Michael Doerr sits waiting for his plane at Richmond International Airport to take him to Las Vegas for a "three-day meeting of computer insurance nerds," he says.
Doerr works for MagicQuote, a Richmond-born startup that lets users compare car insurance rates in a couple of minutes. It is just the kind of new business that the city badly wants to see developed.
Launched in March, MagicQuote is available in 50 states. It was founded by local business innovator, Jon Ansell, former chief executive for well-known Allianz Global Assistance, which insures travel.
In the United Kingdom, Doerr says about 70 percent of insurance buying is done online. In the U.S., a large portion of consumers do buy online- but they don't use an online comparison service, they go direct to the company they want to buy from.
Politics, not business, brought Doerr to Richmond from his home in the Chicago suburbs. After college in Ohio, he worked for an Illinois congressman. That led him to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe who brought Doerr in to work on organizing and fundraising. He also got to know Levar Stoney, the city's young Democratic mayor, and helped him on his campaign.
Along the way he fell in love with Richmond. His wife, Liz Doerr, is on the School Board. He is on the board of Friends of the James River and is busy learning how to take advantage of the river and its rapids.
They have a 1-year-old son, whom he loves to hang out with when he has time off.
"We go to the Westwood Pharmacy and get eggs Benedict," he says.Back to the Top 40 Under 40