos said.
Although it may have been a challenge to get the platform off the ground, the siblings said they are now on the right track for future growth.
Kyproulla said: “Even though the third-party developers were very skilled, it was a very challenging project for them to complete and required our full attention to make it a success. It was up to us to define 80pc of the business logic.
“Not having an in-house team made the process quite difficult, expensive and time consuming. Fortunately, a very strong first version was built in the end. Today, we have organic traction and Constantinos has many of the technical skills we need, which makes us confident we can build our own dev team and raise money from investors to take this to the next level.”
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