Cuvva: Freddy Macnamara
The entrepreneur talks about overcoming early setbacks and spotting a gap in the car insurance market
Name: Freddy Macnamara
Company name: Cuvva
Date launched: October 2015
Tell us what your business does?
Cuvva is a new type of car insurance for the UK that gets you covered on a car for only as long as you need it. From a single hour to a whole day. It means you can borrow a friend or family member’s car and get fully insured for as long as you need it without the traditional headache associated with short-term insurance. The company is actually designed to be mobile first and offer the best possible customer experience, so getting covered on a car through the app actually only takes three clicks.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I had previously run a company based in the countryside and a lot of people needed to use my car fairly regularly. We began to find that the whole short term insurance model was cost prohibitive and overly complicated. When you look at how technology, particularly mobile, has driven change in pretty much every industry I genuinely couldn’t believe that the process for car insurance had to be so overly complex. I started to look at how people were simplifying the model and saw that there was a real gap and a potential consumer need for something like Cuvva.
How did you know there was a market for it?
The simple answer is we didn’t but believed that if we made the process as simple and hassle-free as possible people would see the real value in what we are trying to do. Car insurance is just one of those things that people instinctively think is going to be a pain, so the idea with Cuvva was to use a layer of technology to make something people will need to do at some point as hassle free as possible.
What were you doing before starting up?
I previously ran a hospitality and eco-energy business
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
I don’t think it’s so much a case of wanting to run my own business as it is being able to do something that I am passionate about.
How did you raise the money?
The initial round came from a series of friends, family, and angels.
Describe your business model and how you make money?
Cuvva takes a percentage of the policies sold through the app
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We are the UK’s first hourly insurance for drivers in the UK that works like this so there have been a number of challenges to overcome. From on boarding the right partners as underwriters to actually building an app that simplifies a very complicated process at the backend so it’s as easy as possible for the end user; there has been a long list of challenges and things we have learnt along the way.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Our biggest landmark to date was the app going live in October. Having a product in the market that people could use straight away was a huge breakthrough for us after all the hard work it had taken to get to that stage.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t let early setbacks stop you. We have learnt an awful lot along the way from things that at times seemed disastrous. The key is to try and remain positive. If you believe in what you are doing it’s easy to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move forward.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
Hopefully seeing where we can take Cuvva next. Obviously we are so focused on what we are doing right now that it’s difficult to try and gaze five years into the future