Will Kin be the Simple of Insurtech with a better UX to crack open the home insurance market?

innovative-datadriven-methods-to-improve-digital-user-experience-1-638

Kin recently raised a $4m Series A from top tier investors for a proven management team. The plan does not sound exciting.There is no conceptual breakthrough. Nor is there any deep, proprietary technology.  All they are doing is using better digital UX to reduce the time it takes to buy house insurance from hours to minutes.

Simple to say, but valuable if done well.

This is a bet on execution. In VC lingo, this is betting on the jockey not the horse.

One of these Insurance companies will buy them

Kin does not sound exciting…unless you are a shareholder of Kin. Reducing sign up time from hours to minutes is not conceptually exciting but if it reduces Customer Acquisition Cost and grows the top line, the acquirers will be forming a line outside their door.

Reducing sign up time is also relatively simple to do. Most of the data that Insurance companies ask us to enter could be found online. This is a 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration business where the devil/god is in the details. Reducing sign up time also  works because having spent a lot of time buying the house of our dreams we want to be done quickly with the boring but essential insurance task. Time matters.

Look at the following list of top 15 Home Insurance companies from A.M. Best:

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 15.15.12

Any one of these could be an acquirer.

The Simple BBVA story

Way back in the early days of Fintech, we had Simple. They did a $2.9m Series A in September 2010 and sold to BBVA for $117m in February 2014 – 3.5 years later. All they did was offer a better digital UX. Naysayers would ask “where is the moat/defensibility?” but the reality is incumbents are bad at digital innovation so they will pay to buy it if it is proven to acquire customers.

Given the accelerating pace of innovation, the Kin exit story will probably be written in less than 3.5 years from now.

Image Source.

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

Get fresh daily insights from an amazing team of Fintech thought leaders around the world. Ride the Fintech wave by reading us daily in your email.

The Jarvish smart helmet IOT Insurtech from Taiwan is another First the Rest then the West story

Jarvish

Jarvish is a Taiwanese company that is doing a lot more than making it easier to buy insurance. They are using hard technology innovation to reduce accidents and therefore reduce the cost of insurance, using smart helmets that can monitor your driving.

We are seeing the same thing in the West with sensors embedded into cars. Jarvish is doing this in the Rest of the World where a motorbike is the first automated transport that a family can afford. Rather than selling into a motorbike market in the West with tens of millions of hobby bikers (they also have a car but just love to bike for fun), Jarvish is selling to the hundreds of millions of bikers in the Rest who use motorbikes as their primary means of transport.

Rather than having to negotiate with car manufacturers, Jarvish simply make the helmet and sell it to consumers.

That is why Jarvish illustrates a megatrend we have been tracking for a while that we call “first the Rest then the West”.

In doing so they are solving a Catch 22 for motorbike insurance. If driving a motorbike is so dangerous then claims will be high so premiums will be high, so the poor people who rely on motorbikes as their primary means of transport cannot afford insurance.

First the Rest then the West

This is one of the big stories of our time. It is the end of what historians have called the Great Divergence, when the Western economies rose to dominance.

For most of the 20th century, technology was limited to the West. Countries in the Rest (formerly known as developing, then emerging, then rapid growth economies) were “tech deserts” until those economies started to open up (first China, then India, then Africa). Then technology adoption started to flow from the West to the Rest; the last decade has been a boom time for Western tech firms selling to the Rest.

Now the flow is reversing as technology adoption starts in the Rest and then goes to the West. For example, look at Xiaomi to see the future of mobile phones and Alibaba for the future of e-commerce or Paytm for the future of mobile wallets.

This megatrend is not limited to Fintech. Within Fintech, mobile payments and mobile e-commerce is the big disruption and that is happening first in the Rest and then will flow to the West.

Technology adoption starting in the Rest rather than the West is one of the big 21st century megatrends.

Note that I am referring to technology adoption. Where something is invented matters a lot less than where and how it is adopted, as Steve Jobs taught us after wandering around Xerox Parc and seeing the first graphical user interface and using that to create a PC with a much better UX. What really matter is innovative customers and customer innovation is driven by blue ocean markets with big unmet needs and lack of legacy technology constraining innovation.

If you need a smart helmet to keep your family safe, you have a big and so far unmet need. That is why we think Jarvish is a company to watch.

The Asia Inurtech story 

We have already tracked Insurtech innovation coming from India, Korea, Singapore, China. This is the first we have seen from Taiwan. Asia has all the ingredients to become the locus of Insurtech innovation:

  • Big blue ocean markets with lots of unmet needs
  • Lack of legacy technology constraining innovation
  • Hard core technology skills linked to manufacturing expertise (so they can build physical products and are not limited to digital innovation).

Technology innovation not just UX layer digital innovation

The idea of a smart helmet is not new, but like so many Taiwanese companies, Jarvish competes through technology innovation. This is not just another digital UX layer startup. Jarvish has invested years and lots of Ph.D level resources to create a smart helmet that does not require Bluetooth. Even more critical from a safety POV, the Jarvish helmet does not use lithium batteries (which can overheat and explode) and they use “military-grade ceramic anti-explosive batteries”. First do no harm – the helmet has to be safe.

The best way to think about the Jarvish smart helmet is like the black box system that crash investigators extract from commercial aircraft, except that this black box is tiny, cheap and cloud-connected.

Like Apple, this is innovation from technology to consumer marketing and Jarvish is not shy about making the comparison:

“Much like smart phones, at first they were only cool high-tech gadgets, but quickly became an essential part of everyone’s daily life. In the near future, smart safety helmets will definitely be as common as smart phones.”

Illustrating the “first the Rest then the West” megatrend,  the Jarvish roadmap includes products we can envisage also getting traction in the West:

“all types of smart headgear, with such applications such as smart helmets for skiing, diving, firefighting, cycling, drones, extreme sports, and entertainment. All of which will include smart functions and module designs, as well as all the incorporated software needed. We also provide a cloud platform, and international-level third-party value adding services to users.”

The Art of the Chef – combining ingredients

You don’t need to look too hard to see a revenue model. Jarvish sell helmets to consumers with their smart helmet technology embedded. This is simple but powerful.  It illustrates what I call the Art of the Chef business model in my book Mindshare to Marketshare. The chapter entitled Turn Secret Sauce Into Unfair Advantage describes how Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies grew to dominance by avoiding commoditization by combining commodity ingredients into a differentiated package. The book uses companies like Coca Cola selling sugared water at high prices or Gillette charging a premium for razor blades that cost very little to illustrate how to combine commodity ingredients into a product that is highly differentiated. The book then goes on to show how companies such as Apple and Visa used this in technology. Jarvish is on the same path.

I liken this art of combining to cooking. You have lots of components that go into a dish. You might even have a secret ingredient that defines it. Yet the whole is obviously more than the parts.

It gets more interesting when you move from FMCG to technology driven businesses:

”Consider the greatest entrepreneur the tech world has ever seen – Steve Jobs. 

Steve Jobs innovated by combining multiple commodity ingredients into a very tasty dish. He was a technology chef.

At one level he combined multiple commodity ingredients to create unique devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He combined lots of commodity components sourced from all over the world into a uniquely beautiful and useful product by adding a touch of design magic. However, if he had only created “insanely great devices”, Apple’s business would be more vulnerable to competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi. The reason that Apple is so valuable is that Steve Jobs combined great physical devices with digital services like iTunes and AppStore into a combination that still mints money long after he died. That is why Apple has massive amounts of Unfair Advantage (aka moat, aka competitive advantage). 

You  also see this art of combining in payment network such as Visa, Mastercard and Amex. Yes, these payment networks have software at the core. Yes, they own the hardware servers that the software runs on. Yet they don’t license that as a SAAS product to banks. They wrap it into other services to deliver transactions to consumers via Banks. That is how Visa, Mastercard and Amex turn their secret sauce into Unfair Advantage. 

What Coca Cola, Apple, Visa, Mastecard and Amex have in common is the art of the chef – to combine commodity ingredients into value.”

I see this same art of combining in Jarvish. At one level they combine their proprietary smart helmet technology with the commodity components and manufacturing process of making helmets to create their own differentiated helmet. They combine their own yeast with water, flour and salt to make bread. The next step, akin to Apple moving from iPods/iPhones devices to device hooked to iTunes is to create a digital product that reduces accidents and thus reduces insurance costs.

Image Source.

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

Get fresh daily insights from an amazing team of Fintech thought leaders around the world. Ride the Fintech wave by reading us daily in your email.

Aigang brings ICO gold rush to Insurtech with a plausible blockchain concept

disruption.jpg

Call it double disruption. Real time claim to cash using blockchain could disrupt Insurance. That is disruption number one. ICOs could replace large parts of the traditional innovation capital business – early stage VC and IPOs.  That is disruption number two.

That makes Aigang an interesting concept to study. The fact that it is only concept – not a product, let alone a profitable business – is part of the second disruption story.

Tigger is all excited about how all this innovation will create a better world. Eeyore says this will all end in tears. ICO speculators shovel in cash to make a quick buck while retweeting  Tigger. Eeyore sits on the sidelines waiting to be able to say “I told you so” and buy later for pennies on the dollar.

Who is right here?

To help initiate a conversation, this post looks at the:

  • Concept
  • Technology
  • Team
  • Jurisdiction
  • The deal for “investors”

The concept – real time claim to cash for small claims

Conceptually this makes sense. This post explains why claim to cash time is so critical and why blockchain based smart contracts is the enabler. The post was written in May 2016 and Aigang was formed in 2017 so they may have read it or simply tuned into the same innovation radio waves. This bit explains the basics:

“Auto Payout Based on a Trustless Smart Contract

This holds out a win/win promise. Customers know that payout is automatic and immediate (no more hassling for payout during the most stressful times when the bad event has actually happened). Insurance companies get two benefits:

Elimination of fraud. The Insurance company does not rely on the customer’s version of truth. There is independently verified data.

Elimination of claims processing cost. This is a consequence of elimination of fraud.

For this to work, it has to be binary simplicity. An algo has to make a yes/no decision instantly. Something with complexity (such as who is at fault in an accident or whether a medical procedure is covered) needs human intervention.

One example of where we see that binary result is flight insurance. The flight was either cancelled or it was not. Blockchain systems use external data sources (e.g via the Oraclize service ) to get this proof of what happened. A Proof Of Concept for this flight insurance use case was coded during a weekend at a hackathon using Ethereum – proving that technical risk is not the prime concern.

We expect to see lots of use cases where this binary rule applies where really low cost insurance can be offered (thanks to elimination of fraud and claims processing). This is classic disruption at the edge – where disruption usually gets traction. For example, there are lots of use cases within the sharing economy. These are on demand or just-in-time insurance use cases.”

Aigang is going after a sensible early market in the “really low cost insurance” segment – mobile phone batteries. It is small enough to enable real time settlement and” human real time” (less than a few seconds) changes user behaviour.

It looks like Aigang can get the battery data automatically from your mobile device. Yes this is also an IOT play. Eeyore was heard muttering about random buzzword generators – ICO, Blockchain, IOT, Insurtech, but Tigger responded by saying that the concept makes sense.

The investors will be P2P. The crowd will be the new Lloyds Names. Hmm, how does that fit with Solvency 2? Will the crowd take unlimited liability like Lloyds Names? This can only work outside the regulatory framework.

The technology

Ethereum – brilliant plaform, still with bleeding edge risk. As Aigang put it:

“Built on Ethereum testnet, the application is not fully functional yet, and there are chances that the users attempting to send funds from their Ethereum wallet could lose their funds.”

On the plus side, they do have a fairly active GitHub as per Token Market.

What is your risk appetite? This has technology risk at the platform level and at the application level. If you don’t really understand Ethereum or trust somebody who does, this is not for you.

The team

They look good on pixel. But they have not got a product in the market, so that is all one can say. One assumes they are all getting paid in equity and tokens. If the ICO succeeds they will become a real team.

They also offer “bounties” to contributors. No, I did not ask for or want a bounty for writing this post.  This is like 1999 when landlords would take equity for rent.

The jurisdiction

Singapore. One assumes Aigang will block IP addresses from America and make big bold signs saying “no Americans please” in order to stay out of SEC clutches.

This is far outside the regulated world. This is not a sandbox experiment. Aigang  plan to offer a product outside the regulated world. This post by a VC in 2014 explains why this strategy makes sense drawing on lessons from Skype.

The deal

This is not being revealed yet. In ye olde innovation capital game, a concept stage venture with  MVP still in development like Aigamg would raise $50k to $500k. $50k would be for a first time entrepreneur. $500k would a proven entrepreneur wired to top Angels and VCs. Two years later, 10%  of these would do a $5m Series A and a year later about 50% during loose money times would do a a $50m Series B. Aigang will probably raise $50m out of the gate.

Will it be a great deal for token  investors? I doubt it. Maybe for equity investors who have a lot of appetite for risk and if the price is right.

Will it change the world and unleash a new wave of Insurance claim to cash innovation using Blockchain? I think so.

Image source

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

Get fresh daily insights from an amazing team of Fintech thought leaders around the world. Ride the Fintech wave by reading us daily in your email.

将遵循众安啦即使得到岗位IPO轨迹借贷俱乐部?

zhong an

请指责谷歌的任何翻译错误(目标澳大利亚游泳感谢“时间是什么希望刚够优秀且免费的)。

在2014年12月,我们欢呼借贷俱乐部的IPO“的时候了Fintech景”。在今年二月份,我们描述了传言中安IPO为网景时刻InsurTech。

贷款俱乐部的轨迹,随着股市远低于其发行价,不为众安个好兆头。这是我们解决问题,投资者开始考虑在香港中安IPO。

我们先从我们所说的风力插槽分析。

风插座分析

从纽约的飞行时间,以伦敦为约7.5小时,约8.5小时与走另一条路。

一个小时的差别是由于顺风逆风和。无论你是在一架空客或波音差别不大。飞行员可以没有太大的差别。翻译成公司价值,市场重要的不是组织或团队管理多了不少。一个基本的水平essential-不要试图在一个小公寓飞行大西洋,不以未经训练的飞行员一年的手中留下的跨大西洋飞机。在危机中一个伟大的试点使其中的差别。无论其是白色万物平等的,真正重要的是顺风逆风和。

顺风的中安

这很容易。中国是一个巨大的蓝海市场。不断壮大的中产阶级正在购买保险首次。这是一个千载难逢的机会一劳永逸地抢任职不强。与之相比,美国或欧洲的Insurtech企业出售给消费者,本来就有很多从大,聪明的保险公司的保险。

中安:有一台好的和船员

您可以在数字顺风看到这一点。中安提供超过300种保险产品,并已超过5.35亿客户撰写了超过75600倍亿的政策。他们显然良好地执行。已经募集$900米有充分的理由相信他们会继续这样做。

可能的阻力

中国的经济正处于从制造业和出口过渡导致更广泛的多元化的经济体的消费和更高价值的服务驱动。公牛的情况是这就像一个世纪前押注美国。中国蕴藏着点到各种问题,如过度负债,不良贷款及以上建筑大兴土木。如果这是您的中国经济的看法,你会避免中安IPO。我低头牛市箱目的会有太大波动存在,也许沿着中国方式的1929年式的事件。没有人知道。如果谁认为他们知道可能有东西卖给你。

另一个问题,由成员F​​intech基因组大约由平安面临保险创新的困境提出,魁是忠的大股东的命令,可澳大利亚游泳可能是竞争对手的道路。作为@EricForgy所说的那样,从香港保险业的深入了解写着:

“一样有趣众安是,其实,我觉得平安是更有趣,更是容易,对世界其他地区产生更大的影响。我认为Lufax只是他们向外扩张的开端。中安本身正在想方设法赚取利润。如果你得分数字意味着许多小的政策(每客户)。他们正在尝试努力分支到保险更为有利可图的行业,目标,因为他们做,他们将开始争相与父母平安。我很感兴趣地看到,动态如何发挥出来。我觉得在技术方面平安胜众安是使用大量的平安公司的技术毫无疑问的。平安EST尝试尝试导出很多他们的AI技术的。“

数字埃里克·福尔热引用,以显示收入目标盈利下降较快增长。投资者可以采取两种不同的角度对这个:

或者:这显示了整个提议是有缺陷的。

或者:这是像亚马逊和机会一样大的保险市场在中国,它的国家进行投资的增长。

这是它会更加深入地了解金融股当中表现出来,我们不魁还没有。如果你具备任何见解,请分享“时间在此线程是Fintech基因组。

从中断的超音速飞机。

所有的事情等于正白,逆风和顺风推动价值。但是,一个新的超音速飞机将改变结果和新的平板可能需要不同类型的试点再培训或至少。超音速飞机将削减行车时间约NYLON 3小时。超音速飞机的保险相当于将使用blockchain(魁我们讨论了很多次,这里一个例子)几乎实时结算。

中安清楚地认识这一点,并在Blockchain进行投资。所以,我不希望被傻了眼中安blockchain。当这两个高科技和调节准备好了,我希望中安将准备。最关键的是,这两个技术和监管需要做好准备 – 就像用超音速飞机。这是一个领域,我相信,中安将得到它的权利,因为在中国连大公司和政府一起工作étroitement。

自上市以来贷款俱乐部轨迹

借贷俱乐部DID年IPO $ 15,飞涨近$ 20,然后坠毁于$ 3.51的历史低点(如果我很幸运后,发布该买)。现在大约是$ 5.20,我卖我的股票(贷款俱乐部是一个伟大的公司,目标估值现在比其他的机会较少引人注目的)。

我没有贷款克伦在IPO投资,因为我的水平基本夸我张贴在这里有保留。在$ 15,有没有错误的余地。在$ 3.51的价格隐含阙乐型号全死了,球队被无能,既不夸的是真实的。

许多股票从来不给你这个机会。你永远没有机会在低于IPO价格购买。认为Facebook和Salesforce的;价格下跌有点偶然,但时间不长。

图片来源。

伯纳德·伦恩是Fintech交易制造商,作家,投资者和思想领袖。

得到一个惊人的团队Fintech的每日新鲜见解认为世界各地的领导人。通过每天阅读我们的邮件乘势而起Fintech

注:谷歌翻译掏出链接,请访问英文版本对于那些。

Will Zhong An follow the same post IPO trajectory as Lending Club?

zhong an

In December 2014 we hailed the Lending Club IPO as “the netscape moment for Fintech”. In February of this year, we described the rumoured Zhong An IPO as the Netscape moment for InsurTech.

The Lending Club trajectory, with the stock well below their IPO price, does not augur well for Zhong An. That is the question we address as investors start to think about the Zhong An IPO in Hong Kong.

We start with what we call our Wind Socket Analysis.

Wind Socket Analysis

The flight time from New York to London is about 7.5 hours, vs about 8.5 hours going the other way.

The one hour difference is due to tailwinds and headwinds. Whether you are on an Airbus or Boeing makes little difference. The Pilot cannot make much difference. Translated into company value, the market matters a lot more than the organisation or the management team. A base level is essential- don’t try flying the Atlantic in a small plane and don’t leave a transatlantic plane in the hands of an untrained pilot. In a crisis a great Pilot makes the difference. However all things being equal, what matters are tailwinds and headwinds.

Tailwinds for Zhong An

This is simple. China is a massive blue ocean market. A growing middle class is buying Insurance for the first time. It is a once in a lifetime land grab opportunity and the incumbents are not strong. Compare that to US or European Insurtech ventures selling to consumers who already have a lot of insurance from big, smart insurance companies.

Zhong An has a good plane & crew

You can see this tailwind in the numbers. ZhongAn offers more than 300 insurance products and has written more than 7.56 billion policies for more than 535 million customers. They are clearly executing well. Having raised $900m there is every reason to believe they will continue to do so.

Possible Headwinds

The Chinese economy is in transition, from manufacturing and export led to a more broadly diversified economy driven by consumption and higher value services. The bull case is this is like betting on America a century ago. China bears point to all kinds of issues, such as excess debt, non-performing loans and massive construction over building. If this is your view of the China economy you will avoid the Zhong An IPO. I incline to the bull case but there will be much volatility and there maybe a 1929 type event along the way in China. Nobody knows. Anybody who says they know probably has something to sell you.

Another issue, raised by a Fintech Genome member is about innovators dilemma faced by Ping An insurance, which is a major shareholder of Zhong An but may also could be a competitor down the road. As @EricForgy put it, writing from Hong Kong with a deep knowledge of the insurance business:

“As interesting as Zhong An is, I actually think Ping An is more interesting and is likely to have an even bigger impact on the rest of the world. I think Lufax is just the beginning of their outward expansion. Zhong An itself is struggling to make profit. If you note the numbers imply many small policies (per customer). They are trying to branch into more profitable lines of insurance, but as they do, they will start competing with their parent Ping An. I’m interested to see how that dynamic plays out. I think Ping An wins in terms of technology and Zhong An is no doubt using a lot of Ping An’s technology. Ping An is also trying to export a lot of their AI tech.”

The numbers that Eric Forgy refers to show rapid growth in revenue but declining profitability. Investors can take two different points of view on this:

Either: this shows the whole proposition is flawed.

Or: this is like Amazon and in a market opportunity as big as Insurance in China, it pays to invest for growth.

Which it is will be revealed by a deeper dive into the financials, which we do not have yet. If you have any insights, please share them on this thread on Fintech Genome.

Disruption from a supersonic plane.

All things being equal, headwinds and tailwinds drive value. But a new supersonic plane will change the outcome and that new plane may need a different type of pilot or at least some retraining. A supersonic plane will cut the NYLON journey time to about 3 hours. The equivalent of a supersonic plane in Insurance will be almost real time settlement using blockchain (which we covered many times, one example here).

Zhong An clearly sees this and is investing in Blockchain. So I do not expect Zhong An to be blindsided by blockchain. When both tech and regulation is ready, I expect Zhong An will be ready. The key is that both tech and regulation need to be ready – just like with supersonic planes. This is one area where I would be confident that Zhong An will get it right, because in China big connected companies and government work closely together.

The Lending Club trajectory since IPO

Lending Club did an IPO at $15, rocketed up past $20 and then crashed to an all time low of $3.51 (where I was fortunate enough to buy after posting this). It is now around $5.20. I sold my shares (Lending Club is still a great company, but valuation now is less compelling than other opportunities).

I did not invest in Lending Clun at IPO, because I had reservations at a fundamental level which I posted here. At $15 there was no room for error. At $3.51, the price implied that the whole model was dead and the team was incompetent, neither of which was true.

Many stocks never give you this opportunity. You never get a chance to buy in below the IPO price. Think of Facebook and Salesforce; the price goes down a bit occasionally but not for long.

If you have any insights, please share them on this thread on Fintech Genome.

Image Source.

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

Get fresh daily insights from an amazing team of Fintech thought leaders around the world. Ride the Fintech wave by reading us daily in your email.

Midas Touch Interview with Sam Evans of Eos Venture Partners on the future of Insurtech

sam evans eos

Venture Capitalists make their living by getting the timing right on trends. Too early is not good. Too late is not good. Getting it right is hard. That is why the best make so much money. That is also why it is interesting to interview those with that Midas Touch.

There are generalist VC. There are Fintech specific VC. Even more specific is an Insurtech specific VC. We decided to interview somebody leading that market – Sam Evans of Eos Venture Partners.

The Bridge Funding model

Eos see themselves as a bridge between the Insurance incumbents (Insurance carriers, Reinsurance and Brokers) and the entrepreneurs. In VC terms, the LPs (Limited Partners) are Insurance companies. Those LPs expect financial returns for sure and Eos Venture Partners will get paid based on those returns. However the strategic returns are more important.

B2B2C and Level 3 Partnership Maturity

Sam talked about the problems of the B2C model for startups (high CAC and the needs for a big marketing budget) and the problems of the B2B model (long and uncertain sales cycles).

Sam did not call it B2B2C, but that is effectively what the alternative that is neither B2C or B2B is called. This is what we refer to as Level 3 in Partnership maturity in the mega trend we have been calling the “great Fintech convergence” (see this post from December 2015).

  • Level 1: Incomprehension. The other party just looks strange and it is hard to imagine a productive conversation. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Incumbents are older white men in suits and ties. Entrepreneurs are Millennials in casual clothes (skewing too male, but that is another story). Of course all stereotypes are wrong but they do impact how we see things.  Whether the incomprehension is based on fear or disdain, the reaction is the same – inertia. Incumbents seek to overcome the incomprehension problem by funding Accelerators and Hackathons. There is still a problem getting that understanding from the few people interacting with the startup ecosystem to the mainstream line of business managers – but it is a start.
  • Level 2: Funding. Banks take minority equity stakes in Fintech ventures through their Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) unit. This is the level that most relationships have reached. (Funding while still in Incomprehension mode is clearly dangerous).
  • Level 3: Strategic. This is where the relationship drives needle-moving revenues and profits for both parties. This may or may not include an equity relationship; the strategic relationship comes first.

Startups also go through three levels of understanding:

  • Level 1: Incomprehension. Incumbents are dinosaurs and our amazing UX will crush them (B2C). Or they are customers and as long as they pay top dollars upfront for our technology we love them (B2B).
  • Level 2: Funding. Lets pitch them for our Series A.
  • Level 3: Strategic. We want revenue share – that is a scalable model. So we know that means we also have to share risk. We will have a pragmatic discussion about branding.

This is what Sam Evans was referring to when he describes being a bridge.

How Insurance and Banks are different

Banks were slow to react to the threat/opportunity of Fintech. The first answer was Level 2. Clearly this does not scale. Not all Banks can have a Corporate VC unit. Even the best have to work hard to get great deal flow and eventually face the strategic dilemma of which comes first – financial or strategic returns. Big Bank’s Corporate VC unit have to gain the trust of entrepreneurs who might worry that Big Banks want to learn from them and then build in house or buy a struggling competitor. In other words, Big Banks could be competitors or partners. Small Banks don’t have an option to be competitors; they are partners that entrepreneurs can feel comfortable with. Yet it is inconceivable that lots of Small Banks will set up their own Corporate VC unit (or maintain them in tough times when the best ventures are funded).

Insurance incumbents moved much faster when Insurtech came along. This is particularly true of Reinsurance. This is the trend we call Reinsurance As A Service.

4 Investing Themes

Sam identified 4 types of opportunities that they seek:

  1. AI in Life & Health using “quantified self” data (wearables and other devices such as wifi connected scales). This exploits the crazy situation today where premiums are based on occasional batch snapshots based on a medical exam. For more, see this post.
  2. Commercial Insurance. This has many sub segments such as Cyber and Flood Insurance. Sam gave one example of the latter that resonated and it was very simple. Assessing risk based only on geo code (eg Zip Code in America) misunderstands risk of the house on the river vs the house on the hill. The opportunity windows is particularly open in SME Insurance – see this post for more.
  3. Claims Processing. Sam gave us the data that this accounts for 60-70% of the cost. It is also a big UX driver as speed/simplicity of claims process is what gets customers talking positively or negatively about their carrier. This has some hard tech problems, because getting it wrong leads to fraud. For more please see this post.
  4. Digital Distribution. Eos is working in partnership with a tech company called Convista who have developed a digital front office solution called One Digital Office (ODO). ODO acts as a distribution channel for Eos portfolio companies and can also be used as the platform to launch new Digital Distribution products. Digital Distribution covers what we have been calling the Robo Brokers as well as simple comparison services (which are scaling fast in blue ocean markets where there are  a lot of de novo customers getting insurance for the first time (India, China, Africa etc).

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

Get fresh daily insights from an amazing team of Fintech thought leaders around the world. Ride the Fintech wave by reading us daily in your email.

Insurtech has its first rollup as Knip and Komparu merge to create Digital Insurance Group.

fruit-roll-ups.jpg

An exit is when the rubber meets the road. All valuations up to that point are only on paper. So we like to track exits to see what they tell us about broader trends. Knip, one of the well known Swiss Fintech ventures, was recently acquired by Digital Insurance Group. It is also an “exit” for a Dutch venture called Komparu.

If you have never heard about Digital Insurance Group, don’t feel bad. It was formed from the merger of Knip and Komparu. The terms of the deal were not disclosed (which can mean it was not very much). It reads like the creation of a platform for a rollup and we believe it is the first rollup in Insurtech.

This does not seem like a cash out exit (which is why I call it an “exit” in quotes). It is probably more like a postponed exit. To get scale, a couple of ventures are brought together and the bigger entity can raise more money to do more acquisitions. In short this is the initial platform for a rollup. It makes sense as a strategy. One can find equivalents of both Knip and Komparu in virtually every market. Most of the things they need to do are the same in  each market. Local nuance matters of course but it is likely to be 90% standard and 10% local (like changing the menu slightly in a fast food chain to accommodate local tastes).

It also makes sense because Knip is what we call a Robo Broker and Komparu  is more of a comparison engine. A Robo Broker needs a comparison engine so the two are complementary. Comparison engines are easy to build and market but have low barriers to entry. So the combination makes sense.

Mergers always create a problem of who will be boss. It looks like they resolved that.   Dennis Just will step down as CEO of Knip, while Komparu’s Roeland Werring will become Group CTO and Ruben Troostwijk remains CEO of Komparu, focusing on B2B business opportunities as well as launching Knip in the Netherlands. Ingo Weber becomes the new Group CEO of the Digital Insurance Group. Ingo Weber comes from the VC world. He seems like the architect of the rollup strategy. He comes with a strong background in insurance, technology and business building.

Image Source.

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

Get fresh daily insights from an amazing team of Fintech thought leaders around the world. Ride the Fintech wave by reading us daily in your email.