July 22, 2019

Why Super, a Fast-Growing California Startup, Chose to Base Their Tech and Product Team in Serbia

Super, a San Francisco technology company has a fast-growing office in Belgrade.

Super, a San Francisco technology company with a fast-growing office in Belgrade, raised $20 million Series B investment. The company’s main product is a modern alternative to the traditional home warranty insurance which protects the insured from home appliances and system breakdowns. The funds will be invested in product development and expanding into new markets throughout the U.S.

What is particularly interesting about Super is the way it came to Belgrade. Lazar Stojković, a serial entrepreneur and a mentor at 500 Startups, born in Belgrade, became the second member of the team in San Francisco in 2015.

What immediately attracted my attention with Super is it wasn’t yet another solution in search of a problem. Too many startups in San Francisco sell mere implementations of popular sexy buzzwords such as AI, ML, VR, AR, drones or crypto to the investors, without clearly defined problems they are solving.

On the other hand, ‘repair and maintenance of home appliances and systems’ is not a sexy buzzword, but it is a real problem giving a very real headache to millions of people in America who spend hundreds of billions every year on those. From the initial conversation with the founding team, it was clear to me that Super wanted to tackle this gigantic problem and play for the win.

Lazar Stojković

The initial idea for this product came from the founder and CEO Jorey Ramer, also a serial entrepreneur. After he sold JumpTap, his previous startup founded in Boston, for $225 million, Ramer moved to California and bought his first house.

As someone who had been renting apartments beforehand and was used to the maintenance and repair expenses being the responsibility of the landlord, he soon discovered that homeownership was a challenging experience full of hidden costs. His impression was that there were no serious attempts in the market to really solve that problem and that none of the existing solutions were aligned with financial interests of property owners. That’s how this startup came to be.

In four years since the founding, Super has, according to the claims from the company, grown up into the most technologically most advanced home warranty provider in the U.S. market, but its ambition and opportunity are much bigger. This startup is in the race to win a big share of total home appliance and system repair and maintenance market in a country of 200 million property owners – a pie estimated at $300 billion a year. CEO Jorey Ramer talks about future plans:

We grow very quickly. Over the past two years, we’ve grown at 500 %, which we plan to continue doing. Priority number one is supporting that growth through expanding the team, investing in technology and customer experience, greater efficiency and better economics. Better technology will lead to a better experience for both our users and our services, which will boost the growth from before the investment.

Jorey Ramer

Speaking of technology, CTO Ryan Donnelly explains how it came to be that almost entire development and product team is now based in Belgrade:

We didn’t know literally anything about Serbia, that is, we knew about the good reputation of Southeast European engineers. It all started with Lazar. He educated us about the talent quality in Belgrade and we hired our first designer through him. The core of the team was still in San Francisco at that point, but we soon hired yet another designer in Belgrade, then an engineer, after yet another engineer, than three more…

That’s how we arrived at the current number of over 20 members of the Serbian team which today encompasses various profiles: software engineers, visual designers, product designers, product managers, business analysts, data scientists, QA engineers, etc.

Ryan Donnelly

Aggressive growth remains in Super’s focus. The list of its investors to date testifies to the potential of this company: Munich RE (the biggest reinsurance firm in the world), Liberty Mutual (the third biggest insurance firm in America), Qatar Investment Authority (the state of Qatar’s investment fund), Aquiline Technology Growth (one of the leading insurtech investors), Moderne Ventures (a leading real estate investor), as well as top-tier Silicon Valley funds: Founder Collective, General Catalyst, Lux Capital, and 8VC.

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