Homelyfe: Peter Goodman
Serial entrepreneur Peter Goodman talks about his new venture - an all-in-one insurance app that's looking to give the sector "a much-needed update"
Tell us what your business does:
Homelyfe is a new type of insurance company using technology to make buying and managing insurance easier for consumers.
We’ve initially launched with home buyer’s insurance, but will release multiple lines of insurance over the next year, which will ultimately allow people to manage all their insurance in one app.
The vision is that, in the app, you can do everything from getting quotes and purchasing, to managing and renewing multiple insurance policies and even initiating a claim – rather than manually struggling with multiple insurance policies across multiple insurers that are all separate and frustrating to work with.
Essentially, we’re going to give the insurance industry a much-needed update to help consumers get the right policy, at the right price, 24/7.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Homelyfe is a company that was born out of frustration. I always have been completely organised when it comes to work, but completely disorganised in running my home life – hence the name.
Insurance is the prime example; an important aspect of all of our lives that I could never bring myself to sort out, mostly because the process is so painful.
Insurance is a buyer’s market, which makes you wonder why insurance companies make it so hard for you to buy. Each time you get insurance, you need to provide the same information fresh again, regardless of whether you are with the same provider.
If I have life insurance, and want to get car insurance, why do I have to start at from the top by of the form, inserting my name and title. If the insurance industry was at all organised, it would take my information from a database, and I’d fill in the gaps.
It shouldn’t be as difficult as it is – life is easier than that now.
How did you know there was a market for it?
It’s clear that the process of buying/renewing your insurance was not set up in a customer centric way. The insurance industry is notoriously complex and archaic in its approach.
The unfortunate result is that a lot of British consumers spend a long time answering outdated questions and are not getting the adequate protection or cover they need and want.
For example, ahead of the launch, we did a survey of over a thousand British homeowners and those who are looking to buy their first home in the next two years.
82% of those people had never even heard of home buyers insurance, which protects the money you’ve already spent if your house purchase falls through at the last minute.
By comparison, nearly half of those people said they would consider using it for a future home purchase now they knew what it was. This just shows how terrible the insurance industry is at educating and helping customers.
In response, we’re taking a common-sense approach, without the jargon or the unnecessary hoops to make it easy for people to get the protection they need.
What were you doing before starting up?
After selling my last company, Brighter Option, and doing my time at Salesforce, I was all set to start my retirement at 36. However, I soon realised retired life wasn’t for me – I was too restless. So, I started investing in start-ups, but even that wasn’t enough.
I am a driver, not a passenger, and investing in other people’s businesses just made me want to get back in into the driver’s seat myself. Consequently, I’ve now gone from retirement to founding three businesses.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
After graduating with a law degree, I always knew that I didn’t want to work for someone else and that I would be more successful if I started my own business.
How did you raise the money?
Initially we started with investment from a select group of angels, and I take great pride in working alongside the investors in my businesses. We’ve since raised a super seed round with Talis Capital and Peterson Ventures.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
The app is free on the App Store and Google Play, but Homelyfe does make a commission on every policy sold.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The start of my entrepreneurial journey was challenging though. After over trading in my first business, I was left in significant debt. At this point, it would have probably been easier if I had called it a day, but instead I took the experience as a learning curve and persevered.
What was your first big breakthrough?
I launched several other companies after my first business but the most notable was Brighter Option in 2008, which became the largest social advertising platform. Brighter Option was sold to Buddy Media in 2012, which then sold to Salesforce later that year for around $730m.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I’d advise other entrepreneurs to be flexible, admit when something hasn’t worked, and be willing to try a better way. When I first started out, I didn’t really understand the importance of pivoting. I had an idea, and it just had to work because failure wasn’t an option.
Today, I change my mind sometimes on an hourly basis, and that is a good thing. Pivoting is important to ensure you are driving towards a dead end, and it’s important to know what changing your mind is an option.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
This business is all about convenience and allowing consumers to buy multiple general lines of insurance in one place. Our aim is for Homelyfe to become one of the most recognised names in insurance, with the potential to replicate our approach in international territories as well.