Sonny Patel is the founder and CEO of Insurmi, an online life insurance marketplace that improves the life insurance purchasing experience. Insurmi allows shoppers to easily calculate how much life insurance coverage they need, compare top policies, and instantly apply for coverage.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
My very first entrepreneurial venture was rather unique. I started my own award booking service for frequent flyers that were looking to use air miles for flights, since redeeming miles can be a confusing process for many people. I would get people from all over the world sending me their dream vacations, and it was my job to find flights they could redeem with their miles. Over the course of couple years, I ended up redeeming over 10 million miles on behalf of frequent flyers all over the world!
How did you come up with the idea for Insurmi?
I served as a sales director at a life insurance agency in Tempe about two and a half years ago, and throughout my tenure, I realized the way life insurance was sold to people was downright confusing, outdated, and rather boring. I asked myself, “Why does buying life insurance have to be such a frustrating experience for our clients?” Knowing there should be a better way, I took a leap of faith and set out to build a better solution for consumers everywhere. A solution that gave people the power to purchase life insurance coverage in a more straightforward way, all while making them feel good about it!
What was the biggest challenge in executing this idea?
One of the challenges I had initially with this idea was pitching it to potential VC’s. A good number of them would say life insurance was sold, not bought, and immediately discredit the idea. With the amount of traction we’re getting since we launched a month ago, I have to say they were wrong.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
It allows me to constantly be creative and imaginative! I’m always thinking about what’s next, what can we do better, and dream about the possibilities. It’s almost like building a machine, or putting together a piece of artwork, that you can (hopefully) be proud of at the end of the day.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial knack. It started when I was about 6 years old, selling lemons that were grown on a tree in my backyard to people walking the streets outside our home. As I grew up, I continued to try a plethora of things that I believe over time solidified my passion for entrepreneurship and brought me to where I am today.
I also have to give some serious credit to the amazing professors at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business, who played a significant role in crafting my entrepreneurial skills while I was getting my degree in business entrepreneurship!
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I’ve lived in Arizona for four years now, and I’m proud to call it home. Before moving here, I lived in Zambia, Missouri, and southern California. You could say I’ve been all over!
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
There’s so much to do! From the range of outdoor activities to the buzzing nightlife, Arizona never ceases to excite.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I would have to say the scorpions. It’s rather unsettling knowing that one could be hiding in a place you don’t want them in, like your shoes.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
We still have a massive homeless population, especially in our inner city, which needs to be helped and cared for more.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
Butterfields in Scottsdale.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
I have many, but I would have to say Hopdoddy Burger Bar! Their burgers are always cooked to perfection, and their milkshakes are to die for.
Image by Nation’s Restaurant News.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
Roka-Akor in Scottsdale.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city, aside from your office?
Sip Coffee & Beer House in Old Town Scottsdale.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
Culinary Dropout in Old Town Scottsdale.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
Seeing a bright pink sunset over the city the first day we moved here!
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
A common misconception is that people think it’s always hot. And for about four months out of the year, that’s true. But during the other 8 months, the weather is very pleasant. In fact, “snowbirds” come to Arizona during the winter months just to enjoy the cool weather!
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Explore, explore, explore. You’ll be surprised how much Arizona has to offer, from outdoor activities to nightlife!