Following a recent article by Andrew Rear, Chief Executive of Digital Partners Munich Re, Sam Evans, Managing Director of Eos Venture Partners shares his thoughts on the growth of InsurTech and how Eos is engaging with leading entrepreneurs.
By Sam Evans, Managing Director of Eos Venture Partners
Eos is currently working with a portfolio of nine companies
- Neos – the first smart home insurer in the UK
- RightIndem – a leading claims transformation business
- Digital Fineprint – leveraging social media to drive insurance
- AWP – providing air travel delay and cancellation insurance
- Tyche – using unstructured data to improve the underwriting and claims process
- Democrance – providing micro insurance through mobiles to the MENA region
- Spixii – the first fully automated chat bot for insurance
- Insure A Thing – turning insurance on its head with a completely new approach
- Asset Vault – a solution that allows consumers to catalogues, protect and grow their assets
It’s been great for Eos to help cultivate growth in this sector and an incredible experience working closely with seed stage companies. Erik Abrahamsson, CEO of Digital Fineprint was kind enough to provide the following feedback:
“Working with Eos has been a game-changer for our company, and we couldn’t have found a better lead investor. We get both fundraising and strategic help, as well as introductions to top-level decision makers at the insurance firms we wanted to sign up as clients. Digital Fineprint has Eos to thank for the rapid growth we experienced in 2016, and we can’t wait to grow it even more in 2017!”
(Erik Abrahamsson. CEO, Digital Fineprint)
We are pleased to be part of the Startupbootcamp InsurTech programme having made available £1m of financing for the next programme. The recent selection days showed the quality of the programme and we are looking forward to working with a number of very exciting businesses in Q1 of 2017.
We continue to work closely with InsurTech.VC in Germany and believe that London and Cologne will become two of the key global hubs for InsurTech going forward. Strengthening that partnership is key focus for us in 2017.
We are also delighted to welcome Jonathan Kalman to our team, Jonathan has a huge amount of venture capital experience and is currently working with RightIndem on their expansion into the US.
Here are some observations based on our recent activity in the market place
InsurTech has become truly global. Eos is working with businesses across the world, including the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Long may it continue and whilst we’ll continue with our strategic approach to the market in the UK and Europe we remain open to exciting opportunities in all markets.
Entrepreneurs are not all young guns. Many of the companies we work with are founded by industry veterans who having seen how badly the market is structured or performing have created a start-up to tackle the opportunity. Having said that, it’s also been an amazing experience working with the team from Digital Fineprint who managed to launch their business whilst graduating from Oxford University.
Things can move quickly. Two of our portfolio companies, RightIndem and Neos having only just closed their pre-Series A rounds, have moved almost immediately to a Series A round, reflecting the traction and momentum they are building. Following an introduction from us, Neos has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Zoopla providing a massive lift to their distribution footprint. RightIndem need to quickly scale their infrastructure to capitalise on the interest from insurers across the globe.
“It’s been a great year for InsurTech – it really feels like it’s come of age. From the first cohort graduating from Startup Bootcamp, to the global InsurTech event in Las Vegas, with over 1500 people in attendance’. If I was to describe the relationship, 2015 was the dating, 2016 was the engagement and with all the investments made, we have finally tied the knot, we are married! 2017 will start with the honeymoon. And whilst the novelty and excitement will remain, we will quickly move to identifying and finding ways in which it truly augments, disrupts and improves the insurance experience, for customers, brokers and agents as we know it today. This is one match that has some great opportunity ahead.”
(Nigel Walsh. Partner (Consulting), Deloitte)
Operational support is fundamental to success. As businesses move from early stage to pilots and live launch, having the right support is critical. They need to become experts in B2B sales, in scaling systems infrastructure, in building teams, in creating distribution and in managing partnerships with large organisations. As a result we are building operational support through strategic partnerships to ensure our portfolio companies have access to the right expertise.
Focus shifting from personal lines to all areas of insurance. We are currently involved with businesses looking at casualty business, introducing a Bloomberg for insurance for commercial lines and a solution for coverholders in the London Market. No area of insurance will be spared!
Partnership approach still key. Nearly all the models we are seeing are reliant on close working relationship with incumbents. What has been great to see is the positive response from the industry, with many players embracing the new opportunities. However, whilst they are becoming quicker and more responsive (our record is introduction to pilot in 6 weeks, well done Hiscox!) the biggest problem facing the start-ups is the time required for negotiation and onboarding. If I could make one plea it would be for insurers to have a look at their internal process and adapt it for working with start-ups. There is little point trying to embrace innovation and then hitting entrepreneurs with a 300 plus line systems questionnaire or spending several months negotiating a simple SAAS contract.
Looking forward we are truly excited about the evolution of InsurTech, we firmly believe that the fundamentals of the sector mean that InsurTech is here to stay rather than a short-lived bubble. We will focus on creating a platform for leading entrepreneurs to succeed by building on our operational capability and position in the market.
Sabine Vanderlinden, Managing Director of Startupbootcamp InsurTech adds:
“InsurTech start-ups entered the insurance market by stealth two years ago. Today, it is clear that they are here to stay. As insurers realise that there are new means to facilitate their digital transformation, they gradually turn their heads to those early-stage businesses able to develop, digitise and distribute new product and service offerings and design new processes and business models that win the hearts and minds of customers. We are delighted to work closely with Sam Evans from Eos Venture Partners to enable promising young ventures to find the capital they need to scale and help fast moving insurers to differentiate. “
(Sabine Vanderlinden, Managing Director of Startupbootcamp InsurTech)
I would also like to thank the people who have been so supportive of Eos Venture Partners and allowed us to enjoy such a successful year.
About Eos Venture Partners
We provide financing and advisory services to leading entrepreneurs building innovative businesses in the insurance sector. We offer a unique solution for growth stage InsurTech companies. Founders are choosing to work with us because we are an independent, specialist and active investor, with a strong track record and excellent relationships across the insurance sector