Interview With Greg Rozdeba
Describe your product or service:
“Dundas Life is a digital insurance brokerage. We’ve developed a hybrid distribution model combining direct-to-consumer with tech-enabled sales.
Our customers are underinsured individuals whose needs insurance brokers and banks have failed to address.
Dundas Life’s insurance platform allows our clients to shop for life insurance and related products (health insurance, disability insurance, critical illness) digitally from the comforts of their homes.
Using our online calculator, we allow customers to compare life insurance quotes from top carriers with full pricing transparency. They can select and apply for a policy online or choose to engage with a licensed advisor for more personalized support.
Our end-to-end digital process supported by a qualified advisor has made buying life insurance easier than ever.”
Describe your company values and mission:
To make life insurance a reality for more Canadians by providing the most accessible information, expertise, and personalized service available anywhere.
Make service personal: we view clients as individuals and focus on their specific needs.
Empower the consumer: we're transparent with our clients, providing the education they need to better understand what they're buying and to make the right decisions.
Embrace Technology: technology helps us move our industry forward by enabling us to connect with a varied and growing audience.
Make Insurance Accessible: we aim to help all Canadians by making the process of getting insurance easier and online.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Gregory Rozdeba is co-founder and president of Dundas Life, a digital insurance brokerage that uses technology to make life insurance simple, accessible, and personalized for Canadians. He previously served as Director of Sales at a fintech firm where he took the company from no product to raising over $7 million in funding and building out their sales efforts. In his spare time, he enjoys riding a bicycle [and] reading fiction — he has recently begun reading ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ by Edward Gibbon.
Martin Ochwat is a successful ecommerce founder. Having started his career at Meta, Martin bootstrapped a seven-figure business and oversaw a $100 million digital advertising budget in the gaming industry. As a passionate early adopter of the digital advertising business, he holds two patents in the space. An avid downhill biker, Martin has spent years living abroad and enjoys craft breweries.
Steven Sinclair is an insurance industry veteran. Having started his career at American Income Life, he grew his team to over 20 agents, where his former trainees can be seen in prominent positions in the life industry all over Canada. After American Income Life, Steven coached over 350 life insurance advisors in sales excellence, operations management, and regulatory oversight of their businesses. In his spare time, Steven has a passion for the Korean language and loves going for long walks in major cities in North America.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“We began selling insurance before validating our concept. By funding our firm with hard-earned sales, we continued to focus on what mattered, the customer experience and activities that drove revenue. As a result, in his first year back in distribution, Steven Sinclair is one of Canada’s largest life insurance producers.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“‘Dundas’ is a street name in practically every major city in Canada. Because our founders all lived close to the Dundas neighborhood in Toronto, we felt it fitting to name our firm after our neighborhood street.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“We all had some sort of entrepreneurship background going into Dundas Life, but the pandemic really propelled us to start our own collective effort. Being locked up at home with nowhere to go proved perfect circumstances for digital business building.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Early days in a bootstrapped effort created very little room for error. In the life insurance industry, it could take weeks for revenue to hit from an application, so we had to be very careful with where funds were allocated and how growth was fueled. Cash really is king.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Our target market is the same as most brokerages — new parents, new homeowners, and business owners. Luckily, we didn’t need to recreate the wheel here.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Marketing is fueled by ads (online and offline) and partnerships.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Smiling and dialing for mortgage insurance brokers. Our CEO still gets on the phone with clients today. He says it keeps him sharp and lets him know what customers are thinking.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Revenue, lifetime value, and customer acquisition cost.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘Sell the Way You Buy’ by Dave Priemer for a book, ‘The James Altucher Show’ for a podcast.”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“The Disco Playlist on Spotify. Disco is back!”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“There are very few things a good Trello board can't do.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“When other people's lives depend on your payroll, that's real pressure. That's the biggest difference between running a firm and being a solopreneur or employee.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Play recreational soccer with friends, sit and read at a cafe on weekends, play video games with friends, cook something.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Turn everything off except for what needs to get done.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“A lot can be accomplished with a tight process within a tight schedule.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“I worked as a server at Tim Hortons. In that job, you deal from every walk of life whether it was coworkers or clients. The same is true in the insurance world.”
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