Category: Allgemein

W1>> ACCELERATOR #4 AT WERK1 – UNLEASHING INNOVATION POTENTIAL IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY

The keyword “Accelerator” is usually associated with an idea about financial support and revision of business models. The W1 Forward Accelerator Programme, initiated by the InsurTech Hub Munich at WERK1, shows that a programm to promote innovative start-ups can work in a different way. In the eight-week, early-stage programm, the creators focus primarily on well-founded, targeted advice on start-ups and intensive use of the industry network.

THE INSURTECH HUB – A POOL OF POSSIBILITIES FOR STARTUPS & INSURERS

“The InsurTech Hub is a platform that brings the different players in the industry together,” explains Ben Shaw, Director Program & Strategy. Fourteen large insurers, large corporations, business and strategy consultants and universities such as the LMU or the Bundeswehrhochschule are part of the network. “The idea is that all these institutions have an interest in driving innovation together in the insurance context. And one part of driving this innovation forward is the Accelerator Program, which brings the various insurance companies into direct contact with small, innovative projects and start-ups.

PROGRAM USP & BENEFITS FOR THE STARTUPS

We want to know from Ben which startups the program is aimed at, as we meet him for the interview on the program running since mid-May in the WERK1 Café. In some cases the business idea is there, it hasn’t been founded yet – just early. “What’s important is that we not only select the start-ups according to the idea, but also according to whether we have the feeling that they can put it into practice. The selection event resulted in ten young companies. Only two of them have already received funding. “Over a period of eight weeks we will give them all the resources they need to build up and expand their business – i.e. consulting in business modelling, financial modelling, marketing & sales, etc.”, says Ben about the USP of the Accelerator programm. “And we bring them into contact with 14 major insurance companies, which give them direct enterprise feedback or rather insurance-relevant feedback. This is extremely valuable and priceless.”

PROGRAM FINALE: DEMO DAY

At the end of the eight weeks – this is the aim of the efforts to meet the big players from the insurance industry on a regular basis – the young companies will have pilot projects in the pipeline resulting from the program and the contacts made. For the finale, the Demo Day with around 400 guests, modelled on the American one, is waiting for everyone. “This event gives the startups the opportunity to present themselves to potential investors and tell their story. Why can my startup change the industry? They have four minutes for that.”

BUSINESS IDEAS THAT INSURERS & INSURED BENEFIT FROM

And the young companies want to change a lot! Seven B2B start-ups are involved. Among them, for example, is a company that develops software to support rehabilitation after illnesses and injuries. “This is interesting for private health insurers who want to make sure that the costs do not increase immeasurably due to incorrectly implemented physiotherapy,” explains Ben Shaw. “In addition, such an offer is also in the interest of the insured, because there is direct feedback as to whether the exercises were carried out correctly. Another example is a smoking cessation app developed by a team of experts with years of experience in the health sector. Three B2C start-ups are also taking part in the programme. “Our most international team comes from Thailand and deals with on-demand insurance. This keeps costs much lower and makes processing extremely easy and customer-friendly,” reports Ben. Other teams come from Austria, San Francisco or Barcelona.

INNOVATION POTENTIAL IN THE INSURANCE MARKET

The innovation potential in the insurance industry is huge, and the demand for young, rethinking companies is high, Ben explains the background to the Accelerator Program. “About two years ago, insurers had the aha moment. That’s when the industry became aware that we simply weren’t so technologically advanced in the financial services sector. And that so much more could be done with digital banks. Information about individuals who reflect their personal risk is now much easier to implement through data mining and data science,” Ben explains. Thanks to fast and precise data processing, insurance companies are now in an extremely good position to digitize themselves. And this is exactly where the Insurtech Hub with the Accelerator program comes in. Ben: “This digitization is incredibly difficult and the big insurers solve it through partnerships with external experts, our start-ups.

TIP FROM THE INDUSTRY EXPERT

Who really makes it in the end? According to Ben, that doesn’t just depend on whether you participate in the program. But above all whether the founders can implement the varied feedback they receive during the eight weeks. “A successful founder is always a Hustler, someone who constantly pushes his business forward. Even if the core idea changes – and it always does anyway – it is important to stay on it, with willpower and flexibility. Then you reach your goal.” And that certainly doesn’t just apply to the insurance industry.

Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs with Startup Teens at WERK1

On 9 May 2019, WERK1 hosted the startup teens. More than 100 teenagers followed an exciting talk with startup entrepreneurs from TheSimpleClub and Inveox, our WERK1 managing director Dr. Florian Mann and this year’s guest of honour, farmer and Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger.

Startup-Coaching for Teens

Our managing director Dr. Florian Mann opened the event: “He is always looking forward to welcoming the startup teens to WERK1 and to supporting young people in making the dream of their own startup come true. When it came to the question of who wanted to start a company in the future, the fingers leapt up – the best prerequisite for a great evening!

Rubin Lind, winner of the Startup Teens Challenge and founder of “Skills4School”, led the evening. In a panel discussion, the entrepreneurs introduced themselves and talked about how to master the path from the idea to the foundation. The most important thing is to stand behind the ideas and always stay on the ball, even when it comes downhill, motivated the experts. If you have the wish to achieve something, nothing stands in the way of implementing the idea. The entrepreneurs also gave the young people the idea to inform themselves on the Internet and to build up a reach and community via the social media and to perceive events such as the Startup-Coaching programs and events of Startup Teens.

“Startup initiatives are our future”

Hubert Aiwanger appealed to the pupils to take more risks and to realise themselves. He spoke of today’s “affluent society” where it is important to keep the founder thinking on going. The Free State of Bavaria stands behind start-ups and young entrepreneurs. The Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs referred to the 7 new digital business incubators, which provide young entrepreneurs with support for their own start-up projects. He assured “We want to tackle” and thus encouraged the young people to realize their ideas.

Afterwards, the young people were allowed to ask questions to the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs and the start-up entrepreneurs themselves. In addition to the general entrepreneurial context, questions about the current school system also arose. The pupils would like to learn more about founding and the employer side at school and not only to be taught the employee side. Mr. Aiwanger confirmed the pupils’ point of view and was open to suggestions as to how these contents could be better communicated in the future.


The future young entrepreneurs had their goal of their own startup clearly in mind and turned to the startup experts on stage. How long does it take to set up a startup? And how do I build a network? These and many other questions were answered in detail until the end of the event.

Afterwards, the students had time over drinks and snacks to talk personally to their entrepreneurial role models as well as to network with each other. We are delighted that WERK1 was once again able to host this great event!