Adversity, opportunity and time for a reset?

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adversity breeding innovation

Unsurprisingly, my couple of weeks in the mountains didn’t happen.

Since pressing send on the last SøNws, I’ve spent my time looking after an ever so sick wife and wresting an ever so feral 2-year old.

Now back at the desk and taking stock of a crazy new world.

Somewhat controversially I’ve mixed feelings about this world. Whilst I get it’s a crazy tough time for people – personally and professionally, I genuinely believe the world will be a better place on the other side.

Adversity gives us the chance to press reset, in every way.
And from an innovation perspective, adversity always breeds opportunity.

But right now, it’s tough.

Peers and Clients
Across my entrepreneur networks the only talk is of survival – cutting costs (through layoffs and huge salary cuts) and scrabbling to raise/source cash in a closed down market.

For our clients (insurance companies) the focus is on implementing BCPs, looking after their teams and working out how the ‘new world’ is going to affect them. Not an easy task for coping with the triple whammy of being a claims payer, capital manager and large employer.

Seemingly, though, across clients at least, the attitude is positive.

Most have transitioned to home working pretty successfully. There’s a recognition and acceptance that market conditions have changed and will continue to do so. And there’s a sense of energy and collaboration which I’ve not seen before – a real unity within and across businesses.

This week, I want to go off-piste from the usual format. Before I do, we’ve had a crazy spike of new subscribers, so a quick hello and offer – should you like to find out more about Sønr, get in touch and happy to set you up with a 14-day trial.


adversity breeding innovation

For regular readers, you’ll know most weeks I post about the investment pouring into startups, any startup/corporate partnerships, and new innovative product launches.

This week, all change.

Market Dynamics
Whilst money is still getting invested, it’s definitely thinning. I thought adversity breeding innovation was a particularly good (and brutal) read – GilDibner from Angular Ventures on VC fundraising in today’s climate.

On the partnerships front, again activity, but very much two different scenarios playing out:

  1. The deals that were going through are being honoured by all parties. Good to see. Less so on the POC front. Most of these are on pause while companies reassess priorities.
  2. There’s a definite wake-up of the need to seriously accelerate digital transformation. Interestingly we’ve had a spike in inbound interest in innovation that specifically maps to the ‘new world’. From telemedicine, claims, chatbot AI…
    More on this adversity breeding innovation later.

From our own business perspective, I’d be crazy not to worry.

So far it seems we’re in a usually strong place to help. There’s been an unprecedented level of inbound enquiries for Sønr which has to be a good thing.

Plus in 2019 we heavily invested in creating tools within Sønr that enabled our clients to extract more value from their market scanning – smarter collaboration and knowledge sharing through features like:

  • recording which startup you and your colleagues have met
  • ability to keep tabs on interesting businesses through Watchlists
  • tracking company-wide activity through CRM boards

All of this is perfect for any company with distributed teams.
Which, lo and behold is suddenly all of us.

Also, with the stopping of all physical events, which for most companies has been a strong source of identifying new innovation and gaining insight into market trends, I’ve a feeling Sønr will grow quickly this year.

As such I want to make sure we’re also giving back. Whilst working out exactly what that looks like over the coming weeks I’ll share curated list of startups/scaleups that our team is pulling together; innovations that aligns to the new world.

Should you wish to learn more about them or speak with them, I’m happy to offer up my teams time to help.

Standing Tall
For today, I want to put a shout out to a few insurance tech businesses that are doing amazing things during these crazy times:

  1. Alan, in France, has offered its services free of charge, without obligation, through to everyone until the end of May
  2. For small businesses in the UK, equipsme is offering their health insurance plans for free until 1st August
  3. WeFox has pushed out wefoxGo to connect brokers to their customers via video conference. It’s free of charge for every broker hit by the crisis in any global market outside of their core markets – DE, AT, CH, IT, SP
  4. Zego has announced 14-days free cover to customers with suspected Covid-19.

adversity breeding innovation

  1. Flockcover have set up a £10,000 support fund for anyone using drones to tackle coronavirus and frozen premium payments
  2. Lemonade has asked customers to redirect unclaimed premiums to buy medical supplies for health workers on the front lines:

adversity breeding innovation

  1. Top executives of Jakarta-based Gojek, have committed 25% of their salaries to drivers using the firm’s ride-hailing app if the outbreak has dried up their source of daily income.

I’m sure there are plenty more. I’ll post the list on LinkedIn and please do add to it.

For now, take care of yourself and each other.

If there’s anything the team or I can do to help (in a non-commercial sense), please let me know.


[email protected]
+44 7788 711104


Sø.Nws is brought to you by Sønr.

Sønr is a world-leading market intelligence platform created specifically for the insurance sector. It helps you identify innovation to strengthen and accelerate your business.

It provides intelligence on market trends, competitor playbooks and disruptive tech companies globally. It also has a number of features that help you track and manage scouting activity across your organisation.




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