Nigel Lombard is the CEO and founder of Peppercorn AI, an insurtech startup that uses conversational artificial intelligence to guide customers through the purchase process.
Cardiff, Wales-based Peppercorn AI has created a platform for customers to select and buy motor insurance by interacting with a chatbot that uses natural language processing to answer customer queries.
Lombard founded Peppercorn in 2020 and it has gone on to secure £1.8m in seed funding. He previously founded two other insurtech companies: Hedgehog and Drivology.
In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Lombard reveals a common mistake founders make, why you should avoid motivating your team too much, and why generative AI “won’t live up to everyone’s expectations”.
1. Which company’s growth story are you most impressed with?
Nigel Lombard: Apple, Amazon and Uber stand out to me for the same reason. All three have successfully delivered category-redefining customer experiences.
2. What’s a common mistake that you see founders make?
NL: I’d say not identifying missteps and risks quickly enough and waiting before acting on them. Through the years, I’ve learnt that things don’t get better unless you tackle them quickly and decisively.
3. How do you motivate your team?
NL: Avoid the need to motivate your team too much! If you have a great team of individuals with the right level of experience, expertise and aligned values, all it takes is a common goal, genuine empowerment and accountability in a blame-free environment.
4. What’s a fact about yourself that people might find surprising?
NL: Most people think I’m organised. However, I’m naturally very disorganised. It’s something I’m aware of and consciously address in the work environment.
5. Which hyped-up technology do you think is doomed to fail?
NL: The hype around generative AI is intense and there’s been a very high bar set. I wouldn’t say it’s doomed to fail, but more so that it won’t live up to everyone’s expectations and will find a natural level of success.
For example, it won’t think on our behalves but it can take some of the drudgeries out of many aspects of life!
Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative tech startups, scaleups and unicorns – is published every Friday.