US insurance firm EverQuote to recruit 70 for new software centre

EverQuote founder Tomas Revesz (left) with his long-time business collaborator Seth Birnbaum (centre), who sadly passed away on November 28. Also pictured is chairman and fellow co-founder David Blundin.
Ryan McAleer

A US insurance company said the Covid-19 pandemic proved the decisive factor in setting up a 70-strong software centre in the north.

Massachusetts-based EverQuote Inc, which operates an online insurance marketplace primarily for the American market, has already recruited 12 people for the new operation.

It plans to build the software development team up to 70 people over the next two years.

The Nasdaq listed company, which went public in mid-2018, currently employs a total of 425 people.

Invest NI has offered the firm £420,000 for the move. It says the 70 jobs will eventually deliver £3.7 million in wages, with salaries averaging at just over £50,000.

Co-founder Tomas Revesz began looking at Northern Ireland after a number of his senior leadership team reported their positive experiences.

“Ultimately that led us to visit a little over a year ago and start to learn more about what it would mean to set up a team and a shop,” he said.

“Covid ultimately pushed our company over the line to becoming truly a distributed global enterprise.”

The announcement comes just weeks after EverQuote’s co-founder and chief executive Seth Birnhaum unexpectedly passed away on November 28 at the age of 47.

Tomas Revesz met Mr Birnham as students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), sparking a long-term business collaboration.

“EverQuote was our third start-up business together. We’ve been building businesses from right out of school going on 25 years,” he said.

Initially set up in 2011 as an online marketplace for car insurance, EverQuote has branched into home, health, life and small commercial insurance.

“We started the business because we saw an opportunity to connect with the growing population of online consumers, who were clearly looking to find this kind of product in an online context, with a market and an industry that’s predominantly, and still very much today, largely spending its distribution dollars offline.

“So there was an opportunity for us to really build out the first and today one of the largest bridges to help the industry bring its products into a digital context.”

Although the concept of expanding into Northern Ireland pre-dates the pandemic, Mr Revesz said the changes required in the Covid-era, resulted in EverQuote committing to a distributed business model.

“We’re very good now at managing an on-boarding talent anywhere in the world."

He said the new Northern Irish operation will focus on technology, will roles in software development, product management and IT.

But Mr Revesz added: "Ultimately, our appetites don’t have a particular constraint. I think we will look to take advantage of any opportunity to add strength to our team over time.

“Analytics and data science are probably the next areas of interest for us.”

While he said Covid had opened up a world of talent, he said EverQuote want to create a ‘critical mass’ of staff in Northern Ireland, ideally based in a new office once restrictions permit.

Welcoming the announcement, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “It was our skilled workforce that initially attracted EverQuote to Northern Ireland, and the adaptability of our people that convinced them this was the right location for the new development centre.”

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