A new benchmark for corporate innovation

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I’ll keep this one short and punchy. Maybe.
 
This week we saw ZhongAn receive an undisclosed investment from Softbank. You know how in my last SøNws I mentioned Lemonade’s global rollout later this year? Well we managed to get hold of the ZhongAn investment deck – and it looks like their raise was to finance overseas expansion, too.
So where does that leave us in Europe? Ripe for the pickings from both East and West? Amazon seems to think so - I’m sure you’ll have a read about their exploration into setting up a UK price comparison website.
 
The rapidly establishing dominance of the US and Chinese startup markets is of real concern for me. The ambition of these businesses cannot be underestimated; ambition only matched by the inordinate stockpiles of cash they have for disrupting new markets.
 
Lemonade has raised $180m to date. ZhongAn, more than $1bn.
 
We all get insurance is changing more quickly than ever and recognise the pace of change is accelerating. But at the same time the ability for incumbents to change and adapt has not sped up; the assets that once made them successful now act as liabilities, making change harder than ever.
 
I want to change this. Excuse the shameless plug but whilst Tällt is still a relatively small company, we are a mix of entrepreneurs, practitioners and consultants who have built, run and exited some of the largest companies in the world.
 
I want us to work together to rebuild, reinvent and provide a new benchmark for corporate innovation and new venturing. If you’re up for the adventure, get in touch.


Rebuilding health care from the ground up
We’ve mentioned Amazon. Time to balance the scales with a bit of Google chat.
 
For the 45.4% who read SøNws in early June, you’ll know I was in sunny Lisbon with Dr Henry Wei from Google and Mario Schlosser from Oscar (the US health insurer). Both these guys - and the armies of talented folk surrounding them - are seriously focused on the world of data and the opportunity it brings to advance health care as we know it.  

Well, it so happens that last week Google’s parent company Alphabet poured some more money into Oscar - this time, $375m. Founded in 2012, Oscar is now valued at $3bn. Not bad for a company who had to shift the business model away from its roots aligned to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Plus, they’ve rebuilt each piece of the insurance stack with brand new tech and, in the first quarter of this year, posted underwriting profit in both Texas and New York.

A thanks and blatant steal from Matteo Carbone for these images:

If you’re involved in health care, or are interested in the space, you should clear the deck for 20 minutes and have a read of Oscar’s forward strategy for innovation (and then send it to all the senior folk in your business). When you drop us a note depends on whether you’d like to think on it over the weekend or not. Happy to hear from you today. Equally, next week is also fine.
 

From farmboy to founder
Enough with the big names. Now for a sneak peek into the next generation disruptors coming through. Both playing in the commercial insurance space – an area of Insurtech unfairly criticised for the lack of innovation.
 
First of all, the team chatted with Erik Abrahamsson, Founder & CEO of Digital Fineprint. I first met these guys in Germany and was immediately impressed. They’re developing AI and big data-driven tech solutions, working with insurers and brokers to protect SMEs, and having great success along the way.
 
Have a read of the Spøtlight for a deeper dive into the business.


(New) Word of the day. Stolid.
We also caught up with Matt Miller, Founder & CEO of Embroker – a leading digital commercial insurance brokerage in San Francisco.
 
Two of my favourite quotes from the interview:
 
When describing life as an entrepreneur…
“Warriors are not ballerinas”
 
And his view on innovation within insurance…
“I’m inspired by the sheer amount of activity, it’s amazing to see so many new ideas in such a traditionally stolid space”

Have a read. They’re a great business and it’s a real insight into Matt’s background, his work with Munich Re and future fundraising.
 

Y Combinator are launching in China
I’m a big fan of Lu Qi (of Yahoo!, Microsoft, Baidu fame) who last week announced a new role as head of, and first employee of, Y Combinator in China.

The article is an incredible insight into the mind of the man and the opportunities and ambitions held within the Chinese market.
 
“Autonomous systems that operate on their own goals will revolutionize all industries; driverless cars are just one of the earliest applications. It will be the core infrastructure for a new generation of productivity, and this infrastructure can be deployed globally.”
 
“Data is the production capital of the new era. There are many Chinese people, it is a unified language market, which brings more experimental opportunities. Any experiment and iteration will be faster. China has a structural advantage in the development of artificial intelligence technology.”


Definitely worth a read.

--

Apologies, I lied. Seemingly nothing short or punchy about this week’s SøNws. I must stop writing, I’ve got a pile of work to get on with.
 
Have a great, stolid, weekend.

As always, if you’d like to learn more about Tällt do drop me a line. I’m always open to a chat about how we might work together. Or head to our website and learn more about what we get up to.
 
On that note, if you’re looking for a new job, get in touch too. We’re incredibly selective on who we employ but that’s what makes us special.
 
Matt



MATT CONNOLLY
Founder & CEO 
+44 7788 711 104 
www.tallt.ventures

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