Tag: Accelerator

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.

INSURTECHHUB MUNICH STARTS FOURTH EDITION OF W1 FORWARD INSURTECH ACCELERATOR

Starting now, applications are being taken for InsurTech Hub Munich’s W1 Forward InsurTech Accelerator until 7thMarch 2019. Existing since 2015, the eight-weeks program is designed for early-stage cross-industry international startups that want to make an impact on the insurance business with their digital solutions. It includes workshops, one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions. Startups are assisted in becoming experts in insurance and turning  validated entrepreneurial ideas market- and investor-ready, building pilots with InsurTech Hub Munich’s (ITHM) corporate members.

“We’re looking for true disruptors, people who think big and outside the box”, says Manuel Holzhauer, ITHM’s Managing Director. “Established insurance companies are starting to realize their biggest competitors are no longer their industry peers, but rather the Tech Big 5 or Insurtech unicorns. Therefore cross-industry ideas are more than welcome”. He points to the hub’s services for startups: “We can offer access to a huge network of mentors, coaches, investors and allies both within the industry, in universities and with our startup alumni. But our true USP is the unparalleled access we provide startups to our fourteen insurance members.” ITHM’s partners range from international insurance market leaders to local champions and cross-industry players like PwC and Roche.

STRONG NETWORK OF PARTNERS AND ALUMNI

W1 Forward InsurTech Accelerator is performed in cooperation with WERK1, ‘the most start-up-friendly place in Munich‘, a startup hub funded by the Bavarian ministry for economic affairs promoting the regional startup ecosystem. Funded by both its partners and Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, ITHM hosts events, networking opportunities, knowledge-sharing workshops or meetups and partners with internationally renowned events like the Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA) Conference

Once startups have reached a later stage, the second of ITHM’s accelerator programs, InsurTech Europe powered by Plug&Play, assists them in the scaling phase. ITHM works closely with fifteen other digital hubs (de:hubs) in Germany, each focused on their own vertical, aimed at putting Germany on the global digitization heatmap. W1 Forward InsurTech Accelerator alumni include Road Safety startup Kruzr, which has secured a $1.3M seed fundingrecently or Munich-based e-bot7, specializing in Artificial Intelligence solutions for Customer Service.

Registration & further details:

Demo Day at WERK1: Nine startups present their vision for a modern insurance industry

9 start-ups. Around 60 mentors. 13 insurance partners. 8 weeks. One could almost call it a small boot camp of the startup scene, which took place in the last weeks here in the rooms of WERK1. The result: Nine innovative solutions that could advance the future of the digital insurance industry. With the live presentations of the international teams the third batch of the W1>> InsurTech Accelerator ends successfully.

You’ve invested your heart and soul in the last eight weeks. But for most of the participants in the batch, that also meant less sleep and more coffee. But days like this are the reward for the hard and intensive working hours, because there was a lot of interest in their projects. The Eventspace: Full to bursting with almost 200 enthusiastic startup colleagues, investors, insurers and the curious.

W1>> INSURTECH ACCELERATOR BATCH 3

The special feature of this batch is that it is almost twice as large as its predecessors. 75 startups have applied for the program this year. Nine international teams, including one from Australia and two from India, were selected in the end.

“The demands on this batch were greater, from start to finish. The recruiting process alone was more complex and international than ever before. In the meantime, word has spread about our concept from Munich. That’s a nice signal of what a worldwide attraction we’ve developed.”

Dr. Florian Mann, CEO WERK1

Around €50,000 was invested in each start-up in the form of infrastructure, top-class mentoring and direct links to more than a dozen globally active insurance companies. This “all-round carefree package” turned ideas into scalable business models in no time at all.

After interviews on stage with the W1>>team members and a short speech by Tom Van den Brulle, Head of Global Innovation at Munich Re, the startups got serious. Each team had exactly five minutes to present its own project to the experts present. Here are a few examples of the presentations:

ANYONE CAN AND IS ALLOWED TO PITCH

Ayan Srivastava presented with a video the app Kruzr, which turns the smartphone into a driving assistant. The Kruzr language assistant could become a helpful co-pilot, e.g. by warning in case of increased speed or bad weather conditions, by suggesting breaks after longer driving times, or by simply managing incoming messages. The aim is to significantly reduce the number of car accidents.

The next step was the intelligent health platform Docyet, which can not only talk to the patients, but also has appropriate solutions for their problems with the help of artificial intelligence. Petra and Samuel von Freya discussed the topic of human fertility and possible insurance benefits, and Marguerite from MedPayRx explained how Blockchain technology can help patients buy medicines online in the future. At the end of the presentations everyone received a certificate. For Gilberto from Sydney it was a nice memory of an exciting and intense time.

„Since the first day I came for demo day, I felt like: this is the place. It was a really intense time, but I always wanted to get the most out of it! It was a huge opportunity to speak directly with a collection of insurance companies and it has really opened a lot of doors for us.“

Gilberto Spencer CEO & Gründer von Claimspace

The hard work was worth it. All nine start-ups have mastered their presentations on stage with confidence and professionalism. Program coordinator Daniel Nowack is very satisfied after the pitches, almost a bit sentimental.

“It was an incredibly dynamic cohort with whom it was a lot of fun to work together. Everyone could learn from everyone. On a day like today, seeing startups present themselves self-confidently who were previously very insecure is a huge gift!

A SUCCESS FOR THE INSURERS

The W1>> InsurTech Accelerator connects the world of startups with the world of large insurance companies and not only the founders benefit. Johannes Wagner revealed us at the Demo-Day:

“For our insurers, it is a constant competition for premium innovations. We have to get to the top issues worldwide. W1>>InsurTech is a collection basin for this. Here we have access to premium innovations, not from Silicon Valley, but directly from Munich”.

Johannes Wagner, Vorstand InsureTech HUB München / Leiter Start-up Corporation Versicherungskammer Bayern

Besides interviews, speeches and pitches there was of course enough time for celebrations and networking. At small booths each startup could introduce itself to interested visitors in the WERK1 Café and have a drink to discuss the ideas of the startups in more detail. Our evening ends at the booth of Freya and with the beautiful words of founder Petra:

„It was a unique program. We love it here in Munich. WERK1 has a super friendly atmosphere, we feel like home!“