“I’ve always worked in dusty, old, unsexy industries,” says 35-year-old entrepreneur Omri Stern, who dreamed about starting his own company in a more exciting field.
So what’s he doing in insurance, one of the least sexy fields imaginable?
It turned out that when he needed business insurance, Stern tried unsuccessfully to buy a policy on five different websites from 10 different brokers. If consumers could quickly and easily buy car or life insurance online, Stern asked himself, why couldn’t small businesses take advantage of the same technology?
This realization led Stern and partner Michael Rudman to found Jones, an app that offers pay-as-you-go liability insurance to independent contractors. It currently focuses on construction and real estate companies, but will be moving into related industries in the future.
Jones has been flying under the radar so far, getting a few brief mentions in the business media. But investors have taken notice, giving the company a hefty amount of early stage funding.
Where they’re based: Stern and two other staffers operate out of WeWork Soho West, while the other seven employees work in Tel Aviv. That’s where Stern is from and where the company’s research and development house is located.
Their inspiration: Stern got a broker’s license just to understand the ins and outs of the overly complicated system. “When you’re actually faced with needing insurance, it’s really expensive,” says Stern. “It takes weeks, and your client wants it by tomorrow.”
Their early investors: Jones has already raised $2.8 million in funding. Their investors include JLL, the second-largest commercial real estate brokerage firm in the world.
What makes them different from other companies: Because insurance is so expensive, it doesn’t make sense for most contractors to buy insurance for an entire year if they only need it part of the time. But Stern says Jones can save them a significant amount of money by turning on their insurance when a project starts and off when it’s over.
Photos by Frank Mullaney