UK startups are indeed paving the way for breakthroughs and innovations one after another. As we continue our Featured UK Startup series, we're putting Hometree on centre stage next—an online-led boiler installation company working towards becoming a significant player in the smart home services industry.
Company name: Hometree
Founders: Simon Phelan, Co-Founder and CEO, and Andreu Tobella, Co-Founder, CPO and CTO
Headquarters: Highbury, North London
Launched: January 2016
Q: In simple terms, what does your startup do?
Simon: Hometree is the UK heating industry's first online-led boiler installation company, leveraging technology to deliver a boiler installation service unlike anything seen in the industry before—at prices typically 35%-50% cheaper than British Gas. We put the customer at the forefront of everything we do.
Q: What problem/s do you seek to solve or help?
Simon: The vision for Hometree is to build a smart home services company that provides the services that every connected home needs.
For too long, boilers have been sold by trained salesmen in the home at massively inflated prices. Hometree was created to help empower people to take back control of getting a new boiler installed. Both our phone & online journeys give customers total transparency, providing them with A-class boilers at fixed prices, all professionally installed by Gas Safe Engineers at a time that suits them. Now we plan to do even more to empower UK consumers.
As consumers increasingly buy into smart home security, solar power, energy storage and other connected devices that need professional installation, Hometree's proven ability to link skilled tradespeople with best in class technology, customer service and transparent pricing makes us a natural choice for homeowners looking for one company to take care of everything.
We have started with boiler installation as this gives us the opportunity to show how Hometree can deliver services with the level of clarity and immediacy that those who use online services have come to expect. Now we will move into further areas including boiler servicing and boiler protection.
Q: Are you funded and how?
Simon: Hometree has been backed by some of Europe's best VC's and angel investors having raised a total of $15.3M in funding over five rounds. Hometree's initial backers including DN Capital, LocalGlobe, Oxford Capital and Jon Moulton also contributed to the first round of funding. In September 2018, Hometree secured $8.5 million in financing from a group of leading investors led by newly formed AV8 Ventures.
Our investors have backed some of the world's leading innovators such as Eve Sleep, Purple Bricks and Zoopla.
Q: What were you doing before you started Hometree?
Simon: Before Hometree, the first five years of my career were in Private Equity, with a particular focus on Turnarounds having worked for Jon Moulton, Chairman of the Better Fund Capital vehicles. In December 2014 I was made CEO of Spicers, a leading wholesaler of Office Supplies in the UK.
Q: What inspired you to start Hometree?
Simon: I was inspired to start Hometree given the opportunity to be at the forefront of the utility shift into services. There is a wave of disruptive changes sweeping through the energy sector such as new energy options, customer and technology-focused suppliers, and connected home technologies, which all are providing customers with more information and choices. Today's energy customers expect better and more services, transparent and competitive pricing and the power to control their transactions and engage with their supplier. Within the sector, there is a realisation that change is inevitable and that being customer-led is vital to survive and thrive. Utilities will need to switch from passively supplying electricity and gas to actively managing customers' homes. That being said, many utilities will struggle to make this transition, and I was inspired to start Hometree as I believe we can build a technology-enabled and branded end-to-end services company that makes it seamless and easy for customers to get the integrated offering they are looking for in the home.
Q: What are your goals over the next five years? Where do you see yourself and Hometree?
Simon: In the next five years, I see us building a challenger brand dedicated to enabling customers to install and embrace smart technology in their home. Our next step is to create the protection segment of our business, protecting boilers against breakages and repairs as well as installing them. Following this, we will be well-equipped to expand into other smart home operations such as home security. In five years I see Hometree having hundreds of thousands, if not millions of customers with at least one service provided by Hometree, and ideally the majority of our customers will be using multiple services.
Images courtesy of Hometree. To learn more, visit the Hometree website.
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