A Q&A with AccuSure co-founder and CEO Jamie Reid. The San Diego-based startup, which offers small- and medium-sized businesses a solution for simplifying the process of comparison shopping for insurance, launched today at the DEMO Fall conference in Silicon Valley. It was founded in 2009 by Reid and Mike Shambach.
SUB: Please describe AccuSure and your primary innovation.
Reid: AccuSure is a cloud-based solution that helps small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) streamline and simplify the process of obtaining insurance quotes, saving them valuable time and money. We do this in four primary ways: 1 ) AccuSure introduces the right agents experienced in the business’s industry; 2) users complete just one application, one time. This streamlines the process to obtain quotes; 3) it provides tools to manage the insurance acquisition process; 4) AccuSure presents quotes through our Quote Analyzer tool that compares them in a side-by-side, apples-to-apples manner.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Reid: AccuSure is primarily a solution for SMBs in the United States. While we are focusing marketing efforts on restaurants, contractors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and business service companies, AccuSure supports all 2,000 industry categories.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates AccuSure from the competition?
Reid: While there is no direct software competition, we do compete for the attention of these businesses with other online lead generation web sites. Businesses are primarily solicited by insurance agents and a couple of those agencies have websites that provide quote ‘indications.’ This falls short of a full transaction online. These types of agencies provide a very narrow view of the total market, and they could be integrated with AccuSure’s technology as a quote option in the future.
SUB: You just launched to the public on stage at the DEMO Fall show? Is this a launch out of beta?
Reid: Yes—this launch is post beta.
SUB: Why was this the right time to launch?
Reid: Our launch coincides within an important time window when SMBs are acquiring insurance. In addition, launching during an important event creates momentum for adoption of our product. DEMO Fall 2014 is the perfect stage to do just that.
SUB: Have you raised outside funding to this point?
Reid: Yes, in addition to $200,000 infused by the founders, we have raised nearly $1 million in Seed funds from friends and family.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for AccuSure? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Reid: Several years ago I was sitting with a bright, well-educated business owner, hoping to earn her company’s insurance business. I said to her: “Here’s your quote. How do we compare to the other agents?” She went on to explain that three of the prospective agents had not provided her any type of quotes. Her incumbent agent presented her a quote, but it was not on one easy-to-read page like mine. Rather, it was practically a novel—literally 12 pages.
Here was a lady who attempted to qualify five agents to provide her quotes. Yet, at the end of the process, she could not easily compare them.
Sitting there with her, I had an epiphany. I realized businesses needed a software tool that would help them streamline and simplify the process of bidding their insurance. That’s when the idea of AccuSure came to me.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Reid: I was admitted into a startup foundation called Connect. There I met Mike Shambach and added him as a co-founder. From that point we conducted a nationwide proof of concept study via a third party firm while we were building the software. We completed a closed beta followed by an open pilot launch and now finally our formal launch at DEMO.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Reid: One of the biggest problems businesses have is understanding the quote options they receive from various agents. There is no industry standard to format and present them. Providing accuracy and an easy way to compare quotes is one of our core solutions. So, AccuSure was a name we arrived at that combines one of our core solutions and the term ‘insurance.’
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Reid: The technology uniquely builds a customized insurance application based on each business’s industry. This requires understanding all of the relevant questions that may be needed for all 2,000 industry types and presenting them in a way that is simple and easy-to-use. Also, providing a platform that provides an easy-to-use UI for a complex industry has been a time-consuming effort. We feel that our product is now very easy-to-use and will significantly benefit our customer base. We continue to make enhancements and add features to empower the SMBs, giving them control of the insurance process.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Reid: We are a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) company that introduces the product as a freemium model for businesses and a pay-per-lead charge for agents. We will subsequently migrate to a paid subscription model with commission revenues in the near future. Other potential revenues will be derived from third-party revenue share partnerships, advertising, premium financing and other strategic relationships.
SUB: What are your goals for AccuSure over the next year or so?
Reid: With additional funding, we will aggressively market our service offerings and grow our brand as the dominant player in this space. Also, we will continue the development of the AccuSure software, adding more features and functionality to our suite of tools.