From idea, to consumer driven growth
When yallacompare (originally branded "compareit4me") Co-Founder Jon Richards came up with the idea of his startup in 2011, it was rooted to the gaps he saw in the UAE market services which were part of his everyday life in the UK.
“I didn’t come up with something so new or so fresh. All I’ve done is that I’ve taken something that I use in my everyday life in the UK and I’ve applied it here.” -- Jon Richards
Together with his Co-Founder Samer Chehab, they launched Compareit4me as a finance comparison site for bank accounts and credit cards growing since then to include comparisons between personal loans, mortgages, car loans. In 2016 they have diversified their product portfolio to include car and health insurance comparison.
In 2017, Compareit4me’s year-on-year growth in insurance policy sales reached 600 percent, making the company, by a considerable margin, the largest insurance aggregator in the UAE and one of the country’s top insurance distributors. Their growth prompted them to expand their call center and take on a new brand identity as yallacompare as they geared up to further expand their insurance comparison platform in KSA and Egypt, serving a total of 9 countries (UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait and under the name of amwalak.com in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Oman), and having built a team of more than 120 people strong.
Raising funds to scale
Their rapid expansion and proven business model has attracted institutional investors. As of 2019, they have raised over $17 million from investors including Dtec Ventures, Wamda Capital, STC Ventures, Saned Partners, Iris Capital and US-based, Fintech focused investor, Argo Ventures.
Focus and execute
When asked what they would advise to entrepreneurs here’s what they have to say:
“...focus on executing your plans and your goals, and don’t look outside, so much so that you’ll get distracted.” -- Samer Chehab
Jon also emphasizes how their company culture is a balance of both being focused and having fun.
When their team was asked what the company culture was:
“Every single one (of the team) says fun, fun, fun….Now that’s supplemented with: we execute, we deliver, we know exactly what we need and we know what it takes to be where we need to be. We focus on executing and delivering.”
Why Dtec Ventures invested in yallacompare
yallacompare is among our first investments back when the regional startup ecosystem was still very nascent. They were one of the very first players in the financial comparison space, adapting an idea that has been successful in Europe to the local region, which appealed to us. We liked that they focused on specific verticals at that time (banking and insurance) and have already shown impressive traction in revenues and client portfolio, servicing 4 markets, while maintaining a lean team.
We are a strong proponent of having a team behind the venture. And Jonathan and Samer cleanly fit the bill. Both have experience in marketing and employ a startup “can-do” culture in their company. Samer specializes in business development while Jon has experience in banking and insurance. We believed that they have a highly capable team operating at the right time, so they were in a unique position to take advantage of the market opportunity.