Onedox: Hugh Nimmo-Smith, Richard Lewis and David Sheridan
Founder David Sheridan tells us why starting a family spurred him to launch his business and the benefits of having co-founders...
Name: David Sheridan
Company name: Onedox
Date launched: 19/10/15
Location: Greater London
Tell us what your business does:
We are looking to reduce the amount of time and money people spend on household bills. So, we’ve designed a free web-based service that provides customers with a clear, centralised view across their household accounts like gas, electric, internet and mobile.
It automatically identifies savings specific to each customer and provides a simple means of switching to better deals, and notifies customers when new activity has taken place (like a new bill or a contractual term coming to an end).
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea stemmed from finding it more and more time-consuming to keep track of multiple household accounts and keep them in order. Recently starting a family has brought the time issue acutely into focus!
Talking to friends and family about it, I found that they were in the same boat and, as a result, they weren’t getting value for money – often without realising it.
Once I discovered that my mother was overpaying hundreds of pounds every year for household services, I decided to start considering what solutions there could be to simplify and automate the process.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We’ve tried to adopt a lean and continuous approach to identifying market demand so that we could ensure that we’re building a product to match it. Initially, that meant undertaking surveys to qualify our assumptions, then getting constant feedback on our beta service.
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On a more macro-scale and to take the energy sector as an example, the UK Competitions and Markets Authority report recently identified that UK consumers collectively overpay by £1.2bn per year because they are not on the right gas or electricity tariff. Despite the existence of price comparison sites, many consumers are clearly not getting value for money from their household suppliers.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’ve spent the majority of the last five years as a consultant for large payment technology companies. Prior to that, I was with a start-up from early stage to a successful exit, which is where I met Hugh and Rick.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
As enjoyable as working in larger companies can be, I’ve increasingly missed the dynamism of being part of a small team and having the freedom to execute ideas quickly. Whether those ideas are successful or not, I won’t die wondering what might have been.
How did you raise the money?
We’re currently bootstrapping the business.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Our model is to provide the service to our customers for free. To facilitate this, where we make recommendations to our customers and they take them up, we receive an introductory fee from the supplier.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was to take the leap of faith and commit to the business 100%. Having business partners who have the same level of commitment undoubtedly made the decision easier.
That plus the unwavering support of my wife!
What was your first big breakthrough?
When we started we had an idea but we didn’t know how feasible it would be to create it, given nothing similar existed.
Translating the concept into a reality and building the end-to-end technical solution felt like a major milestone.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If you can manage it financially, don’t hesitate. Whether it’s successful or not and whatever you do in future, the experience will be invaluable.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
The ideal scenario would be for Onedox to have become the de facto means for managing all types of household bills and to have saved people millions. It’s also important that it remains a fun place to work and we’re continuing to provide a genuinely valuable service to our customers.