Today, I am particularly proud to be part of the Insurtech Gateway. By Miles, our very first portfolio company have closed £15m in their Series B funding round!
It has been an awesome experience to see the company grow, winning the hearts of their customers (including me and my extended family!) along the way.
For anyone not in the loop, By Miles is the UK’s first real-time pay-by-mile car insurance provider – if you drive less, you pay less. So for those driving less than 7000 miles per year, it really is a no-brainer. Check out bymiles.co.uk.
Hannah: Having just closed your Series B, what are the 3 things you are most looking forward to achieving before you raise Series C?
James: This latest funding is all about expanding our team to cope with the rising popularity of pay-by-mile insurance and improve that experience even more for drivers in the UK, so we’ll see a rapid period of growth before we get to Series C.
I’m most looking forward to hitting the milestones of 100,000 active members and our billionth mile insured. We only really celebrate as a company each time we hit the next 10x multiple of active members, and the last party we had for friends, investors and partners was when we hit our first million miles insured.
We’ve promised a big party for the next milestone – and given that we’re closer to insuring 1 million miles a week now, hopefully we shouldn’t have to wait too long before we can plan it…
Callum: We’ve already seen our pay-by-mile policies make headlines, and our membership is clearly big and passionate enough that we were voted UK’s ‘Best Car Insurance Provider’ and ‘Best Insurance App’ at the Insurance Choice Awards last year. Before we launched in 2018, I said that I’d consider our company a success if we could get our members talking about how much they loved their car insurance in the pub. Before we reach Series C, the best indication of us hitting the mainstream will be if I actually overhear these conversations from strangers in pubs (when we’re allowed back in them).
Hannah: What do you enjoy the most and the least about the fundraising experience?
Callum: I enjoy meeting new people, taking them on our journey so far and getting a chance to talk about the future strategies of our business. You hear so many different perspectives while pitching, and you end up getting constructive feedback from some really smart people.
The least enjoyable part of fundraising is, without doubt, the time it takes. James and I pride ourselves on efficiency, but fundraising is a full time job too – and as the day-to-day demands of work don’t stop, it’s always a tiring few months.
Hannah: What is the best advice you have ever been given and did you follow it?
James: “There are easier companies to build than a car insurance company, so don’t do it”. I did not follow the advice.
Hannah: How do you see the future of mobility and insurance looking in…
… 5 years time
Callum: Honestly, I think the speed at which mobility evolves will be held up by insurance not keeping pace with advances in technology. A world full of self-driving cars is getting closer, and is possible by 2025, but even before coronavirus hit, industry experts were saying it would take longer for proper self-driving cars to hit the roads in any sort of volume. There’s no doubt that the impacts of coronavirus will further slow down the speed of innovation in the auto manufacturing industry.
In the current climate, I’d expect to see alternative modes of transport flourish as people avoid taking mass public transport (at least in the short term), with cities potentially prioritising car free streets more and more post-lockdown.
At least in the short-term, car travel will increase in popularity as a safer, socially distant option, though people won’t necessarily own their own cars – modes of car sharing will no doubt increase in popularity.
… 50 years time
James: I think Elon Musk will potentially have a lot to answer for when we look back at the advances in mobility in 50 years time. Whether it’s electric vehicles being the norm (made more popular by Tesla), commercial space travel being a reality (Space X), underground motorways (tunnelled by his Boring Company) or a socially distant super-fast equivalent of getting the tube to work (Hyperloop), I’m not sure they’ll all succeed, but I think he’s onto a few winning ideas.
Hannah: How is By Miles preparing itself to be relevant for those futures?
James: The important thing to recognise is the insurance services and models that serve us today aren’t necessarily fit for the way we live our lives now, and they’re certainly not ready for tomorrow. A city of the future, with safer roads and cleaner air, full of self-driving electric vehicles, with streets lined with cars you can borrow instantly just isn’t possible unless the right sort of insurance is there to enable it.
We’re working hard to make sure we’re delivering a superior insurance experience for our current members, while keeping an eye on the future so we can make sure we’re ready for what’s coming next.
Callum: We launched the world’s first connected car policy towards the end of last year, using data sent directly from a car’s manufacturer to work out the premium, supporting Teslas first. It’s the first step to enable the delivery of more flexible and tailored insurance insurance policies that reward people for driving smarter and safer vehicles.
Hannah: Please can you share your all time favourite space fact with us?
Callum: The Sun makes up 99.86% of the Solar System’s mass.
James: Planet number 100027 is named Hannaharendt after the philosopher Hannah Arendt.
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