My Week: John Evans of Incahoot

The CEO of collective buying site Incahoot on getting inspiration from the Norwegians, being based in Pewsey and making time for sport on the weekends.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
We launched Incahoot, a membership-based site offering customers exclusive deals on every day essentials, such as utilities and insurance, just over a month ago but it’s been two long years of planning. A business such as this relies on lots of customers; and you only get lots of customers by having lots of good deals on offer. At the moment I’m concentrating on finding more suppliers and looking into launching a new range of insurance products; I’m currently knee-deep wading through insurance companies and negotiating deals.

The site’s free to use for members and we make our money from taking commission every time we make a sale from one of our suppliers. We based the business model on a Norwegian company that had a successful run of 10 years just after the dot com boom kicked off. The Norwegian owner is now a shareholder in Incahoot and he’s given us a lot of help in dealing with the suppliers.  

My background is in marketing at large utility companies, and my co-founder Roy Ellingsen is more skilled at the techie stuff - managing the software and things like that. It works quite nicely as we both bring different skills to the business. He focuses on making the website accessible and easy to use for customers; I focus on finding suppliers and making use of the contacts I’ve picked up over the years. We’ve signed up some big names so far.  Mobile phone company Three, broadband provider Plusnet and energy firm First Utility are all on-board, and customers who sign up to the site can get discounts on their services.  

I still get to use my experience in previous roles, as a large majority of my week I spend looking at our marketing activity and working with our marketing manager on the kinds of PR we should be doing. Also, a large part of my job is to talk to potential investors. We need capital to grow, so I’m regularly in dialogue with either current or potential shareholders.

The office is based three miles from home in Pewsey, not far from Marlborough in Wiltshire.  I don’t think it’s a disadvantage not being based in London – it’s only an hour to Paddington on the train. I spend some days working in the Big Smoke, but it’s always nice to come back home to the countryside. I tend to work long hours though – a typical day for me is at least 12 hours long, from about 8am to 8pm.  

I like to keep my weekends reserved for family time. My son, who’s 11, and I are season ticket holders at Reading football club. When we’re not watching a game I can usually be found watching my son play or coaching rugby on a Sunday morning.  Weekends are usually very sporty. You won’t find me playing, though – those days are long gone. I think it would cripple me now.  

- John Evans is CEO and co-founder of Incahoot, a website which uses membership numbers to get deals on essential items such as gas, phones and broadband.

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