On this week's Spøtlight, we met up with Matt Miller, Founder & CEO of Embroker, a leading digital commercial insurance brokerage in San Francisco.
In our Q&A, we explore how his company are merging pioneering tech and data-led capabilities with industry expertise to reshape the way we perceive and purchase insurance.
- Hi Matt, could you tell us a little about yourself and what Embroker does?
- Sure, I’ll start with Embroker, which is the leading digital commercial insurance brokerage. We pair industry-leading technology and data capabilities with specialised expertise to help more than 2000 growing businesses find a better value on the right policies, save time, and get the support they need whenever they have a claim. Personally, before founding Embroker, I worked in private equity for Hellman & Friedman and Bain Capital, and, before that, did a stint in consulting with Bain & Company.
- Where did the idea for the startup come from and what makes it unique?
- Before founding Embroker, I was on the board of HUB international, one of the ten largest insurance brokers in the world. That experience made it clear to me just how much technology would transform this industry, and how much of that transformation has still yet to take place. Embroker is unique in several regards. We are the only InsurTech that focuses on larger businesses with more complex insurance needs. We are also one of the only companies building fully digital products in specialty insurance, such as management liability.
- What do you see as the most important qualities in a company’s team?
- Insatiable intellectual curiosity, a genuine love of solving hard problems, a formidable work ethic and a tendency not to take themselves too seriously.
- Is there a particular new venture within the insurance ecosystem who inspires you?
- I’m inspired by the sheer amount of activity, it’s amazing to see so many new ideas in such a traditionally stolid space.
- Can you tell us a bit more about your newly-launched digital Startup Program with partners, Munich Re?
Absolutely. We just launched the first insurance products that we’ve built from the ground up, and the first from a new partnership with Munich Re. The products we’ve launched are Directors & Officers, Employment Practices Liability, and Fiduciary liability. Our Startup program marks a first for the industry - the ability to buy complex, specialty coverages online and with instant underwriting. Not only is it faster, but we wrote the policies ourselves to offer market-leading coverage, and we are passing the cost savings from digitising the entire process onto our customers, so pricing is also excellent.
I believe this is the first time digital is transforming ‘real’ risk transfer insurance, and it’s not just an incremental improvement, it’s 10x better.
- Are you looking at forming any further partnerships in the near future?
- Definitely, we’re always looking for new partners whom can help us make insurance work better for businesses.
- Your last round of funding came as a $12.2m Series A in mid-2016. Do you have plans for another funding round soon? And, if so, what would you look to do with the financing?
- I’m not currently fundraising. Our business has done quite well on almost every metric, which means that I don’t yet need to. That said, I do expect we’ll raise another round over the next 6 to 9 months and will use it to further establish our leadership position in the space we’re in, as well as roll out a series of massively improved digital insurance products.
- If you had to give one piece of advice for aspiring startups looking to disrupt the insurance industry, what would it be?
- Warriors are not ballerinas. It’s something that my wife told me once when I was complaining about having a tough day. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough, but this is a hard, hard business. I would advise going into it only if you think you’re differentially suited to persevere above and beyond what almost anyone else people would choose to endure.
- Finally, what’s your favourite way to unwind?
- Well, given the proximity, I would say Burning Man, which starts next week. This will be my ninth consecutive year attending and I run a camp there with a number of my friends. It’s always an amazing experience. The depth of human ingenuity and imagination never ceases to amaze me.
Find out more about Embroker at www.embroker.com