InsurTech Demo Day 2018 Recap: Converge, Achieving Solutions for Real Business Problems

InsurTech Demo Day 2018 Recap: Converge, Achieving Solutions for Real Business Problems

13-Jun-2018 by Kristin Bell

Last year, we started scouting the world for our 2018 cohort. We received over 1,000 applications to our program, and underwent a rigorous selection process in collaboration with our insurance partners to choose a group of startups with the potential to change the insurance industry for the better. On 17 May at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London, ten InsurTech startups explained how they’re changing insurance to a room of over 550 people and an additional 800 delegates on live stream, including insurers, investors, mentors, and the insurance technology community.

Watch our Aftermovie, summarizing the day, here:


The theme of the day was “Converge”, highlighting how the insurance industry has reached a point of convergence. Insurers are moving from surface experimentation to impact-driven collaboration with startups to achieve solutions for real business problems. Insurers are looking to co-create solutions that improve relationships with their customers, enhance their internal processes, and make insurance a more seamless and transparent experience. As a result of this co-creation, partnerships between incumbents and startups are growing, including some with our Startupbootcamp InsurTech alumni.

The afternoon began with guests arriving and being greeted with music from the all-female electric string trio, Trinity Trio, who charmed us with their classical take on modern pop songs. It was a great way to warmly welcome delegates and get them excited for the rest of the day’s activities. Attendees mingled and tapped their feet while the startups warmed up before their time in the limelight.

First on stage was Mike Brockman, CEO ThingCo, with a talk to inspire fellow entrepreneurs in their InsurTech journeys, saying: “You’re all unique. You have to realize that very few people in this world…have the guts, the vision, the mindset, the appetite to take risk, the courage and ingenuity to actually set up a new business. And without people like us, I have absolutely no doubt the world would come to a standstill, and particularly the insurance industry.

“One of the critical points to building an InsurTech startup is to focus. You may have a solid business idea, but it is easy to get distracted along the way and feel the pressure of the rejection and setbacks you’ll inevitably face.”

Following Mike Brockman, Tshidi Hagan, Startupbootcamp InsurTech London Program Director, took the stage. Tshidi began by highlighting how, over the past three years, Startupbootcamp has built a global Program matching the interests of insurance partners whose headquarters span four continents and startups originating from three continents. Further, she explained Startupbootcamp’s critical role in supporting the creation and refinement of sustainable insurance business models.

Tshidi then commented on how the insurance landscape has “shifted away from superficial experimentation towards collaborative problem solving, noting eight recent partnerships between insurers and startups”. She added that these partnerships demonstrate an increasing trend in which “insurers are partnering startups to co-create solutions that improve customer relationships, enhance business processes and deliver a seamless and transparent insurance experience.”

Tshidi then explained the significant level of preparation invested in getting the startups ready for Demo Day and their future relationships with insurance providers: “each startup received at least 140 hours of specialised resources and services targeted at helping them shape solutions that fit the needs of the insurance industry.” She further positioned the entrepreneurs’ ongoing needs in order to ensure their sustainability and encouraged the audience to use the event to establish the specific ways in which they could support the startups.

Finally, the moment arrived for the startups to step on stage.

“It was extremely gratifying to be involved in the SBC InsurTech Demo Day. Likewise, it was very satisfying to see how far many of the teams have come in such a short space of time. The exploration of new and innovative technology won’t always bear fruit straight away but I’ve loved watching these teams dig deep, really challenge their own ideas so they could re-focus their attention on where the true value really lay. Innovation in action.

– Mark Budd, Head of Innovation, UK Operations, Zurich UK

After preparing to go on stage with multi-talented pitch coach and storyteller, Jennifer Rosen, the startups’ big debut began. Walking on stage during the first half were five startups: CyStellar, vHealth Lab, Polywizz, Flowenum, and Zeguro (click on the links to view videos of their Demo Day pitches). The second half consisted of ForestCar, ZASTI, PicUp, vDEXI, and Deemly. For a quick snapshot into what each of the startups is doing, scroll to the bottom of this article, or read our Advisor in Residence from PwC, Victoria Newton’s article here. Each startup announced exciting news as a result of their three months of acceleration and hard work, including partnerships with major insurers, secured pilots, and investment.

“I found SBC to be a very well organized day, seemingly running without a single hitch. I also appreciated the balance of pitch and networking time; at events such as these it can be easy to get ‘burn out’ from multiple lengthy pitches, but the short presentations and ample time to talk to the start-ups after was ideal. I found this schedule and structure designed to promote networking to be a the highlight of the day; having enough time to talk to the startups allowed us to discuss issues pertinent to our business, rather than rely solely on a pitch aimed at a broad audience.”

– Dr. David Crole, Partnerships & Innovation Associate, Admiral Group

Now officially Startupbootcamp InsurTech alumni, these ten teams will focus their efforts on continuing to secure pilots with corporates and finalize fundraising rounds as well as partnership agreements, in addition to being invited to speak at various FinTech, InsurTech, and innovation conferences all around the world – solidifying themselves as the voices of change coming to the insurance market, to financial services in general, and to adjacent industries, such as AgriTech, PropTech and MedTech. Insurance is changing, and it’s not the only industry being shaped by digitalization and emerging technology.

“Demo Day was energetic, eclectic and inspirational. The quality of the pitches was remarkable and it was great to see how the Program has helped each startup articulate their “Why” and show how they can add value to the industry. The partnership announcement between Old Mutual and PicUp was the most exciting but I am also looking forward to the new Startupbootcamp InsurTech London program launching in H2 2018.”

– Stanley Gabriel, Head of Innovation: Personal Finance, Old Mutual

Colab InsurTech

Following the Demo Day pitches, Sabine VanderLinden, CEO InsurTech Business, Startupbootcamp & Rainmaking, reiterated the impact Startupbootcamp InsurTech has made over the last three years:

Watch our impact video here:


She also addressed the need for something new within the London insurance market. Mature markets, like London, are experiencing accelerator fatigue, particularly as not all of them can deliver straight forward KPIs. Insurers want to work with engaging startups to have access to commercial pilots and understand how to ensure their company is innovation-ready, while identifying the most unique optimization tools. They are moving from deploying incremental innovation to identifying the levers to really achieve disruptive innovation. They know that they must shift from meer process improvement to reconfiguring their business models.

With that, came the announcement of the launch of Colab InsurTech — a new engagement model designed for fast-evolving markets and changing businesses. It provides established industry players early access to relevant growth stage companies. Through a theme-based innovation program, Colab equips corporates in markets like London with the capability and experience to create engagement and solve real business problems. Our Colab FinTech programs are already making a difference in London and New York. Learn more:



Before the day concluded, Sabine made another exciting announcement. On 11 June, Wiley in partnership with FINTECH Circle announced the publication of The INSURTECH Book, following the 2016 publication of best-selling title, The FINTECH Book. The book has already sold over 1,300 copies and is a best seller on Amazon, with a second place standing. Sabine VanderLinden, is one of the editors (of the all-female editorial team) of the book, which is a ground-breaking guide to the disruptions, innovations and opportunities that technology affords the insurance sector. Presenting the insights, current thinking and actionable strategies from 75 international topic-expert contributors, it explains why traditional ways of doing business will soon become irrelevant and offers a guide to thriving in the digital revolution. It is already listed as an Amazon Best Seller, and is available here.

With so many exciting InsurTech initiatives, the future of the insurance industry looks bright. As Demo Day 2018 came to an end, attendees walked away with impressions of the exciting and innovative changes to come. We are so proud of the 10 startups and will continue to provide updates of their journeys.

When asked about the value of their partnership with Startupbootcamp InsurTech and highlights of Demo Day, here is what our corporate partners had to say:

“As always SBC InsurTech attracted an eclectic mix of startups across different insurance domains and industry segments. We collaborated with a number of these through the Program which has brought new and innovative perspectives to help us make our propositions more customer centric and help us become more efficient and effective.”

– Antony Elliott, Group Head of Business Transformation, Zurich

More words from our corporate partners:

“Luckily I had the opportunity to attend Startupbootcamp’s Demo Day and personally engage with the different teams. I’ve seen many inspiring and innovative startups addressing challenges across all lines of insurance business. I found it particularly interesting how some of the proposed solutions have been able to turn a regulatory constraint (e.g. GDPR) into an enabler for a business opportunity.”

– Lorenzo Cordin, Innovation and New Business Solutions, UnipolSai


“It was extremely gratifying to be involved in the SBC InsurTech Demo Day. Likewise, it was very satisfying to see how far many of the teams have come in such a short space of time. The exploration of new and innovative technology won’t always bear fruit straight away but I’ve loved watching these teams dig deep, really challenge their own ideas so they could re-focus their attention on where the true value really lay. Innovation in action.

It has also been very rewarding for Zurich’s Innovation Foundry team to work so closely with Flowenum. Helping them evolve their product, helping them form strong working relationships and assisting them with the testing of the products in a live environment with our customers really shed light on where the hard work needed to go. Exposure to teams like Flowenum means exposure to other ways of thinking – and therefore better innovation.”

– Mark Budd, Head of Innovation, UK Operations, Zurich UK


“Collaborating with startups is a hugely enriching experience. XL Catlin mentors have been able to share their expertise and have learned a great deal about the startup ecosystem, new industry solutions and how to solve problems in an innovative way. We were also able to showcase the Startupbootcamp startups at an internal event where many of our colleagues were able to listen to the pitches and similarly learn about InsurTech.”

– Helene Stanway, Digital Leader, XL Catlin


“Startupbootcamp InsurTech Accelerator 2018 was outstanding. A wide variety of talent that brought new ideas and enthusiasm into the insurance industry. XL Catlin fully engaged and many colleagues have had their eyes opened to the possibilities of technology-enabled insurance as well as sharing their expertise with the start-ups through the programme. The relationship between incumbents and start-ups grows stronger every day due to the excellent work from Startupbootcamp. We really are innovating the market.”

– Bobbie Mansfield, Change Manager, XL Catlin


“As a firm, we have really enjoyed working with and sponsoring Startupbootcamp for the last three years to foster disruptive and collaborative insurance innovation from early stage startups. Our annual survey of Insurance CEOs continues to emphasise that this industry is more liable for disruption than any other.

It has been fantastic each year to help select the ten most promising insurance technology startups from around the world and help them grow. Our teams enjoy spending time with highly energised, entrepreneurial teams, both throughout the Program as well as the Demo Days.

It has been informative watching the InsurTech landscape evolve, from initially trying to disrupt the current value chain, take ownership of customers, and compete with incumbents to now supporting existing insurers to improve a specific part of their value chain. Insurers have also changed how they work with startups and are now investing heavily, taking some control of the direction that InsurTech is going in.”

– Jim Bichard, UK Partner, PwC


To see more pictures from Demo Day, visit our Flickr here.

You can follow Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s journey on Twitter here.

To connect with and learn more about the startups of Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s 2018 cohort, use the links added below.


Our Startups

CyStellar, from Sweden, through its cloud-based big-data analytics platform, CyStellar improves data driven decision making, predictive and prescriptive analytics for the insurance, agriculture and logistics sector. On top of its platform, and by exploiting the power of satellite imagery, IoT, big-data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, CyStellar layers several domain specific decision support tools and provides dedicated InsurTech, AgTech and FoodTech solutions.

Deemly, from Denmark, is a reputation and social verification software platform that supports online communities and sharing economy businesses to achieve three key objectives: increase trust between their users, encourage higher activity on their marketplaces and ultimately generate more revenue.

Flowenum, from Finland, is the first of its kind incident prediction and prevention platform for commercial real estate owners and insurers. We combine data collected from sensors with incident history data, to enable insurers to assess the risk profile of commercial properties and perform more accurate underwriting and claims validation processes and to provide real estate owners with incident prediction and prevention tools to improve maintenance productivity.

ForestCar, from the UK, offers car owners free airport parking in exchange for renting out their vehicles while they’re away. They donate a share of their income to plant trees, and their mission is to eliminate the need for dedicated rental cars and help restore global rain forests.

PicUp, from Israel, is an AI-based visualization, optimization and personalization platform for phone calls. PicUP’s unique patented technology enables organizations to improve their customer service over the phone and increase sales by adding a personalized digital layer, and connecting digital channels to the phone call interface of their recipients. Customers can see who’s calling them and why, answer or differ the call to another time, and even view and sign forms while on the call, without the need to install any new app.

Polywizz, from Israel, uses AI to analyze a client’s entire insurance portfolio, then cross-analyzes it with the information the carrier has on the customer to determine when a customer is over/under insured, giving the insurance agent/broker a better tool to cross-sell to existing customers.

vDEXI, from Sweden, has developed a Vehicle Data Exchange Concept designed to enable vehicle manufacturers (“OEMs”) to provide connected vehicle data to a diverse range of Data Consumers including insurers, financiers, vehicle dealerships, vehicle repair garages, etc. This exchange allows OEMs to share and monetize their connected car data in a secure and compliant manner while allowing Data Consumers the ability to leverage the data to design more suitable products and services for the end consumer.

vHealth Lab, from Croatia, supports cardiovascular patients to better manage their health. Their AI-powered platform, combined with remote ECG devices and a mobile app for consumers, allows for real-time medical diagnostics and monitoring, supporting patients to make better healthcare decisions.

ZASTI ©, is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology platform that helps insurance companies and their clients in predicting risks and improving efficiency. The technology platform is built using proprietary Deep Learning (DL) algorithms to provide predictive and diagnostic solutions. ZASTI analyses existing data (Eg: Fire claims), identifies anomalies (Eg: Machine Breakdown) and recurring usage patterns (Eg: Risk Profiles), and then delivers highly accurate predictions and diagnosis through vertically tuned algorithms.

Zeguro, from the United States, provides tailored cyber insurance and a virtual cybersecurity officer for small to mid-sized enterprises. Zeguro’s holistic and automated platform enables easy risk assessment, mitigation, and insurance. Zeguro’s unique approach enables them to overcome the challenges that brokers and carriers face with distribution and pricing.


Kristin Bell

Global Head of Marketing, InsurTech
Startupbootcamp InsurTech and Hartford InsurTech Hub