Wax or hairspray?

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India still grabbing the headlines
 
PolicyBazaar now joins the long list of Indian 'soonicorns', after the company’s latest investment round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank. Since being valued at $500M after raising a Series E last year, the latest $200M round completed this month should put the startup’s value at around the $1 billion mark.

PolicyBazaar is yet another digital insurer and price comparison site overhauling India’s nascent insurance market. It’s also SoftBank’s second big bet on the highly regulated insurance market, after joining Lemonade’s $120M Series C in December last year.
 
It’s worth noting that in India, online insurance agents have to adhere to a 49% cap on foreign direct investment by order of the sector regulator IRDAI, in an attempt to retain Indian management and control of home-grown innovation.

Revolut brings home the bacon for crowdfunders

Last week Revolut announced its largest investment round to date, with a Series C of $250M at a $1.7B valuation. The investment meant a big win for early crowdfunders who took part in Revolut’s previous rounds paired with crowdfunding platforms, and have seen their investment value rise handsomely.
Revolut’s new on-demand travel insurance proposition, announced back in January, is the startup’s second insurance offering, with personal device cover already offered. The service (featured in our hyper-personalisation trends report coming soon) uses geolocation to automate travel insurance coverage when users are away – pretty smart.

Revolut's latest insurance play looks to be 'micro-insurance by-the-day products’ offered in partnership with Athens-based digital-first insurer Hellas Direct.
 
Watch this space…
Listen: Work/life balance, Digital Darwinism, Insurtech 100 and haircare

Last week we managed to tie down Tom Goodwin, curator of the infamous and widely recycled ‘Uber – the largest taxi company, owns no vehicles…’ quote, for a 20-minute chat on the podcast.
 
Tom’s an old friend of Tällt and amongst other things, we took the opportunity to chat to him about his new book Digital Darwinism, how he juggles his many work commitments and his secret to outstanding hair maintenance.

This week – we sit down with Jonathan Swift, Content Director at the Insurance Post to discuss our Insurtech 100 index, what the big themes are, and where space still exists for further disruption.
To listen on iTunes click here.
To listen on pretty much anything else, here.

Google Home gaining on Alexa

Earlier this year, research from CIRP suggested Google Home was gaining on Amazon Alexa’s digital personal assistant market share, with discounts throughout the holiday season helping to propel Google to 40% of sales in the US over the 2017 Christmas period.
 
Now new research from Stone Temple also suggests Google’s young assistant is smarter than the out-of-touch Alexa and other voice-assistant competitors. The company reported higher levels of accuracy across a broad range of questions and requests.
 
'OK Google, what life insurance do I need?'

With both Progressive and life insurance startup Ladder teaming up with Google Home last year, we’re seeing more and more insurers using new user interfaces in an attempt to improve customer sales, engagement and retention.
 
As we see a steady influx of non-insurers dipping their toe into the insurance market (Amazon, Alibaba etc.), is it possible our choice of connected home ecosystem could come to define our choice of insurance?
 
Let's just say the partnerships insurers make with digital assistant providers today could prove to be crucial decisions down the line.

We love Demo Days
Not long now until Startupbootcamp’s Insurtech Demo Day on 17th May in London. The UK-based accelerator has had some impressive ventures pass through the programme in the past including Buzzmove, Covi Analytics & Laka.
 
Here’s two ventures we’re pretty excited to see this year…
In short:
ForestCar – renting your car out from the airport while you travel
Zasti – A deep learning platform to predict failure (hear our podcast with Founder Rami here)

Tickets still available at Eventbrite. See you there.

Read: Home inventory platforms – ‘a natural business case for blockchain technology’
 
This week we chatted with Becky Downing, Founder & CEO of buzzgroup - the UK-based tech startup centred around the home.
 
Over the past few years, Becky and her team have grown their online removals comparison platform buzzmove out into a range of services under the group umbrella. The company are now leveraging home contents data to provide tailored home insurance products via buzzvault
 
Becky was kind enough to walk us through the buzzgroup story to date, give some insight into their current focus, recommend another Insurtech altering the status quo and provide some experienced advice to other startups in the industry.

Read our conversation here.
That’s all for this week folks.

Have a great weekend!

Harry                         

HARRY CLARKE
Head of Research

+44 7961 684 878 
www.tallt.ventures

And the team behind Sønr.global
 
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