First off, what’s the name all about? We have to know!
I have been asked about our brand name Purple Ant more than a few times, and the truth is that there are three stories behind it:Moment of Inspiration – In my 22+ years of corporate life, I have had the privilege of working with various inspirational and dynamic leaders. One of them, Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Tech narrated a story that described two ants discussing their lives. One of the ants proudly proclaimed they wanted to be the fastest one in the colony, and the other boasted about wanting to be the strongest. In walks another ant, and when asked what it wanted to be— it said butterfly. Why? Because butterflies are free to fly about, choosing what they want to do, filled with the freedom that ants do not have. This moment resonated with me greatly as I visualized myself as the third ant: unconventional, but ambitious, driven, and built with an innate sense of freedom not generally found in the corporate world. This epiphany motivated me to get in contact and collaborate with my co-founder Manoj and not waste a second longer to the ants on the ground.
Admirable Qualities– While ‘Ant’ in our name is a reminder of the story above, it is also interesting to know and understand the qualities of an ant. They do the impossible (lifting weight that is 3 times their body!), are organized, believe in teamwork, are frugal, and most importantly, they get the job done. We like to think we have similar qualities at Purple Ant. We are on a “Mission Impossible” of making insurance more prevention focused.
Finally, on a personal note, it’s derived from my wife (Purnima), daughter (Dimple), and son (Sidhant) first names.
Which origin spark story is your favorite?
Treat us like 5-year-olds and explain Purple Ant as simply and succinctly as poss.
We keep homes healthy. Buildings, like people, can get sick or damaged and we make sure we prevent that happen right from the beginning. We do this by utilizing efficient, user-friendly technology to tell us when something goes wrong, and then we come up with a solution right away.
How did Purple Ant begin as a business?
A little over 2 years ago, I was on the phone with my insurance company which provides home and auto insurance. They kept pushing for me to put a car dongle, which collects driving data, to price my insurance. I was uncomfortable with the idea of someone having information that is generally kept private. Instead, I asked if they had something similar but for my house—because it is much more expensive, and I do not mind people having my house data if it keeps my family safe. They did not, and I recognized a huge area of potential. I reached out to my friend of 12 years, Manoj, and we set to work creating Purple Ant. We figured out a way to use new emerging technology, such as IoT devices, to solve old-world problems in the traditional home insurance industry.
What’s different about you (apart from the name, obviously)?
We’ve found a way to use smart devices to help lower the cost of insurance, which is by lowering the risk of the property getting damaged. For example, a deep drop in temperature due to a Polar Vortex in Chicago can cause pipes to burst. Using data sources, combined with our sensors, send information to us that lets us know when the pipe freeze is likely to occur. We can then warn the homeowner that it is likely to happen and they should take preventative measures; in this case, leaving a faucet on. Even if a problem does occur, we receive the alerts from our sensors and send the appropriate help to the homeowners themselves to help take of their damage.
Who are you for? Give us an idea of the people or businesses that need some Purple Ant in their lives.
Insurance companies benefit the most from our product because they can help their customers to prevent damages to their property in an efficient manner. We are also helping homeowners and business owners in ensuring that their lives and businesses are not disrupted due to property-related issues. Beyond insurance, we can offer the same benefits to energy companies and utility companies by tapping into the data from appliances and energy meters. Extending this further, we believe smart cities should be able to be proactive for their citizens. Our ultimate vision here at Purple Ant is that we give every consumer the right to monetize their own smart data. These days, every company is collecting data from their consumers and selling it for a profit, while the consumers do not get compensated for their data being shared. We want to fix this discrepancy by having a platform that captures a variety of data based upon the consent of the consumer themselves and lets the companies tap into it for a fee.
Your product is a cloud-based platform, but where are you based? Where’s home?
Home for me is in the ever so windy Chicago, while my co-founder is in Stamford, CT. Our team is distributed across the United States as well as globally as we are extremely comfortable with and offer lots of opportunities with remote work.
Which cloud-based or tech brands do you look up to most?
I am impressed by how Tesla has forced the rest of the industry to adopt a better fuel alternative, as well as how Amazon was the first one to personalize each individual consumer’s experience within their app. I also particularly admire how IBM and Corning reinvent and change along with the times and not against it, making them both timeless no matter how many years they have actually been in business.
How do you think Purple Ant might develop in the near future and beyond?
Although we are still in the early stages, we believe that we are well on our way to moving the needle and modernizing a traditional industry. We hope that soon, leading insurance companies will offer a Purple Ant program to everyone that will ultimately result in a win-win situation for both the company and the homeowner.
Any other bright ideas in the pipeline?
We are in the process of figuring out if we can ourselves directly offer home and business owners our insurance technology. This would mean compliance with a lot of regulations as well as external capital, but we are encouraged by the success of companies like Hippo and Lemonade.
Deep Purple or Prince?
By far, Deep Purple! Sweet Child in Time and would be a great source of comfort during those boring days when I was in school a few centuries ago. 😊
Have you ever seen the movie Phase IV?
Nope—don’t want us to lose business in Arizona!