The world of luxury service is becoming more user-friendly with the advent of new high-end tech companies delivering exemplary personalised services
Just as technology has disrupted every market from travel to financial services, now a new generation of luxury players is offering wealthy consumers a range of products and services based on innovative technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Augmented Reality (AR). And, ironically, this disruption is once more bringing an emphasis on some of the core elements of luxury — exclusivity and exemplary, personalised service.
Describing itself as “the world’s first luxury marketplace that combines both high-end products and services into one ecosystem”, Keyyes is an AI-based app that acts as a 21st-century concierge service. Behind it is Sarment, which, backed by Paolo Bulgari of the jewellery dynasty, is a lifestyle service provider. Keyyes will enable users to order private jets, book tables at exclusive restaurants at the last minute, test drive the latest sports car, get a private tour of an art exhibition or even a bespoke stylist session at a fashion atelier — all at the touch of a button.
It was only a matter of time before someone took the Uber business model and moved it upmarket. That someone is 29-year-old Anton Chirkunov. Wheely provides chauffeur-driven executive cars such as the Mercedes E-, S- and V-class, none of which is more than three years old. Its chauffeurs are suited and booted and each carries an umbrella. They’ll hold doors open for customers as well as helping them with their luggage.
Does Wheely, which has enjoyed 100 per cent growth since January, regard itself as a disruptor? “Definitely,” says its spokeswoman. “Wheely came up with a golden standard in ride-hailing and now our chauffeurs, who have to pass exams, are considered to be the best.”
A superyacht on the cheap? Well, not exactly cheap, but in this very traditional world, Hawk Yachts is cutting costs by up to 50% by building in commercial shipyards rather than only using the well-known superyacht yards.
“The superyacht market has reached a tipping point,” says Matthias Bosse, the company’s CEO. “It’s known for building overpriced yachts with limited capability and high maintenance costs — perhaps why only two per cent of ultra-high-net-worth individuals own a yacht. Our yachts bring some of the most beautiful and remote locations around the world that are usually accessible only by boat within the reach of high-end ocean explorers.”
The backlash against fast fashion and the desire by consumers to invest in a piece that has longevity has driven the value of what is known as “the repair economy” in the UK to somewhere between £116m and £312m, according to WRAP, the sustainability charity.
The Restory is an on-demand restoration service for luxury shoes and designer handbags. With fans including super-influencer Peony Lim and Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begović, the service is now available at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge as part of the store’s multi-million-pound refurbishment of the first floor.
CapitalRise is a crowdfunding platform that connects luxury residential real estate developers seeking finance with investors.
“CapitalRise is a disruptor for the way it’s using technology to drive disintermediation of the old-fashioned property lending sector,” says CEO and co-founder Uma Rajah. “The appeal for developers is the access to quick and cost-effective finance. The appeal for investors is being able to invest as little as £1,000 to access opportunities and returns of 9,5% that are usually only available to banks and large institutions.”
EuropeanLife Magazine 2021