Not the usual day for your fortnightly dose of Sø.Nws, but I’ve decided to change things up a little and try a new day for your favourite ever newsletter.
First up, something irrelevant but brilliant.
Last week I had a meeting with a super senior person in the Israeli insurance space. Her comment, this being her seventh trip to the UK, was:
“The one thing that always amazes me about the UK is just how much hair the men have on their heads”.
Love it. Who knew?
Insurtech 100 hits the shelves (and inboxes)
This year we’ve once again partnered with Insurance Post to bring you the most in-depth and up-to-date benchmarking of tech companies across the world, with its exclusive ranking making it a one-of-a-kind report.
Each of the 100 in the index is scored on their propensity for success using Tällt’s proprietary Sønr Index™ engine, allowing us to track and predict tech trends and identify future winners.
And, most importantly, we can do this before anyone else.
One thing we’ve noticed in this year’s analysis is just how critical it’s becoming for insurance companies to look further afield; it’s now, more than ever, vital that businesses keep a close eye not just on their own industry and geography, but on the entire global tech scene.
A quick run through what’s been going on in the market over the past couple of weeks.
AI, as always, is up near the top of the list, with Berlin-based Leverton launching AI-as-a-Service for extracting structured data from corporate and legal documents.
ABBYY has also announced the launch of a new mobile capture software development kit that could help shorten the quote process for insurance policies by replacing manual entry with point-and-capture from a mobile phone – something that could go down particularly well with millennials.
Also climbing on the AI bandwagon are Farmers Insurance and Talespin after they announced they are collaborating on a virtual human training program that uses AI to simulate critical workplace conversations.
Meanwhile, Arch Insurance has entered into the UK cyber market with a new product aimed at SMEs called Cyber Searchlight, which makes use of an app to provide fast assistance if a business gets hacked or makes some other form of cyber claim.
On the other side of the pond Elon Musk is hitting headlines once again with news that Tesla will be launching an insurance product. Despite no confirmation from Tesla itself, Musk says that the new insurance could be available for drivers of its electric vehicles before the end of May.
Sticking in the States, it’s not quite SpaceX, but Wing Aviation (of Google’s X Labs fame) has received the first FAA certification in the country for commercial carriage of goods. The company has been performing test flights, mostly in Australia, for years now, and recently started its first commercial flight operations in Canberra. Finland is another country it is looking to take-off in.
Where the money is heading
On the investment front, Swingvy has raised $7m in a Series A round led by Samsung Ventures, with Aviva Ventures, Bass Investments, Walden International, and Big Basin Capital also grabbing a piece of the action. The all-in-one HR cloud-based platform is really making ground in Asia and it has acquired more than 5,000 companies since it launched in 2016, with revenues almost quadrupling over the last year.
MS&AD Ventures have led the way on a $6m Series A round of funding for WorldCover, a really exciting business that is taking on climate insurance for smallholder farmers in Africa. This latest round of funding is going to help it roll out its products in India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia as it looks to tap into a $163bn market.
Next up, Brightfox has raised $1.1m for its HR talent experience platform, with health insurer Oscar among the backers, and Spanish start-up Bdeo, a visual intelligence company, has raised $1m in funding from Big Sur Ventures and K Fund.
And finally, Tencent-backed Waterdrop is seeking new financing at a valuation of more than $1bn as it gears up to battle the much-better capitalised Jack Ma’s Ant Financial in the Chinese healthcare market. The funding is set to be spent on automating reimbursements and developing new blockchain technology, but they refused to say how much they were looking to raise.
Marie Kondo’ing your market scanning
We get it’s hard to track the companies you’ve met. Even harder tracking the companies your colleagues have met. Layer in the notes you took, they took, the insights you picked up from the event you rocked up to, the pitch deck they were sent etc etc. It gets messy, quickly.
Whether your tracking the market for investments, partnership opportunities or competition, the one thing I’m certain of when creating a list of startups you like/have met with/are in negotiations with…
EXCEL IS NOT YOUR ANSWER.
On that note, nor is Powerpoint, Google Sheets or Trello. Even if you and your global team do have a monthly call to check-in.
I don’t want to go too heavy into selling your Sønr, other than to say you should be using it.
Over the past few months we’ve been working hard to move it beyond a market scanning tool to incorporate a load of features that help you manage market scanning at an operational level.
If you want to see some of these, give us a shout. I’d be happy to run you through them.
Next week I’m up in Manchester to help out with the latest instalment of the Hackathon at the 2019 BIBA Conference on 15th and 16th May.
If you’re going to be at the conference, make sure you give me a shout and we can grab a coffee or a beer. We will also be giving free two-day access to Sønr for all those participating in the Hackathon – just one more reason to get involved!
Just one final thing before I sign off. Don’t forget to let me know if you are interested in our Tech Trends in China report coming out in the next couple of weeks and I can send over a copy.
Have a good one.
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 scanning and innovation consultancy to work with, we’re pretty excellent.
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.