Far Out Friday: Insurance website makes mum millions
A married mum-of-two from Wales who sketched out her business plan for a price comparison website on her kitchen table has sold her shares in the company for $88 million.
Hayley Parsons, 41, who founded GoCompare eight years ago, began her insurance career making tea and doing basic admin for a small insurance firm in Cwmbran, South Wales after leaving school with six GCSEs.
In her late 20s she moved to Cardiff-based Admiral insurance where she worked in sales, and later helped launch the first UK motor insurance comparison site, Confused.com – the first car insurance comparison site in the UK, reports the Daily Mail.
But after 14 years, Parsons, whose motto is ‘well-behaved women seldom make history’, quit the firm and set up a rival site, a move she admits was ‘scary’.
At the beginning the small team of two staff built their own desks from Ikea, but in just eight years the company had grown to employ 200 people and was recently valued at being worth nearly $400 million.
GoCompare functions by listing insurance by the level of cover provided, rather than by the cheapest price.
The site was invited to join the British Brokers Association (BIBA) in 2008 and is so popular it now provides a quote every second.
Car insurance firm esure has owned half of GoCompare since 2010 and now owns the rest of the business in a $190 million deal, including Parsons’ 23%.
She sold it on condition that the firm – which she refers to as ‘her baby’ – would remain headquartered in South Wales.
She said: “I am very proud that a company I started at my kitchen table eight years ago has achieved so much in such a short period of time.
“Today, we are a leading price comparison business in the UK and this is credit to all the wonderful, hard-working people we have in Newport.”