Startup Spotlight: ihavemoved.com

Home movers' lives could be made a bit easier by address-changing service
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

ihavemoved.com offers a service that promises to take some of the headache out of moving house: it informs your chosen service providers of the new address in just fifteen minutes -- and it's free! The registered companies -- such as utilities and banks -- then pay a small fee to ihavemoved for every address change that they receive.

ihavemoved has just received a cash injection of £2.5m from N.M Rothschild and Sons. They are also in talks with the government's IT advisors to develop a one-stop address change system, a project for which the Government has set aside £750,000.

techTrader spoke to Francesco Benincasa, director and co-founder of ihavemoved about the opportunity the Internet offers for its niche.

Could you describe your business and revenue model?

We facilitate address changes for home movers. This service is offered in three simple steps: firstly you identify the companies that you wish to contact, you then enter your old and new details, and finally send the information to the companies that you have chosen. This service is entirely free to the user.

Before setting up the company, I conducted research with companies such as British Gas, and discovered that it was costing companies a pound a minute to hire people at call centres. With a company as large as British Gas that has two and a half million customers, this can amount to a huge sum of money being "wasted". We charge companies a fraction of this saving.

We are also involved in cross-selling services. When you move house, you revisit all of your existing corporate relationships. We sell these relevant products such as home insurance, and we also recommend services in an area such as supermarkets. Two to three per cent of our revenue also comes from advertising on our site, which has actually taken off a lot better than was expected.

Where did the initial idea for ihavemoved.com come from?

Myself and David Anstee (co-founder of ihavemoved.com) were living together at the time. We were around the breakfast table looking at the mail around us that had come through our door but was for other people. We realised that there was no central service dealing with this problem, and saw it as a great niche market. We thought that we could set up a service where people could register their new address in fifteen minutes. We piloted the site, and it didn't take long to get the relevant companies on board.

Who is your target audience?

Our key audience is online movers, aged between 18-44 years old. Our research shows that 60 percent cent of those online are looking to move house.

You've just received a cash injection of £2.5m -- how do you plan to use this money?

Our advertising launch starts at the end of this week, which will appear on billboards, radio and in the national press. Our aim is to establish ourselves as the first mover. We also have a new product to market to our partners, as ihavemoved.com is a great service that they can offer to their customers on their own sites.

At the moment we are focused on establishing a brand name, under the slogan "say it once". This is a service that hasn't been facilitated by the Internet until now -- so we need to tell people that it now exists.

Can you describe the talks that you have been involved in with the government's IT advisors?

We have verbally committed to working with the government's central technology unit, and are currently in talks with TV Licensing and DVLA. Unfortunately it is the government's departments and their legacy system that are delaying a final decision from being made right now. At a council level, we are also dealing with Manchester and Newcastle county councils, who currently have huge audit trails where we can help them to make massive savings.

Startup Spotlight is a weekly feature on ZDNet UK News and ZDNet techTrader, featuring the bright sparks of the UK's high-tech startup industry. For more of the faces behind the news see the Startup Spotlight archive.

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