In the last few posts in my Life at a Start-up series I have talked about how we want to work as a company, our hiring process and the office environment, but in this post I want to talk about the 2 products that we are building here at Buying Butler and RightIndem. On initial inspection they may look like two completely disparate products, but there is a link between the two that makes them a very attractive proposition. First I will explain what the Buying Butler platform is and then I will talk about what RightIndem is about. I will finish up by covering why these 2 products compliment each other.
Buying Butler is a platform that allows a customer to make a complex purchase with the help of an expert. We are focusing on car purchases at the moment, but we can expand the platform to include any type of purchase that requires a lot of research to buy like laptops, bikes, white goods etc. The way the system works is like the following. You specify your requirements using plain language search parameters. For example you may specify that safety is more important than speed. You need plenty of boot space, or you might want a smaller faster car. The Buying Butler engine will take your requirements and using our algorithms select a series of cars that you can then refine your search with.
Once you have a good idea of what you want you can then proceed to a tendering phase where your requirements are sent out to dealers who are signed up to the platform. These could be within a certain distance boundary that you can specify. These dealers can then make offers against each other anonymously. So, for example, one dealer might say, that they can’t come down on their price but they could throw in some extra fittings. Another dealer might not have the car in the colour you originally specified but they can drop the price by £500 etc. Once you have picked an offer that you like you can then arrange a test drive and follow through with your purchase.
Originally Buying Butler was designed to be a business to consumer service. This has changed to be a business to business to consumer offering instead. This change came about after the company took part in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Program that gives start-ups access to very experienced business advisors. They advised us that targeting a consumer market was very tough indeed and would require a lot of money in marketing to just get people through the door. We was advised to look at targeting the employee benefits market, and this is what we have done. We have now signed deals with some very large employee benefits providers so that when the next version of the platform is ready we can become an offering in their benefits packages which gives us access to a huge audience. This also opens up opportunities for offering low interest loans for products as the loan payments can be taken via salary sacrifice (deducted at source directly from a pay packet) which makes the loan much lower risk for a loan company. The possibilities are endless.
This leads onto our other product, RightIndem. RightIndem is actually a completely separate company to BuyingButler. It was founded by our CEO Graham Blaney along with another guy called David Stubbs who owns another company called ETWB, a car valuation company. Buying Butler owns half of RightIndem. As developers we are employed by Buying Butler but we could be working on Buying Butler itself or doing work for RightIndem in which our services are cross charged.
The RightIdem product itself is an Insurance Claim handling system that aims to reduce the total claim handling time for an insurance claim and remove the frustration for the claimant. From a claimants point of view, managing a claim can be very frustrating as they need to call the call centre of the insurance company a lot to chase the status of their claim. This is frustrating for the claimant and expensive for the insurance company.
The RightIndem platform aims to manage the entire lifecycle of the claim. We start off by initiating the claim. From the roadside, after an accident, the claimant can either phone the call centre to start the claim or they can use our responsive site to start the claim electronically. This will let them also take photos of the damage so the insurance company can start the assessment straight away. The claimant can log onto our system to see the state of their claim at any time, and the insurance company can also log into the platform to manage the claim. Via a secure messaging system the claimant and insurance company can also talk to each other to so they can respond to queries.
Using this system we aim to reduce the frustration for the claimant, and also drastically reduce the claim cycle time from start to finish. By giving the claimant a nice online journey and agreeing a settlement sooner, there is a much greater chance that the claimant will renew their policy with the insurance company.
Currently we have focused on the total loss journey for a vehicle claim. This where the vehicle is beyond economical repair and is being written off. We have this built and deployed we are currently piloting with some large insurance companies. The interest in our platform has been crazy. We all expect RightIndem to go places very quickly which is very exciting.
We have many plans for this platform for vehicles and also other industries, but I can’t write about any of that yet. Watch this space.
Buying Butler and RightIndem Working Hand in Hand
So from what I have written we have two quite distinct products. Buying Butler is a complex purchase buying service that currently targets the car market and its main channel is the employee benefits market. Then we have RightIndem that is an insurance claims handling system. So is there any commonality? Well, actually yes there is. Imagine you have had an accident and your car is deemed to be a total loss. You go through our claims system and agree a settlement and you get a pay-out of say £6000. That’s great that the claim has been settled, but what you really want is to be in the same position you was before you had the accident, and that is to own a car. This is where RightIndem can feed into Buying Butler as another channel for car replacements.
After the claim, for example, we know you had a blue Ford Mondeo and we have settled the claim for £6000. We can feed that into Buying Butler to help you try and replace your vehicle. As a lead generation tool for dealers this is fantastic as we know you have the money in your bank account so this becomes an excellent and high value lead for the dealers too as they can prioritise on where they spend their time. Once we have the new version of Buying Butler ready and the car replacement journey done for RightIndem we are going to have a truly incredible system.
The future looks very good indeed and we are doing this with the latest cutting edge development techniques and tools. We also have big plans for Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics which are going to produce some fantastic features for these systems, especially in the fraud detection and prevention areas. I will write more on this in the future.