Why a move to Wellington works for business
Insuretech visionary and rebel CEO of JRNY, Michael Lovegrove, shares how they moved their work from Auckland to Wellington and never looked back
JRNY CEO Michael Lovegrove says he transitioned the insurance tech startup from Auckland to Wellington capitalise on the city's great work/life balance and hasn't looked back since.
Michael admits JRNY's product, an Insurance Distribution Platform that automates advice as well as the sale and management of insurance policies, suits the Auckland market, but Wellington offers something different.
“If you want to build a global company it doesn’t matter where you are because we’re going to have customers all around the world. We believe Wellington is the best place to build that team.”
“When we got down to Wellington there was just this community of people who were going ‘we can help you' and not looking for anything in return. In Wellington people are genuinely rooting for you to succeed."
After initially having a second office in Auckland, they made the call in 2019 to run everything out of the capital.
“You pick up kick-ass talented people in Wellington as well.”
In 2020, Trade Me’s Head of Delivery Diana Minnée came on board as chief operating officer, as they prepare to double their team to roughly 20 full time positions, in order to ease more comfortably into global markets.
A large portion of 2019 was spent focused on Singapore, which they see as their entry point into Asia, he says. An approach which has seen JRNY collaborate with NTUC Income, one of the country's largest general and health insurance providers.
Auckland just doesn't have the same support networks as Wellington.
Michael Lovegrove, JRNY
JRNY (pronounced ‘journey’) exists to lessen the $1.2 trillion worldwide insurance protection gap – a mission statement everyone on the team is driven by first and foremost, Michael says.
In 2016, when JRNY started out, it didn’t have a clear direction but after some refining and his own difficulties claiming insurance, their real mission began.
“We narrowed it down to the insurance customer experience, quite frankly, sucks, so let’s change it. And then it almost became our duty to challenge what insurance looked like.”
“It was like, if we don’t change this then people will constantly live with the fear of what happens if?”
2019 was a year of accolades for the JRNY team. They were selected in the top two fintech startups in Asia/Pacific at the Money 20/20 conference, they were named as ‘One to Watch’ by Deloitte in the Fast 50 Rising Star Awards, selected in the 2019 InsurTech100 by Fintech Global, and were picked in the top 12 start-ups globally (top four in Asia Pacific) as an Asian finalist at The Digital Insurer LIVEFEST Startup InsurTech awards.