At a glance:

  • Since 2022 we’ve partnered with Black Seed Ventures, a venture capital seed fund dedicated to Black business founders in the UK, to work together to support over 10,000 Black entrepreneurs across the UK to fast-track their businesses. The partnership supports our commitment to reserve 20% of our overall enterprise support for Ethnic Minority businesses
  • We first met Estelle and fellow KARR Co-Founder Temi Olusanya at one of our joint ‘Start-up weekends’ with Black Seed Ventures, where we hold workshops focused on entrepreneurial skills including pitching, digital, PR and resilience. The weekends include a pitch competition where winners walk away with £10,000 prize funding to help get their business off the ground.
  • Temi and Estelle were the worthy winners of our Brixton Start-up weekend’s pitch event in 2022, and have since used the £10,000 prize funding and relationship with NatWest to develop and grow their business, culminating in KARR’s official launch event which we hosted in our London office earlier this year.


Now hear from Estelle and Temi on their entrepreneurial journey so far with KARR, and how our Enterprise team and partnership with Black Seed Ventures have supported them.


Q. What is KARR and how did it come about?

Temi: KARR is a technology platform designed to simplify the often-tedious process of paying, disputing and managing parking fines, available to businesses which operate with 5 or more vehicles. It digitises parking tickets, providing a paperless solution that helps facilitate faster payments and manage incurred fines. 

Estelle: Exactly that. The initial idea stemmed from a problem. Back when I was in university, I was driving my grey Vauxhall Corsa named Hercules around and getting tons of tickets, I had no understanding of managing my vehicle expenses or my fines. One day I was fuming because I had lost a fine I’d got and anyone who drives knows it hurts more to pay a parking fine when the price increases. So I called my older brother to vent and I’m like “Surely there’s a way I can just Google my car and find my parking fines - an app or something - because this is a joke.” He says, "No sis, there isn't, but that would be a very good idea. You should make it,” and I’m like, “Okay I will!” And the story begins from there.

I realised that there was a simple fix - the ability to store and manage vehicle expenses from one place - through an app that recognises all expenses registered to a registration number. Through research I found there were other apps attempting to help but nothing that looked at the problem of parking fines. So I refined the idea to specialise on that element. For me, I knew if I could convince Temi to come onboard with me on this venture, then it’d be my sign to really do this, and once she saw the vision we never stopped working. 


Q. How did you get involved with Black Seed Ventures and NatWest?

Temi: This is a good question. Before we had even heard of Black Seed Ventures, we wrote down a ‘power list’ of anyone we felt we could put ourselves in the same room as. On that list was Karl Lokko, as he was also a trailblazing entrepreneur from South London, and he had worked with many Black founders. We had even drafted an email to him dated 11th June, 2022, it’s still in my inbox! 

Our thought was, let’s start by being in the same room as these people we look up to and get involved however we can.

So when we first heard of Black Seed Ventures’ event, saw that Karl Lokko is Black Seed Ventures’ Chairman and saw the partnership with NatWest, we jumped at the idea. Our thought was, let’s start by being in the same room as these people we look up to and get involved however we can.

Estelle: And it turns out that that room in particular was a room full of opportunity! We didn’t originally plan to pitch at the event until we were heavily inspired by the pitch competition’s line-up and that was clearly the best decision we could have made for ourselves. Then we actually won the pitch event! At the time we were just grateful to speak to like-minded people and hear that we had something special we were working on! And it’s only gotten better from there. 

We attended the first day of the Start-up Weekend and it was like a bolt of energy had struck us.

Q. How was the Start-up Weekend in Brixton and the pitching event? 

Temi: So this was back in 2022. We’re both from South London so we heard from a friend that Black Seed Ventures and NatWest were hosting a packed tech weekender in Brixton and we were super eager to attend. And like we mentioned, we were excited by Karl Lokko’s involvement. We’d been working on KARR for a while at that point but were finding connecting with industry leaders/governmental representatives difficult. We attended the first day of the Start-up Weekend when the panellist session was held, and it was like a bolt of energy had struck us. Their stories were so inspiring, and it felt like it was genuinely possible to make it, looking at the impact the panellists had made in their own entrepreneurial journeys. That’s when we decided we’d actually go for it and take part in the pitch competition. We also recognised the stark contrast between the amount of women in the room compared to men and thought, let’s represent for the ladies.

Estelle: That entire weekend we practised our parts non-stop, brushing up on all our facts and everything we’d worked on to get to the stage we were at. It was really reassuring as it was the first time in a while we went back to the very beginning, recollecting all the work we’d done to get to that point. We had put a lot of effort into KARR. When the day came it was genuinely impressive.  Every idea pitched was a worthy one, with so many entrepreneurs who had clearly dedicated themselves to their crafts, so it was really validating to be amongst them. But to win!? That was everything. As soon as we got up there, simply from the crowd’s reaction, we could tell we had a big idea on our hands.

Temi: Yes, everyone was reacting as soon as we mentioned parking fines!

Estelle: Exactly! The win catapulted us to the next level. It felt like we were being rewarded for all our hard work and that validation alone was a win in itself. I’m pretty sure we cried.

Temi: Yeah, it was super emotional.


Q. How has winning the pitch event fund helped KARR?

The event opened the doors to the invaluable connections that we were so focused on making.

Estelle: Winning the pitch event and prize fund allowed us to evolve our idea into a tangible product and that changed it all. We were able to get an engineering team onboard and craft KARR into a fully functioning application which was exactly what we wanted for our next stage. The event opened the doors to the invaluable connections that we were so focused on making. We have met so many people who have become integral to our journey off the back of the weekend and for that we genuinely can’t thank Black Seed Ventures and NatWest enough.  


Q. How has NatWest supported you and KARR?

Estelle: After the Start-up Weekend, Head of Enterprise Julie Baker invited us to visit her and Business Inclusion Programme Manager Blessing Mutamba at the NatWest head office in London. The initial meeting was incredible, and we could immediately tell we had full support from them both, which was comforting.

They’ve been nothing but advocates from the very beginning, it’s great to have a network of close people who act on what they say.

They opened up the conversation first by understanding exactly where we were at with KARR, what our plans were and what we needed to move to the next level. They followed up with a list of ways they could potentially help us, whether that be through introductions with their network or just next steps and recommendations on the future of KARR. Julie showed her support publicly which also helped us when it came to the credibility of the company. Blessing also introduced us to a tech engineer and start-up guru who helped us understand what we were looking for and eventually led us to connecting with our final engineering team.

Temi: Yes, they’ve been nothing but advocates from the very beginning, it’s great to have a network of close people who act on what they say. When the first version of the app was made, we decided it would be a good idea to launch the product officially. We had the idea of involving NatWest for the official launch which seemed like quite an ask, but their immediate response was so supportive, only cementing how encouraging NatWest has been since the start. Blessing was more than happy to host our launch event at the NatWest offices, and Julie was joined by Yvonne Nagawa, Head of Partnerships at Black Seed Ventures, who both said a few words at the event. 

Estelle: Plus Blessing leant on her industry connections and offered to invite more people to expand our network more and give us the opportunity to meet relevant entrepreneurs and founders that will help us grow KARR.


Q. How did the KARR launch event go?

Estelle: It’s funny because we knew the event would be amazing from the moment we had NatWest on board. Blessing helped us every step of the way and our speakers on the day, both Julie and Yvonne, represented the partnership between KARR, Black Seed Ventures and NatWest beautifully together. It was truly a full circle moment, celebrating together again like we had after our win at the Start-up Weekend in Brixton back in 2022. 

We’ve already had some very exciting discussions about the future of KARR both financially and supportively.

Temi: Seeing Blessing and Julie again was comforting, especially as we were slightly nervous at first. But by the end we were overwhelmed with the amount of love and support we were shown. The energy in the room was filled with people who had taken a genuine interest in us, our journey and our product.

Estelle: The response from the event has been moving – we’re already receiving recognition and reception from new people, our social media has gained an influx of followers and we're seeing more traction on all our platforms. Everything just seems to be falling into place for us. We’ve already had some very exciting discussions about the future of KARR both financially and supportively. The launch genuinely couldn't have gone any better – a massive thank you to NatWest, and specifically Blessing and Julie! 


Q. What’s next for KARR?

With the demonstrated backing, we can confidently enter rooms that traditionally, two young Black girls from South London might not have been seen in.

Temi: Right now the main goal is to grow our network even further to infiltrate networks in travel across London. We want our next version of KARR to be fully integrated with London councils and Transport For London. We’ve have had conversations with council members and we aim, off the back of the success of our launch, to use our network to put our plans into place.

Estelle: We also have plans to begin raising funds in the next few months to allow us both to do this full time. With KARR, we have the ability to impact driving across London. We know our B2C model is a much-needed product especially with the expansion of ULEZ. With the extended hours/zones of Congestion Charge and the introduction of the Blackwall tunnel charge, now more than ever drivers need a way to keep up with their vehicle expenses.

With the help of NatWest and other companies which champion under-represented founders, we're benefiting from the invaluable expertise within these networks. And with the demonstrated backing, we can confidently enter rooms that, traditionally, two young black girls from South London might not have been seen in. There's so much more ahead for KARR that this truly feels like this is just the beginning.

Supporting Ethnic Minority Businesses

Find out more about our support for Ethnic Minority Businesses and our partnership with Black Seed Ventures: 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
NatWest Group
Case study
Start up
scroll to top