Amazon’s latest healthcare play and still more money into autonomous vehicles

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best-in-class innovation

A couple of Sundays ago I ran the Bristol half marathon with a bunch of team Tällt. On Monday I ran a Partnership Day for BGL Group, or more precisely, the Comparethemarket team.

For the record the Monday went a lot better than the Sunday.

It’s the third Partnership Day we’ve run for BGL, the fifth if you include the ones in India and China. The objective of the day was to identify relevant startups that could accelerate and/or evolve the delivery of their product lines.

This time around we changed it up a little, investing more resources upfront to truly understand and interrogate the product roadmaps, and align the best-in-class innovation.

best-in-class innovation

The result? Aside from a brilliantly creative day engaging 60+ folk, there’s an immediate and huge appetite to push a number of the opportunities identified into PoCs.

If startup partnerships form part of your in-class innovation strategy, give us a shout. We have a load of learning into how these days are best structured, a model we’ve refined over the years.
We’re happy to chat you through our approach and share with you some of the results.

Time for some market news.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks so I’ll pick a few themes and some market activity you may just not have come across already.

Two cheese trucks ran into each other. De brie was everywhere.
Let’s kick off with some auto news.

Hyundai are pushing forward in their pursuit of leading the autonomous vehicle space, announcing a 50/50 joint venture with Aptiv, the leading mobility solutions guys. I always find these partnerships interesting, not just in the combination of capability, but the commercials that sit behind the deal and the operational structure to make it work.

On this one, Hyundai are throwing in $1.6bn cash, and Aptiv their tech, IP and 700 staff. Sounds a pretty solid deal all round.

And if you needed any more convincing of where the market is heading, last week AutoX and Voyage, two more autonomous driving startups, landed a whopping $100m Series A and $31m Series B respectfully.

best-in-class innovation

It’s a trend we’re watching caer-philly (excuse the niche, local pun).

Onto other investments this week – DealerPolicy, the Vermont based car insurance marketplace, has received investment from MTech Capital. And Joonko, the yet-to-launch German car insurer, has received a reported €10m seed from Ping An’s Global Voyager Fund.

And finally, a bit of no-news: it was picked up at ITC this week that Metromile, will, at some stage, target an IPO. That’s right. You’re welcome.

On the product front, not much to report other than Nationwide has announced it’ll be launching Spire – scan your license, answer 4 questions and you’re all set. Sounds good to me.

How do penguins make a decision? Flipper coin.
In commercial lines, a couple of investments this week.

Columbus, Ohio-based Bold Penguin – which has doubled in size this past year – has raised a $32 million Series B. And Broker Buddha, the guys who automate ‘mundane’ agency operations, has pocketed $4.5m from Vertex Ventures.

Another ITC announcement this week: Chisel AI launched an enhanced version of its Policy Check, an AI-powered solution for commercial insurance carriers and brokers to digitise the process of checking an insurance policy against a quote, application, submission, expiring policy, or binder in seconds.

best-in-class innovation

Lastly, Carpe Data announced the launch of a new dataset across 25 million business, to commercial lines insurers.

Tech giants building and building and building
We’re constantly researching the plays by the big tech giants and this week a proper headline grabber – Amazon trialling Amazon Care, a program that provides Seattle-based employees with access to health professionals over video chat and text.

Normally a big corporate trialling this kind of tech wouldn’t get so much press. But then not all big corporates have made a tonne of acquisitions and investments into the healthcare space.

You might have also picked up an announcement that Google is investing $3.3 billion in clean European data centres. In the same week a paper from a Google researcher was published, and later removed, claiming the company has reached quantum supremacy.

“This dramatic speed-up relative to all known classical algorithms provides an experimental realisation of quantum supremacy on a computational task and heralds the advent of a much-anticipated computing paradigm.”

Have a read, it’s a good one.

Last couple of interesting ones for me this week. The much loved CareVoice, launched The CareVoiceOS – an ‘operating system’ that enables insurers to deliver cost-effective health plans personalised to their customers.

AXA has launched their €250 million Late Growth Fund managed by AXA Venture Partners.

And last but not least, Digital Fineprint announced a further $4m investment from Eos Venture Partners and Pentech Ventures.

Carl Bauer (pictured below) is one of the founding partners of Eos and also sits on our Sønr Advisory Board. He is an exceptionally informed, strategic and connected man and will undoubtedly continue to be a huge asset for Erik and the team.

best-in-class innovation

Time for me to wrap up.

I’m spending the day with the Insurance Post team today judging their awards so a little tight for time. Equally I’m writing this with a seriously sore head from the best-in-class Insurance Times Tech Innovation Awards last night. Seems to be that time of the year again.

On that note, congrats to Insurtech Gateway for winning the Investor/Corporate Innovator of the Year last night. Equally congrats to the runners up: Anthemis Group, Aviva Ventures, Kamet and LocalGlobe.

best-in-class innovation

Before I disappear, a quick nod to this week’s Spøtlight. As part of our step into the Australian market I was introduced to Rita Yates, the CEO of Insurtech Australia, by a mutual connection. It so happened my research team had interviewed her just a couple of weeks before. Have a read of how she’s helping grow the Australian insurtech ecosystem.

Have a good weekend.


Sønr helps companies identify the best-in-class innovation that drives strategy and its execution.

We achieve this by presenting our clients with timely and relevant intelligence from the world’s most comprehensive source of the best-in-class innovation data.




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