Beyond the Proof Of Concept event in Zurich with an Insurtech focus


Yesterday I attended, as a panelist, a great event in Zurich created by John Hucker of Swiss Fintech entitled Beyond the Proof Of Concept.

You can easily spot John at an event. “Big John” is hard to miss (yes he is tall). He is also one of the worlds great networkers and connectors. His MeetUps, in the nascent days of Fintech in Switzerland, were where a community was built.

Yesterday’s event, entitled Going beyond the Proof of Concept (POC) was like those early MeetUps, except with good food – the market has matured a lot in the last few years. Eschewing set piece talks (which are easy to find on YouTube without venturing outside), a Hucker event has great mix of moderated and free form conversation that lead to real connections and insight.

This is the format that encourages real learning. Oliver Werneyer (ImBurse) expressed it well when asked his opinion of the value  of Incubators and Accelerators. He focussed on the learning of being among smart people in your market who challenge your thinking. In other words, Incubators and Accelerators facilitate learning. As Daily Fintech is all about facilitating learning this resonated.

John had thoughtfully assembled a great panel for the subject:

Barbara Wagner (Zurich Insurance) represented the enterprise customer view on the Proof of Concept.

I focussed on the vendor/startup point of view.

Oliver, who worked in a big incumbent (SwissRe ) before creating ImBurse has sat on both sides of the table.

What came across strongly was the win/win alignment of interest between the vendor/startup and the enterprise customer if a POC is done well. Specific issues addressed included: 

  • The difference between MVP and POC.
  • When to use a POC as seen by both  vendor/startup and the enterprise customer. The short answer is as a tool to drive win/win alignment.
  • How hard it is for an early stage startup to gain traction in an enterprise customer and the huge scale requirements of an enterprise customer.
  • Timescale for a POC. What came across was how enterprises are stating to think more like startups, with milestone based financing and quick wins.
  • How to design a POC for win/win. The short answer is to understand that a POC is not  the end game, it is simply a tool to get to a scalable project that moves the needle for a major enterprise (which is a big win for the vendor/startup).
  • The increasing trend towards revenue sharing to ensure better win/win alignment. From a vendor/startup POV, this looks like a B2B2C strategy.

Given the background of Oliver Werneyer and Barbara Wagner, the examples tended to come from Insurance, although the issues are relevant to all enterprise projects. 

For our insurance/insurtech work, please see posts each Thursday by Stephen Goldstein. Stephen is based in Los Angeles and has worked in Asia and has worked on both sides of the table (vendor/startup and enterprise customer) and works as an advisor to the industry.

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Bernard Lunn is a Fintech deal-maker, author, adviser and thought-leader. 

You can reach out directly to discuss our advisory services by sending an email to julia at dailyfintech dot com

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