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Fireside chat with Laka!

Posted 12.01.2018

Laka is an Eos portfolio company that has developed a new approach to the insurance business model, by only earning fees when acting in the best interests of the insurance consumer and settling claims. We caught up with CEO, Tobias Taupitz, to find out what they’ve been getting up to lately.

What are the key milestones/successes achieved in the last 12 months?

  • Insure A Thing has become Laka, after the Hawaiian goddess of prosperity – and hula dancing. An audition for the official Laka company dance will be announced in due course. If this made you smile, the re-brand already fulfilled it’s purpose
  • We completed the Anthemis Fellowship program, graduated from accelerator Startupbootcamp InsurTech, and got accepted to the Simmons & Simmons FinTech Fund 2017 to secure a sizable legal grant
  • We further completed an angel round with the support of Eos Venture Partners and Raw Capital; and 
  • Grew our team to 6, with Lorraine Mullins, previously Head of Regulatory Affairs at XL Catlin, joining us as Head of Compliance
  • Most importantly though,
    • we were accepted to the FCA Sandbox, an innovative initiative by the regulator to enable start-ups to launch new propositions in the UK market
    • we secured a partnership with Zurich UK as our underwriting partner
    • With that, Laka has launched its first product, cover for high value bicycles for theft, damage and loss 

What does the future look like for Laka?

We look forward to testing our proposition live in the market and to twist, tweak and iterate based on customer feedback.  In the next 6 months, we are going to:

  • Graduate from the FCA Sandbox
  • Roll-out additional products in the UK
  • Collect several months worth of data 

Why did you decide to start an InsurTech start up?

I was looking at insurance through a corporate finance lense and it just didn’t make sense to me: if I increase the loss ratio, profits come down – that’s diametric to what customers want. I was intrigued by the magnitude of the problem to tackle. I believe it is not enough to patch-up actuarial models but it rather requires a paradigm shift towards transparency and fairness, all addressed by Laka’s cost-plus model.

What have been your high/low points in last 12 months?

 

It’s start-up life after all. We talked to numerous insurers before we found an open-minded partner curious to see this through. Fund raising remains one of the most difficult tasks in early-stage start-ups and I still recall the highs when business angels agreed to back us, and the lows when some completed due diligence and walked away. My previous job, banking, has prepared me well for this but it’s been and still is an emotional roller-coaster

The most important part of any start-up is the team, and I’m incredibly thankful to have found amazing co-founders and a super strong team. Ben, Jack, Jens, Lorraine, Steph – you guys are awesome! Also, a big shout out to all our partners, advisers & supporters, too! Thanks for your patience!

Of course, start-ups depend on access to a vibrant eco-system and we are fortunate to have such a well developed scene here in London 

What has surprised you so far?

I was surprised how binary conversations with insurers were. They either thought that our idea is silly and that cycling is too much of a niche market, or jumped on the idea immediately and saw through it, brainstorming ideas beyond cycling

What are you excited about?

We have now come to a point where our proposition will no longer be judged by insurers or the regulator – we won them over

We can finally work with customers and insure their most cherished items, and of course tweak our offering based on their feedback

What lessons do you have for people thinking about jumping in?

I would recommend to try to speak to as many people about your idea as possible. I was way too secretive in my early days out of fear that someone would copy my idea / outpace me. In reality, it’s all about execution and requires a huge amount of optimism. The likelihood that someone copies an unproven idea of which they only understand half of it should be rather low.  It’s a great, rewarding experience and I wouldn’t want to have it any different

Are there any messages you’d like to send to insurers/incumbents?

Laka enables carriers to move from underwriting to fee-based income in the non-life space. It’s a new world! 

Why do you love Eos!?!

The Eos guys supported us very early on in our journey and believed in the Laka proposition when hardly anyone has done so.  “Vielen Dank” for all you have done for us!!!


Laka’s bicycle insurance proposition is now live! Click here to get a quote.

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