Meet the First Foundry Cohort: Introducing Viaduct Group
Powered by FinTech Wales, the Foundry is a unique, not for profit accelerator programme designed to scale the next generation of digital ventures in Wales. This week, as part of a series of interviews chronicling the founders within the Foundry’s first cohort, we had the opportunity to speak with , CEO & Co-Founder of Viaduct Group.
Tell us about your team and its experience.
Andy Haynes was the co-founder and joint CEO at Insure The Box, where we pioneered the use of telematics in car insurance. Andy has been responsible for a number of innovations during his career.
Simon Boakes was CFO at Insure The Box and was previously a co-founder of Utilita Group, UK pioneer of Smart Meter energy supply. Simon has worked within the PE sector and supported many start-up businesses as an independent CFO and NED.
Jon Sinclair is the ex-Compliance Officer at Insure The Box, with a large and varied career in financial services and compliance. Jon has built an extensive knowledge of the compliance, security and privacy of data, and how this is managed, given the volumes of data produced by telematics and connected car devices.
Between us we have a wealth of experience in managing insurance businesses and been involved in a wide range of start-ups and M&A activities as well as business transformation programmes.
What is the big idea for Viaduct?
To transform the customer experience for UK and Global car insurance through the use of AI and new technology to bring a digital real-time experience for customers.
We have developed a unique game-changing proposition using new AI enabled connected car technology. The devices are installed into the customer’s vehicle, by the customer, on a simple self-fit basis. They are solar powered.
We see post-pandemic that customers are expecting more from their service providers. The world of mobility is changing, so we have built a solution to meet these fresh demands.
What are your unique selling points? (USP’s)
Our 3 key USPs are:
- A new multi-layer revenue model featuring new value-added technology-services with enhanced cross-sell to drive increased retention and boost Ebitda. We are passionate that 21st century car insurance customers deserve a better relationship with their insurance provider than the market can currently provide.
- Dynamic customer portfolio management through continuous “military-grade” driving data and real-time driver support services, in order to deliver a significant reduction in claim costs.
- Immediate accident management support with emergency services call-out, together with a helping-hand when its most needed, which will save lives.
Just how big is the jump for the next generation of telematics?
We are a connected car insurance business so view ourselves as a massive jump forward from telematics. The main difference is that our business model centres around real-time customer interaction and feedback whilst traditional telematics does not.
One example where we bring these services together is in providing the customer with an audible alert if they drive 2 + hours without a break. Tiredness is one of the biggest causes of serious road accidents. When issuing the alert, we will offer the customer a discount voucher on their mobile phone, for a nearby coffee shop chain, so they can get a drink, take a break and rest. The aim is to reduce the risk of accidents and earn advertising income.
What is the social and economic impact of what you’re building?
The societal benefit is using the connected car technology to reduce the number of road accidents, particularly serious incidents, as well as delivering a solution which educates drivers to drive responsibly, backed by incentives and rewards for driving safely.
The key economic benefits are:
- lower claims costs for insurers.
- reduced burden on the emergency services and the Health Service through encouraging customers to drive safely.
- the creation of a wide range of roles within SE Wales. We aim to have nearly four hundred jobs by year five.
You’ve been given a whistle-stop tour of the Welsh Fintech ecosystem these past few weeks, how does it compare with the rest of the UK?
As a team we have a lot of experience of local area and regional grants which make a real difference to a start-up. We have worked with some amazing people who are dedicated to helping businesses create new jobs and develop opportunities in their region. We have seen a parallel with the pride and fierce passion here to promote the local economy.
In Wales, we have seen the benefits of having a wider eco-system in place, so as a start-up there is a greater range of support services and funding available – quite literally, a one-stop shop. We have been introduced to some tremendous potential partners who are focussed on helping us to make a difference.
You have already led a successful exit of your previous venture. What advice can you give to other founders about that journey?
There is so much to say although we know each journey is different. Many of the points everyone will recognise. Some of our key experiences to share are:
- Build a solid foundation – It is more than having a great idea and being first to market. You need to ensure you are solving a real-world problem, and building a scalable, sustainable solution.
- A start up business is the ultimate team game.
- Create memories with your team on the start-up journey, this will help build the right culture for your business.
- It is worth investing in robust governance early because it saves a lot of pain down-stream. As you build your business, be aware that one day, you will have someone doing due diligence on your business as part of a sale process.
- Perseverance and resilience are key qualities.
Construct a set of design principles, in order to guide you when you encounter a problem which you have not experienced before.
Find Out More
You can find out more about Viaduct by following the link below to their LinkedIn: