This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.
The future of cars is data, and Sheffield-based The Floow is well placed to be a key player in this new world. The company ranks number 32 in our Northern Tech 100 list of the fastest-growing tech businesses in the North of England.
Vehicle insurance premiums used to be based on informed guesses about how likely you were to be a safe driver. Now the industry is taking a more precise approach, and The Floow is leading the way.
If you’ve installed a data collection device in your car, or engaged with an app to lower your premiums over the past few years, there’s a strong possibility The Floow has something to do with the ‘scores’ you receive.
Smarter driving, smarter insurance
It’s all about better informed insurers and better informed, safer drivers. As well as sending information to your insurer about how you’re driving, the company offers advice that helps you make better choices in the future – economically, environmentally, and from a safety perspective.
The Floow works with major insurers around the world, including Direct Line Group and AIG. It also deals directly with car companies like Renault and Nissan.
Now the company is ready for major international expansion. A recent £13 million investment led by China’s Fosun will see the company double its headcount to support growth in the American and Chinese markets. But co-founder Sam Chapman is keen to stress that The Floow will stay firmly rooted in Sheffield.
Being based in Sheffield was no accident. The insurance industry is based in London, Singapore and New York, but serial entrepreneur Aldo Monteforte was convinced the South Yorkshire city was an ideal home. Cost of living, quality of life and a pipeline of local graduates with the right skills were strong deciding factors.
The choice of location has paid off. The Floow has no problem attracting staff to relocate from around the world. Sam Chapman says that one team member moved from working on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland because the problems that The Floow was solving were more interesting.
The Floow is transforming a staid market with a fresh approach, but autonomous driving presents the company with exciting new opportunities. Not only will the role of insurance change as we increasingly take our hands off the steering wheel, the amount of information available to insurers, car manufacturers and owners will increase dramatically.
Chapman says he’s exploring how technology like Lidar can help The Floow collect ever more useful data.
The future of how vehicles are kept safe on the road may come straight out of Sheffield.
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