Tech entrepreneur, Jessica Mendoza, says the skills learnt at a Virgin StartUp event have helped her to save people time and energy.
Jessica is the founder of Monadd – a new smart system that allows people to efficiently update their address with their service providers when they move home.
With the average Brit moving around four times in their life, and an increasing number of digital nomads working across the country, Monadd aims to save time by linking up with utility providers, subscription services and local authorities to do all the legwork - ultimately saving hours of correspondence and admin.
With a rounded background in coding, market research, data analysis and marketing, combined with her experiences of living in seven different cities throughout numerous countries, Jessica wanted to create something to help people.
“I’ve moved a lot since I was eight years old,” says Jessica. “I’ve lived in Venezuela, Scotland, the US, France and now I’m back in the UK. Changing address across numerous accounts and services when you move around is an incredibly cumbersome thing to do.
“I have to re-register to vote, I worry about incurring late payment fees, and I don’t want to leave a paper trail behind. In addition, privacy issues arise with regard to misdelivered personal mail.
“I started asking around to see if there was a solution already out there. It turns out there wasn’t. I didn’t think about it as a business, but lots of volunteers came forward from my networks to help me build it and things went from there. With my background in data, I started to connect the dots.”
Monadd launched in January 2020, with more than 500 users and over a hundred service providers, including 66 local authorities, 33 retailers, 16 energy and gas suppliers, and 14 water suppliers – with the list growing all the time.
But when looking to start and scale Monadd, Jessica took part in Virgin StartUp’s StepUp programme in 2019, which gives founders the skills they need to take their businesses to the next level.
Jessica said: “StepUp was good and interesting. Monadd was in a very early building phase back then, so when the branding exercise came around, I was simply saying it was about changing people’s addresses. But I quickly learnt that it was about saving people time and energy. That played a big part in how we talk about the business today.
“It also taught me a lot about negotiation. Right at the start, I was meeting with some big players and StepUp allowed me to talk about my business in a way that would allow me to gain what I needed without giving too much away. It’s all about control.
“I’ve had inspiration along the way, too. A couple of years ago, I was at a conference where I met the founder of Foursquare. I was always intrigued by checking in to places, so my conversation with him gave me a lot of inspiration for where I wanted to take Monadd.”
The coronavirus lockdown affected most sectors, not least the property market. With fewer people moving, fewer people were inevitably using Monadd’s services – until Jessica pivoted the business slightly.
“We definitely took a bit of a hit. We saw a decrease in users, and users are our main point of feedback to enable us to grow the product. But with people moving less, we wanted to see how we might be able to help. We have a connection to utility providers, and we saw how people were affected by Covid, so we created a simple tool to help people communicate with their providers to ask for payment relief.
“We’ve got some cool, quirky plans for the business. We care a lot about experiences, so there’s an opportunity to embed ourselves in local communities so people feel welcomed to their new area and are able to learn something about it. We’re not spending anything on marketing yet, but soon people will know we’re here.”
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