Early-stage investments shaping future trends

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Whilst (most of) mainland Europe heads to the beach, it’s been a busy few weeks:
✅   doubling the size of the Sønr team
✅   onboarding a bunch of new clients
✅   ITC Vegas planning (lots to share on this… soon)
❌   getting out to Jakarta

Congrats to ITC on yesterday’s roadshow event. 200+ attendees – incumbents, insurtechs, VCs all coming together to connect, learn, and collaborate. 
Gutted to not have made it out there.
Proud Sønr can support making it happen.
On that note, we’re super pleased to announce George Kesselman has accepted a role as a Senior Advisor to help build our business in Asia.

A couple of other big hires:

  1. Rob Swan – leading our global business growth
  2. Garrick Douthwaite – leading our services team

The long and short is if you need to…

  1. Better understand how your market is changing (locally/globally)
  2. Scout and connect with those companies driving change
  3. Actually do something about it all

…get in touch!
Time for some market news.

Travel insurance, APAC style

Keeping with the APAC vibe, FWD is launching a distribution partnership with travel platform Klook.

The partnership targets the Singaporean market, offering short-term accident cover as a Klook add-on. Following regulatory approval, the product will be made available in other Asian countries too.
Further south, Australian travel insurance startup Ok Away is teaming up with Israeli company Air Doctor. I always love a good startup + startup collab.
Air Doctor offers a platform for tourists to find doctors while abroad, helping travellers access medical help whilst on holiday.

Comparison is back. Well, maybe

In 2019 Allianz stopped using comparison portals in Germany.
Now it’s all change.
Allianz Direct has teamed up with comparison website CHECK24 in Germany and Spain.

Check24’s customers will be able to purchase Allianz Direct ‘s products. The first joint product will be a motor insurance in Germany which will be trialled in August and rolled out fully from Sept.
Less comparison and more marketplace, it was great to see JAROWA raise a $12.9m Series A led by our friends at Eos Venture Partners.
The company was founded in 2017 and offers insurers, property managers and leasing companies across Switzerland, Germany, the UK and Italy access to an aggregated digital marketplace. Check them out. It’s an interesting proposition.

Early-stage parametric

If you want to track how the market will evolve 5+ years out, look at what businesses are attracting early-stage funding today. 
A couple of interesting parametric plays:

Swiss startup Riskwolf which helps insurers build parametric insurance offerings by providing real-time data has raised a $699K pre-Seed investment.
Riskwolf was started in 2019 and it uses real-time data to help insurers build parametric insurance products for digital risks. Worth keeping an eye on.
The other is Raincoat which secured $4.5m in Seed funding, led by Anthemis.

These guys were founded in 2020 and position themselves as an end-to-end parametric embedded climate insurance products for farmers and SMBs. They’re already working with reinsurers and governments and are well worth tracking.
Btw, if you did want to know more about Raincoat, you best head to Sønr.
The above image is the extent of their website.

Filling in the data gaps

Keeping with climate and data, Berkshire Hathaway has expanded its current partnership with Zesty.ai, with the deployment of its wildfire risk model Z-Fire.

The partnership extension comes as Zesty.ai’s model has allegedly outperformed BH’s own. Sounds like a good bit of partnership validation right there.
And another early-stage business worth tracking, Quotech has landed $1.2m from a mix of angel investors and the Convex Group.

These guys are super interesting – founded in 2020, they provide a data platform that enriches policyholder data and blends it with customer’s own data.
It’s a pretty on-point offering right now and I’ve a feeling they’re well placed, resourced and connected to scale quickly.

Cyber, but not as you know it

It’s all too easy to report on how much growth we’re seeing in cyber. There’s an absolute mountain of activity in this space.
And so, I thought I’d share a couple of businesses, both well established, which bring a new dimension the usual risk protection.
The first is cyber security platform Axio which has recently secured a $23m Series B round.
The company offers SaaS-based cyber management software which helps businesses quantify cyber risk in financial terms. Or as they put it ‘Axio360 is an all-in-one checklist, calculator, and magnifying glass for cybersecurity decisions’.

The other is cyber security training platform Cybrary which has raised a $25m Series C.
These guys provide a training platform which helps users to learn cybersecurity skills. They do this through a catalogue of courses, and a cloud-based training environment, which enables users to practise tackling simulated cyber-attacks. Interesting, right?

Keeping it short(er) and sweet(ish)

Last week I asked if a shorter SøNws was better. Or if people preferred longform.
The answer was yes. To both.
This week I’ll meet you halfway with some of the most interesting across insurance.
Health – Estonian health startup Antegenes has secured $2.3m to advance its personalised cancer prevention solution.
Why is this interesting? Well, its novel genetic tests, based on polygenic risk score technology, can assess patients’ personal risks and also provide personalised clinical recommendations for prevention. And that’s pretty nuts. In an amazing way.

Embedded – Australian gig economy startup Coverhero has announced both a new API and also plans to launch in North America and Asia.
Satellite imagery – analytics provider LiveEO has secured $19.4m to enter the insurance market.

LiveEO was founded in 2018 and its core offering is its infrastructure monitoring suite powered by satellite imagery which uses AI to analyse earth ‘observation’ data. It then offers this analysis to rail operators, power lines and others to give them information about risks.

Beautiful, crazy, innovative India

Those who know me well will know I love the mountains. And I love India.
Now, I realise I should have probably included these right up at the top [as they fall squarely under the APAC banner] but hey ho.
Firstly, great to see Swiss Re pushing deeper into Indian innovation with a partnership with T-Hub.
T-Hub is an innovation hub/ecosystem ‘enabler’.
In fact, we should probably reach out to them ourselves as I imagine there’s a good synergy with what we’re up to at Sønr.
From an insurance perspective, two particularly interesting companies I clocked this week are Jai Kisan and InsuranceDekho.

Jai Kisan was founded in 2017 and it has a mission to create an improved financial services experience for India’s rural businesses and individuals. Whilst they haven’t quite got around to insurance it’s squarely on the roadmap and they recent $50m Series B should help get them rolling forward with it.
The second is InsuranceDekho which is teaming up with Future Generali India to provide a new dog health insurance.
And I totally get it.
What comes with a lot of people is a lot of pets. 32 million in fact. Plus, the market is growing 12% annually with the majority being dogs.


Before I disappear, a big thanks to Auditee Dutt of Travelers and Tony Livesey of Royal London Group for their support as judges in the Insurance Times Corporate Innovator of the Year Awards.

And a huge congratulations to Ben Luckett (Aviva), Melanie Kill, Ashley Rubinstein (AXA) and Mark Budd (Zurich) for making the shortlist.

Right, that is me.

The sun is shining in the UK and the balloons are about to take off.
Have a great weekend all.

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