Inc. has an item of 26-year-old Temple grad Adam Lyons, who convinced Dallas Mavs owner, tech investor, and ugly jersey-wearer Mark Cuban to invest $3 million with his start-up, The Zebra.
The Zebra is a like Kayak for auto insurance, comparing rates from hundreds of carriers across the country. Lyons (and yes, he does get a lot of jokes about lions and zebras) first conceived of the idea while working in the insurance industry in London, where the vast majority of auto insurance is bought through comparison engines.
“I didn’t understand why that didn’t exist here in the U.S.,” he remembers thinking.
He soon discovered why. Auto insurance, it turns out, is regulated state to state, so a comparison engine would have to take into account each state's regulations. And unlike the airline industry, which has aggregate databases of prices from which sites like Kayak can gather their data, there's no such thing for the auto insurance industry.
So, at at Pittsburgh-based accelerator, he created one. Read more at Inc. to figure out how to convince Mark Cuban (a Pittsburgh kid, by the way) to triple your seed money in one fell swoop. Hint: Bold emails.