China, organic innovation and a very helpful Erica.

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China's tech scene

One thing I’ve learnt over the past couple of weeks is, if you’re thinking of jumping ship to join a startup, think really hard.

I’ve met with a few senior folk who have given it a shot recently and are either now firmly back in corporate land or actively seeking. The reason? The pay is pretty rubbish and the graft unstructured.

Obviously, it’s nothing like that at Tällt. Did I mention we’re recruiting?

Before you read anything else today
For those regular readers, you’ll know we’ve taken clients to a few different established and emerging markets. china’s tech scene is still the most interesting by far.

The sheer scale of business out there is second to none, as is the pace of innovation and ambition for growth, both domestic and overseas. Trust me, you need to be across this stuff.

We’re heading back in September and we’d love you to come along. If you can’t, or want a taster, check out the following:

  1. Download our Explòr China report (hot off the press)
  2. Read ‘Adopting the Chinese Approach’, written by BGL Group’s CIO, Stuart Walters, who we took out earlier this year
  3. Register for our Explòr China webinar on Monday morning at 9am (UK time) – we’ve got speakers from Alibaba, (the TechCrunch of China, china’s tech scene,) and the CTO of BGL Group who also joined


china's tech scene

Can organic innovation deliver for insurance companies?
Over the next couple of weeks, Robb, our Proposition Design Director, is interviewing a series of innovation leaders around the world to collate and share a paper on innovation best practices.

Insurance, on the whole, continues its struggle with organic innovation. Ideas are a plenty but translating them into valuable output is slim on the ground. We want to change that.

If you work for an insurer and have either spectacularly succeeded or failed with organic innovation, we’d love to speak with you – please drop Robb a note and he’ll line up a call.

Time for some market news
Before I kick off with some market news, I read Bank of America’s virtual assistant ‘Erica’ has helped more than 7 million clients manage their finances. In the past 12 months, completed 50 million requests. Good work Erica.

Hope she’s on a decent bonus structure.


China's tech scene

Companies that work together, stay together. Sometimes.
Our friends at Ageas are celebrating their 4-year anniversary of Troo, a bancassurance JV they set up with EastWest Bank. All seems to be working out for them as they aim for Troo to become a top 10 life insurance player in the coming years.Another partnership and this time Baloise, working with KASKO, has launched their single-item insurance product for business customers. I wonder If I can get the Tällt office dog insured.

Out in the US the innovation folk at USAA and State Farm have come together to explore automating the subrogation process. Did you know that in 2018, the subrogation demands/issues accounted for $9.6 billion?

Finally, less partnership and more acquisition. Avinew, which itself only set up 3 years ago, has acquired their Californian neighbour, Betterdrive. Also known as Pear Technology. Seems like a pretty smart pairing (sorry), with Avinew focussed on data to reinvent insurance for autonomous vehicles and Betterdrive developing tech to predict the probability of accidents.


china's tech scene

Blurring the market lines
Earlier this week it was announced the digital payments company Paytm is eyeing up insurance marketplace Coverfox for a $100-$120m all cash-deal. If you didn’t catch the recent Insurtech 100, Coverfox are placed 49.Sticking with India and you have Amazon-backed Acko’s acquisition of online car buying portal VLer Technology. It’s a move pretty much every auto insurer is – or has – considered. Great to see it starting to play out.

As you might expect, at Tällt, we’re fans of anyone who shares the love of umlauts. This week it was announced Westhill Inc (who owns the claims platform elsö) had raised a Series A from Eos Ventures Partners.

Getsafe, the German startup has raised $17m in Series A. With a focus on 20-35 years olds they are, unsurprisingly, a fully end-to-end digital insurer currently offering rent and liability insurance. If you haven’t checked them out, they’re a good bunch.


china's tech scene

Interesting global market reads:
There’s just so much going on in Africa at the moment. If interested in the market, an interesting read from the week is: ‘Race for low-to-middle income consumers heat’s up in SA’s insurance industry’.I’m reading a fair bit about the Hong Kong market at the moment and was interested with the investment they’re making locally to stimulate china’s tech scene innovation. Now boasting one of the fasted-growing startup ecosystems, it’s definitely a market to keep a close eye on.

And no Sø.Nws is complete without some SoftBank chat. This time they’ve announced their ambition to raise an early-stage fund dedicated to ‘unearthing promising startups in AI’. $55m should do the trick.

Random summer announcements
4th June – AXA Climate launches its parametric hail storm coverage. Handy.
6th June – National General Holdings Corp has acquired Syndeste to offer private flood insurance.

The quiet before the Sønr storm
Having sent out hard copies of the Insurtech 100 to the great and good of the insurance, we’re now lining up a month of solid Sønr demos.

Top 3 reasons clients use Sønr:

  1. Source china’s tech scene innovation that isn’t yet mainstream or in the domestic market
  2. Keep a record of who you have met and what you talked about. And do this in a way that is oh so much better than a company-wide shared Excel spreadsheet
  3. A built-in CRM to track where conversations are at with various companies across your global team

Since working with the teams at Aviva, Hiscox, Bupa and Aon, to name a few, we’ve started rolling out a load of new features to help our clients better scan, track and manage their innovation scouting.

If you haven’t booked your demo, get in touch.

Right, it’s Friday afternoon. Time for a run. And then a beer.

For those joining, see you Monday morning for the Explòr China webinar. Don’t be late. And no difficult questions, please and thank you.

Have good weekends all.


Sø.Nws is brought to you by Sønr, which in turn was created by Tällt.

No one is quite sure what’s happened to all the vowels but if you did want a market intelligence and proposition development company to work with, we’re pretty exceptional.

Our vision is to accelerate corporate innovation and entrepreneurship by providing intelligence on the trends, competitor playbooks and global disruptive tech, and to create new opportunities with ambitious organisations around the world.

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