Startup Spotlight: Confused.com
Welcoming Confused.com to FinTech Connect!
Twitter Handle: @Confused_com
Louise O’Shea, CEO
Samuel Day, CMO
Andy Brockway, CTO
Karen Maguire, Financial Director
Tamsin Jones, Head of People and Planning
John Cooper (Commercial Director)
Founded: 26th March 2002
Tell us about yourself: Confused.com was one of Wales’s (and the UK’s) first – if not The first – fintech company. It was founded 17 years ago before there was even a word coined for the sector, pioneering the idea that technology could be used to solve customer problems and save them time and money. Confused.com, which was born and is based entirely in Cardiff, founded price comparison in the UK – an entire market that is now the source of how 81% of people buy their car insurance. The website enables customers to compare prices on a range of insurance and financial products, including car insurance, home insurance and life insurance. Confused.com is part of a global group of comparison services and is also a digital marketplace for other fintechs, who use its technology to power their services.
Why did you choose FinTech Connect?: Fintech Connect is where thought leaders and major institutions of fintech gather to share innovations and decisions – and as one of the UK’s first fintechs founded 17 years ago, we want to be part of that dialogue. It is vital to share knowledge on best practise, and to drive digital transformation, and where better to do so than with like-minded businesses? It’s an excellent opportunity to help attract Fintech talent and to build strategic partnerships.
What's your 'origin story'?
Confused.com was founded in 2002, by four people in a cramped Cardiff office, who thought there must be a better way to compare insurance quotes than via high-street brokers, broker websites or directly through an insurer's website. From that, they coined the idea of creating a comparison website for car insurance, therefore using technology to solve a customer problem. They launched one of the UK’s first fintechs before the term ‘fintech’ was coined! Once up and running, this was quickly followed by Home Insurance and today, we provide a digital marketplace for a growing range of financial services. We have 270 members of staff operating in a two-storey office in Cardiff and we have been instrumental in launching other digital marketplaces in six locations across the world. This makes us part of the largest group of its kind in the world.
What's been your greatest challenge in growth to date?
We operate in a very competitive market. However, Confused.com has remained a major player and has maintained its position by focusing on more effective marketing in response to market conditions and implementing improvements for customers. In 2018, the business also surpassed its £1bn revenue milestone, highlighting the longevity of Confused.com’s success as a fintech company.
Where and how do you differentiate yourselves against the growing FinTech start-up demographic?
Unlike most fintechs, Confused.com is not a start up – we’re an established company of 17 years. And our longevity is a testament to our success. The company has faced all its challenges head on resulting in 10% revenue and 42% profit growth year-on-year in 2018 – a significant achievement for the brand. We are still innovating which is proving successful through our ability to power other fintechs and our global group, Penguin Portals, is continuing to grow.
What are your goals for the next 18 months?
We are planning to build on our successes in 2019 and beyond. We are developing partnerships with other fintechs including ClearScore, USwitch and Money.co.uk to power marketplaces for their websites/apps. We will build on these relationships and are creating new relationships with other fintechs. We also launched a new marketing campaign in 2018 - ‘Don’t be Confused. Be Confused.com’. The campaign shuns the brash language and gimmicky tactics of the category in favour of a more worldly, helpful and frank tone. This new campaign has helped to differentiate the brand against competitors, doubling our spontaneous awareness, meaning people are much more likely to think of us when they think of our category. The campaign has also inspired the business to return to its roots and focus on innovating solutions in the interest of helping customers. We intend to continue with this tone and develop our customer services even further. Confused.com has adopted a new way of making marketing work smarter, with dedicated marketing P&L teams for the priority product areas to ensure the right customers are being reached at the right time. This has seen some products have their biggest ever months for revenue in 2019. By continuing to improve and innovate our services with our current strategies, we want to encourage customers to return to us and to improve profit and revenue growth even further. We also have growth ambition for our global group, Penguin Portals, with plans to take on new territories across the globe. As the Group’s flagship business, we’ll be instrumental in supporting these fledgling operations as they launch, find their feet and grow.
Do you have customers yet? If not, how far into your business lifecycle are you?
We have been around for 17 years and we generate more than one million quotes on a monthly basis.
Why should our community come and meet you at the show?
As a founding fintech brand we think we have a lot of knowledge to offer. But more than that, come and find out our School of Tech or our Academies. We are champions of technology change and our School of Tech pairs non-technical employees with data engineers to help them understand AI. Find out what it’s like to work at Confused.com from one of experts who can tell you about our tech department or what it’s like to be a Product owner. Or come and learn our partnership with Microsoft. The list goes on!
Find out more about the Startup LaunchPad at FinTech Connect, 3–4 December at ExCeL, London