Date: 2009-05-13 Category: Profiles
Profile: Quote Exchange
Founded in 2006, Quote Exchange are the "brains behind the back-end" of many well known comparison websites. Since predicting the demand for online comparison solutions, the company has developed comparison technology for several well-known brands including Lloyds TSB and Norwich Union Direct. With their unique technology enabling limitless comparison options - not just on price - Quote Exchange say that consumers will soon be able to compare anything from shopping malls to mascara, and from toothpaste to schools.
Sali Earls spoke to Quote Exchange to find out more.
Whats the history of your company?
Quote Exchange was borne out of the online insurance broker, Insure Your Motor.com, which was founded in June 2000 with the principal aim of providing motorists with a choice of cheaper car insurance from a panel of brokers and direct insurers.
In 2004, Insure Your Motors Managing Director, David Harlow, started working with long-time friend and technology expert, Stephen Peck, as both recognised that the insurance market was fast becoming more competitive and that technology would be a key differentiator.
As well as developing new sites for niche markets, including car insurance for females and under 25s, Harlow and Peck started channeling more resource into developing their own comparison software, which was first packaged as business to consumer site, Quote Detective. Yet despite this early prediction of how popular comparison websites would become, it very quickly became clear that to market their own aggregator to consumers required resource in excess of what was available.
It was at this point, late in 2005, a decision was taken to focus on a business to business B2B model, supplying aggregator technology to other businesses. This led to Quote Exchange forming in early 2006.
Early contracts included Insurancewide.com the online portal providing insurance services to search engines, Yahoo and MSN and global auction site, eBay, Swinton and Endsleigh, which led to an invitation to tender from Lloyds TSB.
Following a rigorous two-month tender process, Quote Exchange was appointed to work with Lloyds TSBs incumbent creative agency and develop comparison software for two new websites - www.lloydstsbcompare.com and www.insurance.co.uk.
Lloyds TSB Compare launched in February 2008, replacing Tesco Compare as Defaqtos No.1 rated consumer comparison website.
Quote Exchange continues to work closely with Lloyds TSB and have since won contracts with eCar, Norwich Union soon to be Aviva and comparethemarket.com - the UKs 4th largest aggregator.
What unique products/services does your company provide?
Our product and service is unique in that our technology is completely bespoke; developed specifically for each client brief.
We are also the first comparison technology provider to be able to compare on more than just price - giving our clients the option of multiple comparison criteria, ensuring that our clients customers get the best product for their needs not just simply the cheapest.
Whats been the key to your success?
Our product and our people.
By identifying opportunities and predicting industry demand weve obviously benefited from first-mover advantage. However, as a small specialist business, it is our people - the Quote Exchange team of developers - that have ensured our success. By investing in our staff - both existing and new - we continue to invest in our product.
What one piece of advice would you give to start-up companies in your field?
Research, consider all your options and dont be too proud or shy to ask!
When Quote Exchange formed in early 2006, like many new start-ups, we had very little financial backing. Had we not come across the Governments business incubation scheme - intended to accelerate the successful development of business start-ups - it would have undoubtedly taken us a lot longer to reach the point were at now.
Through the incubation scheme, we were eligible to rent office space in the Springboard Innovation Centre - a fully equipped, modern suite of serviced offices, where we were able to take advantage of the on-site administrative support.
The Springboard set-up, including their in-house staff, gave our business the professional edge from day one, which as a start-up with only three employees made a huge difference to how we were perceived by prospective clients.
In addition to the excellent administrative support, Springboard also put us in touch with several useful contacts within local Government and identified areas we might be eligible for grants, which in our first 18 months, was hugely appreciated!
Weve now been in our own offices in Llantarnum Park, Cwmbran for sixteen months and are rapidly expanding to fill the space!
Where do you see your company going in the future?
Our aim is to continue to expand our business by developing our product for new markets and for new purposes.
Find out more about Quote Exchange at www.quoteexchange.co.uk.
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