September at The Floow is prime time for reflecting over the past 12 months as we launch into a fresh new cycle. My thoughts this year are inspired by the recent, long summer I spent with my family in Michigan and California, working closely with our team and partners stateside. The US has become our largest market and a growing proportion of The Floow resources and efforts are directed to support our insurance partners in North America.
Quality time spent with clients and prospects provides the richest form of learning and the most reliable feedback on what we do well and what isn’t quite there yet. A great tech business is never “done”, it’s a constant labour of love, an edifice never quite completed. The Floow – our very own artwork – is no exception, so I have recorded several building blocks from the last 12 months:
- A superb and diverse team of almost 120: Over the last year we have almost doubled our employee count. It gives me joy to welcome to our Floow Campus so many brilliant and inspiring minds, in disciplines including mobile, platform, web, data science, digital design, psychology, marketing and sales. We have remained true to our promise to promote from within. All leadership roles at The Floow are performed by colleagues who grew organically and proved themselves on the job (the few exceptions are posts where we internally lacked specific skills). The message is powerful: all at The Floow can see who gets promoted and so learn what makes one successful. Internally grown leaders are the bearers of our strong culture and have proven their worth countless times in the heat of action. Take James R for example, who started as an Android Developer in Sept 2012 and is now Head of Platform. Diversity has also increased remarkably: 44% of our senior and leadership team are women. I observe every day how this mix makes us better and stronger.
- Our home in Detroit: Growing our operations stateside is a dream coming true. It is hard to describe the kick I get from feeling at home in our Michigan office. The North American market has responded to our efforts with generosity, presenting tremendous opportunity for growth. I always felt this is a special place where the impossible can happen. The choice of the Detroit area as our base carries meaning in more ways than one. I feel we are, in small part, contributing to the rebirth of this proud city. The parallel with Sheffield, painful past and promising future, is inspiring. In my life I have always sided for the underdog, in large part because that’s what I see when I look in the mirror. I am even prouder of our larger US team. Between John K, Dave H, Nathan G, Beckie G, Christina P, Brian M and Cindy B we have assembled a team with tremendous experience in the US telematics industry.
- Investment in new functions across the business: While continuing to invest in foundational teams such as Engineering and Data Science, we have created new departments such as Marketing, Sales, Pricing & Actuarial Services. As a result, The Floow has changed a lot internally over the last 12 months. The strong engineering DNA (70% of our staff have a technical background) is now richer, with skills and resources extending the outer surface of the organisation for greater market impact. We have developed a marketing strategy and a product focus that increase our brand equity, relevance in the marketplace and traction across a number of territories. As a result, our pipeline has never been stronger.
- Focus on client relationships: Since inception, we have acted as if our insurance clients own us and have been single-minded in our focus and devotion to their needs. In the last 12 months we decided to test the accuracy of our perceptions introducing a bi-annual NPS survey to obtain insights into how clients view our working relationship and how we can improve for the future. It was good to see that clients world-wide found The Floow innovative, committed and reliable.
- Our Africa trade mission with the UK Prime Minister: At the end of August, we were honoured to be invited to accompany UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, on her trade trip to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Our Chief Operating Officer, David James, represented The Floow on the trip and presented how our solutions can benefit African users now and in the future. It also coincided with the announcement of our partnership with Liberty Short-Term Insurance who has recently brought an innovative telematics proposition to the South African market with our data science and scoring capabilities right at its heart.
As The Floow develops globally it is more important than ever to cherish and treasure our culture, based on the four pillars of Ambition, Innovation, Collaboration and Commitment. They inform our essence and guide our actions everywhere.
Building a business is the hardest thing I have ever done. However, working with smart people I admire and trust, whilst observing the progress we are making towards safer and smarter mobility, fills me with energy and optimism for the journey awaiting.
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