Participants don’t get yelled at and made to do press ups, but the Startupbootcamp InsurTech accelerator programme is still tough going. That does nothing to deter young entrepreneurs from getting involved though. Nor should it – getting a start-up into market-ready shape is incredibly difficult and any team worth its salt accepts whatever help it can get.
Since early in 2014 Lloyds Banking Group formed a partnership with Startupbootcamp where our colleagues have the opportunity to be mentors or ‘Bankers in Residence’, working closely with the FinTech and InsurTech start-ups to build relationships and broker collaboration.
Sabine VanderLinden is Managing Director at Startupbootcamp InsurTech.
“Six months before the bootcamp I start scouting for participants, identifying as many 1,300 possible start-ups. Some of them are pure insurance concepts, others are broader FinTech propositions with the potential to work in the insurance market,” she says.
From that group, 250 applied for the latest bootcamp, and these 250 are really put under the microscope.
“We have set criteria that we use to select start-ups for the bootcamp,” VanderLinden continues.
“It starts with fundamental questions like whether the idea delivers a solution to an insurance problem and whether it is, in fact, more than an idea. Does it have real code supporting it, for instance?
“Then we want to see whether they meet some of the criteria for any successful business: is equity and reward structured properly? Is the team well-established and free from problematic tensions? Do they have clear goals and objectives? Do members of the team have direct experience of insurance?”
At this stage, 18 of the 250 applicants go forward to a selection day designed to whittle those 18 down to 10.
Selection days are tough for mentors and start-ups. The start-ups have to make repeated pitches; the mentors have to make tricky decisions.
This film gives you an idea of the atmosphere start-ups can expect on a selection day:
For the chosen 10, the accelerator programme is as intense as the selection day. Only it lasts for five months. Those five months are broken into three stages:
Shape – Intense, mentor-driven development of team, idea, solution, business model and development plan.
Build – Creating a product that solves customer’s problems.
Sell – Driving initial traction to gain early revenue and viral growth – mentors work with teams during the ‘Sell’ stage to improve customer development, sales, and marketing.
All three stages take place in the Rainmaking Loft, Startupbootcamp’s City of London HQ. Working for five months at the heart of London’s financial district puts the start-ups in the same neighbourhood as the corporate partners that support the bootcamp which include Admiral, Allianz and Lloyds Banking Group, among others.
The program culminates in Demo Day – an opportunity for the start-ups to present their fully-formed, market-ready products to leading investors.
‘Graduating’ from bootcamp makes you an alumnus, and that means ongoing support as your start-up stops being a start-up and starts growing.
So what sort of InsurTech startups have been through the bootcamp, what was the experience like, and what did it achieve for their businesses?
Buzzmove is a one of many success stories. It was founded in 2013 and is now the UK’s only price comparison and instant booking platform for all moving-related services. Its inventory system is of particular interest to the insurance industry – a clear, straightforward way of recording a home’s contents being the bedrock of an accurate premium.
Buzzmove’s co-founder Becky Downing says: “Startupbootcamp was a fantastic experience for the Buzzmove team. Not only did it help us develop Buzzmove into a robust, market-ready proposition, it also developed us as individuals. We finished more commercially astute, confident and inspired than we were when we started. It was intense and complex, but then nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”
Here are the essential details of Startupbootcamp’s Insuretech programme:
- Extensive mentorship from 100s entrepreneurs, investors, and partners
- Access to top markets in Europe, US and APAC
- The ability to test and refine propositions in a safe environment and learn to employ the techniques used by the most successful start-ups in the world
- Office located in walking distance from the Financial Square Mile
- 3+1 months of free office space
- €15k in cash per team
- €500k+ in partner services
- Exposure to 200+ Angels and VCs
- Invitation to Startupbootcamp’s global alumni network and growth program
In return, they ask for 6% equity. The terms and conditions of joining Startupbootcamp’s InsurTech programme are provided in their Memorandum of Understanding and Investment Agreement. If you, or someone you know has an insurance-related FinTech project, please get in touch with the team at [email protected]