People’s Champion finalist 2017: Hometree
Will the boiler installation start-up that offers online video consultations with GasSafe experts secure your vote for Startups Awards People's Champion?
Start-up name: Hometree
Founders: Simon Phelan and Andreu Tobella
Started in: September 2016
Based in: London
Business description: Boiler installation company offering video calls with GasSafe engineers
The Hometree story:
A major inconvenience for homeowners up and down the country, particularly now that we are approaching winter, a broken boiler has the capacity to disrupt an entire household – so getting it fixed is a matter of real urgency.
With boiler surveys normally conducted via an in-home visit, this format often isn’t ideal for a number of reasons.
While consumers often need to wait up to two weeks for an appointment, long estimated times of arrival means that a homeowner will often have to take a full day off from work – not to mention the fact they’ll often be at the mercy of a boiler engineer-come salesman working for commission who’s ready to upsell.
Looking to cut out the middleman and disrupt the heating industry with some much-needed technology, London-based Hometree offers consumers all boiler-related services with the added value of offering a video call from its boiler experts.
Allowing homeowners to receive online advice from a fully-trained Gas Safe engineer, Hometree seeks to offer users a solution to their problems in a non-pressured environment at a convenient time for them.
Claiming to offer prices 25% to 30% lower than those of its competitors, Hometree sells boilers from leading brands including Worcester, Bosch, Vaillant, Ideal and others, finance options through Shawbrook Bank, and offers smart thermostats from Hive and Nest.
The start-up is founded by Simon Phelan and Andreu Tobella who met when Tobella was leading the product team at Hive.
Having only launched in September 2016, Hometree has already raised over £2.5m from venture capital firms LocalGlobe, DN Capital, Oxford Capital & FJ Labs, and a range of angels have all backed the business too.
A number of these angel investors have vast experience within the heating sector including private equity investor Jon Moulton, Ian Marchant, former chief executive of energy company SSE, Ian Nolan, former head of the UK Green Investment Bank and Oliver Pawle, founder of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation.
The head of GE in Europe, Mark Hutchinson, is also a Hometree investor, as are a number of directors at Generation Investment Management – former US Vice President Al Gore’s London-based investment management firm.
Why Hometree made our shortlist:
Just over a year old and already earmarked for success by a range of industry-experienced investors, Hometree is now looking to expand its offering beyond just boiler repair and into a full home services business.
Employing over 20 staff, and growing rapidly, Hometree is providing a modern solution to the boiler industry and has a number of high-profile venture capital firms behind it to support its growth.