12 CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 9 2020 CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 9 2020 13 , Silver Lining A company which provides insurance to ‘Generation Rent’ and Millennials has gained a further £1.6m of investment in its second major funding round of the year. Urban Jungle, founded by Jimmy Williams and Greg Smyth in 2016, has raised a further £1.6m from new and existing investors following a period of rapid growth and industry recognition. The company raised £2.5m in March 2020 as lockdown measures were coming in. In spite of the pandemic, the 23-person strong business was able to embrace flexible working and continue to grow its customer base. “We wanted to raise more in the spring but, with lockdown restrictions pending, we had to close the round early. However, since then, the business has performed incredibly well and we are seeing opportunities for new products and new markets,” says CEO Jimmy Williams. The company’s plans for growth are being backed by experienced entrepreneurs and investors, including former Prudential CEO Rob Devey, Octopus Group CEO Simon Rogerson and Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. Devey joined the company’s board as a non- executive director in December. The latest funding round brings the total raised to £7.8m and comes following a period of growth for the tech start-up, which now has over 25,000 customers and 23 staff, and is growing at over 20% per month. Urban Jungle raises an ‘extra £1.6million’ to expand into newmarkets. The disruptive insurer has gained further backing fromventure capital and high profile private investors, bringing the total raised in 2020 to £4.1m. Alex Gelbcke To Step In As The New CEO Of Fource Alex will take over daily management of the Fource companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, which are known in the market as Fource, IPAR, CarSys, VanEsch, VHIP, LKQ Belgium, and VHIP France respectively. Alex will report to LKQ Europe’s CEO, Arnd Franz, and will become a member of the European Executive Team. More than 25 years of experience Alex has acquired over 25 years of management, marketing, sales, and operational experience in various cultural environments within well-established companies, including: Total, BIA, BIHR, 1Parts, and Tenneco. “I am convinced that Alex Gelbcke’s unique combination of industry experience and interpersonal skills will enable him to lead the Benelux and French teams to the next level,” said Sinon Galvin, current CEO of Fource. “He is an ideal successor and a great choice to continue the market evolution that began with my visionary predecessor, Adriaan Roggeveen.” “Sinon experienced a successful and eventful period at Fource, where he has been at the helm since 2014,” explained Arnd Franz, CEO of LKQ Europe. “This period was dominated by many acquisitions both in the Netherlands and Belgium, strong organic growth in France, and saw the subsequent transition The management teamof LKQ Europe and Fource welcomes Alex Gelbcke, a well-known and highly respected automotive industry veteran. There will be a transition period until the end of 2020, at which time Alex will take over the position of CEO from current CEO, Sinon Galvin. “2020 has been a really tough year for everyone, but we’re lucky that people always need insurance, especially when times are tough, and even more customers are looking for a value focused provider like us,” notes Williams. “Lockdown changed the insurance market in many ways. For us, there are more people working from home and investing in expensive laptops which they want to cover. There’s also been a big rise in bike ownership and these are treasured items that people want to protect. “We’ll be hiring more people in the coming months, investing heavily in marketing and giving the traditional market some serious competition. The insurance sector has been calling for a newcomer to disrupt it for some time and we’re doing just that.” Williams gained the idea for his business after struggling to gain insurance himself while living with friends in London. He spotted a gap in the market where traditional insurers were failing to offer products and services to those in shared accommodation or renting. In 2016, Williams joined forces with former Google and Facebook engineer Greg Smyth, who he met while studying at Cambridge University. Together, they created a tech- powered insurance business, or ‘insurtech’, which offers flexible contents insurance for as little as £5 per month. Their business cuts overheads by operating completely online and uses artificial intelligence to reduce risk and screen out fraud. “It’s a new world we are operating in and we believe we’ve got the tools, the skills and, crucially, the right attitude, to succeed,” adds Williams. from operations that were stand- alone to one that is functional and harmonized. It is now up to Alex to support the European integration program of 1 LKQ Europe, strengthen Fource’s leading market position in the region, and to create the best customer experience possible. Also, he will be responsible for completing the integration of our business in Belgium to serve both workshops and resellers, as well as facilitating growth in France.” “I am extremely excited to join the LKQ Europe and Fource team which has consistently exhibited a clear vision and fantastic drive to the industry,” highlighted Gelbcke. “Being part of LKQ Europe and Fource is a dream for anyone who is passionate, like me, about the Independent Aftermarket and wants to see it develop through excellence and innovation.” An important region Although the Fource region is relatively small compared to other regions within LKQ Europe’s scope, such as Germany and Central and Eastern Europe, it is an important one for the company. “The team at Fource has a lot of knowledge in the field of digitization and logistics,” continued Franz. “Here, we are investing in a new central distribution center that will expand our logistics position in the market, both in the Netherlands and in Europe.” Alex Gelbcke will have time to familiarize himself with Fource and LKQ Europe, working closely with Sinon Galvin until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition. After six years, Sinon and his wife, Carolyn, have decided the time was right to return to the USA to be closer to their three children. We wish them nothing but success in the next phase of their LKQ journey.