Business Interviews

Q&A: Freddy Macnamara, Cuvva

By | Published on Friday 20 May 2016


A new app offering car insurance by the hour, Cuvva, has launched at The Great Escape, with a view to helping festival goers to travel using friends’ cars which may otherwise being going unused.

The app was launched by avid festival fan Freddy Macnamara, who found it difficult to get around the country from rural Scotland, where he was living.

CMU’s Andy Malt spoke to Macnamara to find out more.

AM: What prompted you to set up Cuvva?
FM: Growing up in rural Scotland meant getting around was always difficult for me. There were very few buses available, but at the same time, there would be friends’ cars about that I couldn’t drive – existing temporary car insurance took the best part of an hour’s call to set up, and was too expensive.

Setting up Cuvva was really just solving my own problem. I wanted to be able to drive other people’s cars with minimum hassle whilst knowing that I was fully insured.

With Cuvva we have made it possible to book car insurance in a matter of clicks, or seconds – sign up, enter your license details and take a photo of the car, and you are ready to book hourly, on demand car insurance by the hour. Typically from as little as £7.

We’re taking the principles of Uber, but for car insurance.

AM: What were the main challenges in getting it to market?
FM: It took over a year of conversations with insurance companies and getting rejected over ten times before we found an insurance company that would provide a policy for us.

The insurance industry has barely changed since 1897 when the first car insurance policy was taken out, and is very resistant to change. There are a lot of vested interests to protect, and there is a bit of suspicion shown towards new entrants.

Creating an app with a great user experience has required a huge amount of effort from our team, we’ve worked hard constantly listening to our users and their ideas and adding in new features based on their requests.

AM: Why have you chosen to focus on travel to festivals at launch?
FM: I’m an avid festival-goer myself and know how difficult it can be for people to get there when they don’t have their own car.

Hiring a rental car, or a car from a car club normally works out too expensive, but if you can borrow a car from a mate, even if you give them some money, and pay an additional £20-40 for the return insurance, it generally works out pretty reasonably.

Also, we’re aware that if you are tired at the end of the festival, it’s often nice to have someone to share the driving with. With Cuvva, with a few clicks you can have a friend helping with driving and covered under fully comp insurance.

AM: How does the cost of Cuvva compare to hiring a car to get to and from a festival?
FM: Based on our research, people will typically spend somewhere around £150-200 renting cars to go to festivals. With Cuvva, you are looking at spending somewhere between £20 and £40 for the insurance, even if you’d like to make a generous contribution to your mate for borrowing the car, that’s a pretty big saving.

AM: What other key situations do you see Cuvva being used for?
FM: At the moment, we are speaking to independent car dealerships. We’ve realised that a lot of them don’t offer drive home insurance, and car sales tends to be slowed down whilst the customer is sorting out car insurance.

We have a few quite exciting products in the pipeline – we’ll be organising a feature called the ‘social garage’ so that you can see which of your Facebook friends have cars available for you to borrow.

As well as that, we will be shortly announcing a flexible insurance for your own car, but that’s pretty much all that I can say on that matter for the moment!

Find out more about Cuvva here.