15. Hometree

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Founders: Simon Phelan and Andreu Tobella         
Founded: January 2016 (launched September 2016)
Website: www.hometree.co.uk

The home improvement industry is yet to fully realise the power of digital and Simon Phelan and Andreu Tobella found this to be especially true of the heating industry.

When Phelan, a former private equity investor for Jon Moulton, helped his business acquire Everest Home improvements he realised how “offline the industry was, and how the big players such as British Gas weren't trying to leverage e-commerce best practices”.

This was to be a light-bulb moment and, in September 2016, Phelan and engineer Tobella (ex-head of product at Hive) launched Hometree.

A boiler installation company, Hometree leverages modern technology to deliver an installation service which promises to be unlike anything seen in the heating industry before.

So how does it work? For a £99 refundable deposit, Hometree asks you to answer a few simple questions over the phone and, at the end of the call, gives you a fixed-price quote and schedules your new boiler installation date.

If you're worried about agreeing to a boiler after just one call, Hometree will set up a video call with a trained expert engineer to give you extra comfor that you're getting the right advice.

Enabling homeowners to buy a boiler in minutes, Hometree has taken off in the UK. In its first year of trading, the business installed 1,500 boilers and it plans to install between 5,000 to 6,000 in 2018 – this would make Hometree the country's third largest installer.

Backed by £5.3m from high-profile venture capitalists and angel investors including the former CEO of SSE; Ian Marchant, and the head of Goldman Sachs UK; Anthony Gutman, Phelan and Tobella are striving to make the business a pioneer in the energy and smart home industry. Not only that, but they want to “build one of Europe's most successful start-ups”.

Having ranked in the Startups 100 2018 as one of the UK's most successful start-ups, it's a goal that's well within reach.

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