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Apr 19

Interview: James Blackham CEO Just Miles

Co-founders: Callum Rimmer CTO (left) and James Blackham CEO (right)

1. What were you doing before you started Just Miles? 

Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, responsible for building out a digital platform called Marquee 

 

2. Starting a business is an exciting time and not without some risk, what was the driving factor behind your choice to leave the security of employment and join the ranks of the entrepreneurs? 

I've always had the desire to create a business from scratch and I wasn't getting any younger so I felt like it was now or never

 

3. Did you know what you were going to do before you left employment?

No - I had some ideas of areas that are interesting but I needed time to focus on them and deep dive 

 

a) how long did it take to find an idea that you felt had prospects and how did you research the idea before committing to it?

We spent a month researching insurtech broadly before committing 

 

4. You are now CEO of Just Miles, what is the business and who is it aimed at?

Just Miles is car insurance for the millions of drivers who drive less than average.  We're building a product that fits much better around the customer and aims to give them better value where ever we can

 

5. What advice would you give to anyone considering making the same move as you?

Do it! You can always go back to working for other people, only you'll have valuable experience.

 

Just-Miles Logo6. Start-ups need finance and there are many options available, which route did you go down and why?

We sourced a small initial investment from an investment firm called Hambro Perks.  Insurance is a regulated business which means you need a strong business model and good backing 

 

9. What are your thoughts on crowdfunding? And is this a method of financing you would ever chose yourself?

Crowdfunding is great if you have a product and need to raise the upfront manufacturing costs because it proves out the idea.

It's less useful for FinTech at the early stage but recently more established start-ups like Revolut and Monzo have used it for part of a bigger raise backed by VCs.  I think this is a great combination because it allows the company to raise valuable institutional funding while letting loyal customers get involved too.

 

10.  In your opinion when is the most dangerous time period in the life of a start up?

The time before you have 'product-market fit'

 

11. What about the business excites you most?

The chance to really make a difference to customers and to change a product that hasn't changed in decades.  

 

12. in order to generate sales or acquire leads Startups need to promote their product/service to potential clients/customers how are you marketing Just Miles and how well is it going?

We aren't FCA regulated yet so we can't promote the product to customers.  We will use multiple channels but we're aiming for as much online as possible 

 

13. Social media, how important is it to the success of Just Miles

Critical - it's essential to have open communication with our customers to build trust.  an early post on LinkedIn about what we are doing was seen by 80,000 people 

 

14. Key performance indicators, what are yours and how often do you measure them?

It's too early right now but: customer acquisition costs, customer satisfaction and response times, regulatory performance 


James Blackham
CEO and Co-founder
http://justmiles.co.uk


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Jennifer Warner

Jennifer Warner
Marketing Manager

E: JWarner@clarkslegal.com
T: 020 7539 8076
M: 0750 003 8031