Like many startups, VouchedFor struggled initially. “The first 21 months, before we raised investment, were pretty tough,” remembered Price. “The hardest thing about creating a startup is that in the early stages you are aware that you are developing something unique and innovative, but also realising that every failed entrepreneur had believed the same at some point.”
There are good networks for accessing the London angel investor and Venture Capital community, Price has found. “If you can make one or two good contacts, it can spiral from there. Then, everyone has their own style,” he said.
“Mine was about persistence, commitment and delivery. I spent 21 months meeting potential investors, explaining what I was going to do, doing it and then going back to them. It can take four to five cycles like that to win an investor’s trust.”
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The site’s first big step forward came when Price and his team identified how to verify customer reviews in a robust and scalable way. He pointed to the controversy around some consumer client reviews websites that have been criticised for publishing fake reviews – something that has more serious implications when consumers are looking for reliable financial and legal advice.
“Originally, we said that a customer could only review a professional if they found them through VouchedFor directly,” he explained. “However, this created an issue since it meant that we were ignoring the views of the 10m people who were already using professionals. So we found a way of being able to take these reviews in both large volume and with tight verification processes.”
Price believed that faced with the complications involved in finding expert advice, too often these days people leave planning their futures until the last minute – something that is not only costly but can also be also extremely stressful.
“We want people to view VouchedFor as the number one destination in which to seek financial and legal advice, whilst also creating a trusted community in which consumers can share their experience,” he said. “We hope to bring a new sense of transparency to the financial and legal industry and enable consumers to receive the best possible advice at life’s biggest moments.”
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