Working with startups to accelerate change

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Hello all.

One day I promise to pull together a compilation of SoftBank’s epic slides.

With $9 billion loss from March 2019 to 2020, and its worst results in nearly 40 years, it produces this:

Better still, check this build:

working with startups
working with startups

That has made my week.

More brilliantly valuable content? For free?
Last month we published the results of our survey, exploring the changing strategic needs and challenges of the industry.

Off the back of that, and a bunch of conversations with clients, we’ve pulled together a paper on how working with startups can expedite your digital transformation agenda. And because we’re really nice guys, we’ve included a few tips on how to design your business to get the most from them.

Have a read and please feel free to share with your pals, ideally really publicly, like on LinkedIn: Accelerating digital transformation through external partnerships

The coming together of the corporate, startup, and big tech
As you can expect, there’s an absolute tonne of working with startups activity across the market at the moment.

To kick things off, in the world of Life, our friends at RGAX start working with one of the startups, Socotra, to develop new life insurance products with RGAX’s life insurance company, Greenhouse Life.

working with startups

Shift Technology and Snapsheet startups have joined forces to bring together Shift’s AI-fraud detection by working together and claims automation and Snapsheet’s claims management and virtual appraisal solution.

It takes a special kind of person to get excited about this kind of stuff and, well, I think that person might just be me. Two great companies and it’ll mean Snapsheet’s customers will benefit from pro-active notifications of fraudulent claims. Nice.

From transformation to innovation
Right, a couple of product launches we picked up this week. I’ve chosen a couple relating to the interesting times we find ourselves in and the need to get our digital houses in order.

AXA Partners has launched a new digital claims service, called Home Manager. I’m not sure I can go into this one too much. It’s basically everything you’d expect in 2020 – the ability to digitally manage a claim.

Yeah I know, but it does tie into the need to get that basic digital service provision out and in-market.

On a somewhat more innovative front, we’ve seen a number of brands supporting the value chain outside of just telehealth. In this case, AIG Life have expanded their Smart Health product (okay, it does include telehealth support) to provide prescription delivery to all 1.2 million customers.

A busy couple of weeks for UK tech
On the investment side, still plenty of activity to report on. ­

Let’s start in the US – Silicon Valley’s cybersecurity Insurtech Coalition has raised a $90m Series C after reporting 600% customer growth.

In Europe, Dutch based Slimmer AI have pocketed €4m to accelerate development of their anti-money laundering, fraud and credit risk software. And Sweden’s Omocom has raised €3.7m to provide on-demand insurance for the circular economy.

working with startups

A littler further afield and South Africa’s CompariSure, an independent, chatbot-led life insurance comparison platform, has picked up an undisclosed sum with the ambition to expand outside of SA. Check them out. I still can’t work out whether I’m a fan or not.

And a fair bit of activity in the UK this week.

It seems a good time to have a cyber-related business at the mo, with Envelop Risk landing a $6m Series A. They offer a bespoke underwriting solution for the global cyber reinsurance market and are now set on building their global footprint.

Keeping with Series A, Clyde, which offers product protection plans for e-commerce companies – think Stripe or Affirm but for insurance – picked up a $14m round.

The standout for me is they have an 18% average attachment rate. That means nearly 1 in 5 people that go through a Clyde-powered purchasing path end up purchasing extended warranties or protection plans. Not bad, huh?

A couple more. At a slightly earlier stage Urban Jungle, the buildings, content and tenant-liability insurer raised $3.3m. And with the global shift to getting on our bikes, it’s a good time for Bikmo, the cycle insurer, who picked up £1.8 million.

working with startups

Well done UK Insurtech.

All that said my favourite bit of news this week was Eos Venture Partners closing its Strategic InsurTech Fund, with $85m under management. Huge. Also great to see Tokio Marine and Direct Line Group getting involved in that. Congrats to Carl, Sam and the team over at Eos.

On the health front, it looks like Induction Healthcare Group is set to acquire patient engagement platform Zesty. It’s currently in the shareholder approval phase. In a deal expected to be just shy of £13 million, the acquisition will build on the digital connection of Induction’s clinical teams and patients.

Last bit of news – Legal & General has been selected by UK Research & Innovation to deploy £6m of grant funding. With a focus on healthtechs that help seniors remain healthy and physically active, L&G have committed to top up the grant with £6 million of its own capital, and plans to deploy £24m over the next five years.

It’s all about the copy
Hopefully, the next time you hear from me I’ll be sharing a link to our new website. Part of our transition away from the Tällt Ventures over to Sønr.

It’s been hard graft building the business over the past few years but loving the traction Sønr’s getting in the market and the opportunity to work with so many new clients around the world.

working with startups

And what comes with launching a new website is plenty of copy writing and proofing.

What made me smile this week, whilst deep in proofing mode, was receiving this email from CB Insights (probably the closest to a competitor we have):

working with startups

You know what though, it happens. I respect those guys way too much to know it’s anything but a random blip. Plus you should subscribe to their newsletter – it’s properly good.

On that note, our new website will include a competitor matrix. We’ve had a number of clients shift over from CB Insights recently and I realise we need to be a little more bold in our comms around what we’ve built in Sønr.

Clue: one of us is designed specifically for insurance companies, tracks innovation globally and has a suite of collaboration tools perfect for transformation and innovation teams. The other doesn’t.

If you literally cannot wait, get in touch and I’ll send over the matrix ahead of time.

Right, enough. I hope wherever in the world you are, you’re happy, healthy and doing okay. Shout if you ever want to chat, trial Sønr, shoot the breeze or adopt my dog – I think him and I might need to get some relationship counselling at the end of this lockdown.

Have a good one.


SøNws is brought to you by Sønr.

Sønr is a world-leading market intelligence platform created specifically for the insurance sector. It is used by small and large insurance companies, around the world, to accelerate transformation and innovation.

It provides intelligence on market trends, competitor playbooks and disruptive tech companies globally. It also has a number of features that help you track and manage scouting activity across your organisation.




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