My Startup: Raylo

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Telco challenger Raylo only launched in June, with the goal of making the phone-buying process both simpler and more affordable.

The startup believes that the current process of purchasing handsets is overcomplicated and unfair. If you want to go SIM-only, for example, the latest iPhone could set you back £1,000, but the only other options feature long repayment plans that lock customers into deals they didn't want.

Raylo makes this all easier - a five-minute sign-up process is all it takes, with the phone arriving fully insured. With the newest iPhone on its way in September, Raylo is currently filling up its waiting list for customers to be able to get their hands on it for less.

Founded: 2019

Founders: Karl Gilbert, Richard Fulton & Jinden Badesha


We spoke to Karl to get a sneak peek at Raylo.

Karl Gilbert, Raylo

Why did you start Raylo?

Smartphones have transformed our lives, but the way we get our mobiles is stuck in the past. 

First, there's no good way to pay monthly for the latest smartphones and stay SIM-only - either you have to stump up £1,000 or more up front, or, by buying through a network, you have to pay off the entire device cost only for it to sit and gather dust in a drawer when you upgrade. Secondly, the user experience of getting the latest phone is complex, paperwork-heavy and completely inconvenient for today’s consumer.

We founded Raylo to create an entirely new model of mobile phone ownership - one that offers customers a smarter, simpler and more cost-effective way to get the latest iPhone, SIM-free and fully insured.

My Co-founders and I come from a financial services background - we worked together at Funding Circle and saw first-hand how smart technology and a fresh perspective could disrupt tired industries for the better.

The telco industry is ripe for disruption - how we pay for our mobile phones is one of the biggest pain points for British consumers. It’s something we’d experienced ourselves, and now we’re offering an intuitive solution to tackle it.

Tell us more about the product.

Raylo is a subscription, so instead of owning the phone, you get a new one every 24 months and send the old one back to Raylo for recycling. 

With Raylo, you pay monthly for the latest iPhone from just £43.99 per month, and stay SIM-only. Full insurance is already included in the price, which is typically £14 extra if you buy through a network. Raylo’s insurance policy means you can claim on it if the phone is lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged. 

By using Raylo’s subscription model, customers can save up to £898 over 24 months.

Where’s the business at right now?

We have a fast-growing team based in London made up of engineers, data scientists and customer experience specialists, all of whom are passionate about our mission and vision. 

Earlier this year, we raised £1.6 million in seed funding, backed by Techstart Ventures, a seed stage-focused VC and a select group of angel investors including Samir Desai and James Meekings, the co-founders of Funding Circle. 

We’ve also recently launched our waiting list for customers who want early access to the latest iPhone come September.

What are your aims for the first year?

We’ve obviously set ourselves ambitious targets as we anticipate strong customer demand for the service ahead of the much-anticipated new iPhone launch. But really our main aim is to deliver an unrivaled customer experience and ensure consumers become aware of this new smart way to pay for your mobile while staying SIM-free.

What’s been the hardest thing about getting Raylo off the ground?

Preparing all parts of the business to be fully FCA authorised and compliant.

Why should more people be using Raylo?

People always overspend on their mobile phone contract - Raylo is putting an end to that by providing an alternative way to pay for your phone that means you’re always getting the best value.

Through Raylo’s smarter subscription model, customers can get the latest iPhone fully insured and SIM-free with a low-cost monthly payment, and shop around for the best data deal, rather than overpaying for data and airtime they don’t through traditional bundled deals. 

Raylo allows you to sign up and order online in minutes, with none of the cumbersome paperwork typically associated with buying a new phone. We offer one straightforward price for the two latest iPhones, and a quick and simple claims experience for any insurance claims made. 

People can contact our UK based customer support team via live chat, phone, or email, so there’s never any need to go into a store or wait ages on the line to get the support you need.

How much will it cost customers, and why is it worth the investment?

With Raylo, customers can get the new iPhone launching this September on a 24-month contract, SIM-free and insured from just £43.99 per month. Customers can sign up online in a few easy minutes and get access to the latest iPhone as soon as it launches.

At the end of the 24 month term the device is returned to Raylo and recycled. We seamlessly upgrade the customer to the latest model, ensuring they are always using the latest tech with a fresh, reliable, battery.