Erik Abrahamsson, Founder & CEO, explains the power of social media data in the insurance industry, the reasons for Digital Fineprint‘s success up until now, and how the end scene in ‘Top Gun’ is relatable …
[KAE] Tell us more about Digital Fineprint?
Digital Fineprint focuses solely on using social media data for the insurance industry. We think this niche is important enough to warrant our full and undivided attention. By using data from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WeChat and other social media networks we can, if the user agrees, recommend the right insurance policy and drive actionable insights for the insurers we partner with.
After launching in October 2016, we have won multiple awards and raised investment from Eos Venture Partners, grown the team to 8 full-time staff (all based in London) and reached our revenue milestones faster than our investors thought was possible. All this was only possible because of the laser-like focus the team has kept since day one.
[KAE] What have been the critical components for Digital Fineprint’s success up until now and what barriers have you encountered along the way?
We have always co-created our products, and worked closely with insurers such as Allianz, MetLife and Hiscox to find the right way of using the data we generate. It is often said that the biggest barrier to entry is the slow decision making process on behalf of banks and insurers, but we think that if the product and the team are good enough, it must be possible to break through.
One barrier we’ve encountered that is worth mentioning is Brexit. It is already much harder to attract great talent to come to the UK, and while we haven’t seen much impact on the fundraising landscape yet, there is a risk that the European Investment Fund (EIF) issues seen by some VC firms will ripple to future fundraising rounds. We need the softest possible Brexit there can be, along with guarantees for EU citizens (myself included!) to be allowed to stay and do business in the UK. Half the tech companies I’ve talked to already have backup plans to leave for Berlin or Stockholm.
[KAE] What other areas of Insurance/InsurTech do you feel are ripe for disruption and why?
Definitely life insurance, there have been many interesting start-ups in the property and casualty (P&C) space, but so far we have only seen a select few trying to innovate around life insurance. Let’s see what Ladder, Haven and Fabric will come up with as they launch!
We have also heard about “brokers being automated” for the last five years or so, but brokers are still around and will remain trusted business partners in the value chain for many years to come.
[KAE] Are there any common misconceptions held by peers, Financial Institutions and other industry stakeholders around InsurTech? Why do you think this is the case?
Most entrepreneurs tend to think that “insurers are slow and dumb, it should be easy to launch my own insurance brand”. Contrastingly, insurers are very, very, very good at what they’re doing, and the people we work with are absolutely phenomenal at driving innovation in a heavily regulated industry. So instead of going into direct competition with insurers, it’s much better to be an enabler of innovation and to create win-wins together with other industry participants.
[KAE] Outside of the InsurTech space, what would you call out as the key trend and/or technology that will be the most transformative this year?
We have heard a lot of hype around chatbots but have yet to see a truly great execution. Instead, I think the potential in image recognition and being able to drive meaningful insights from unstructured data will remain truly transformative.
[KAE] What is the one pearl of wisdom you would share with anyone starting their journey as a FinTech?
As an entrepreneur, you face massive amounts of rejection on a daily basis. And that’s okay. It’s all part of the learning journey, and you need to learn how to take rejection from investors, customers, team members and others in order to learn how to communicate your idea better. So the best advice I can give is to set up a good CRM – not to track your wins, but to put all your future rejections into a process so that you can learn from them. At the end of Top Gun, Tom Cruise’s commander (code-named Viper) has the following to say about learning from mistakes : “A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what’s happened, so he can apply what he’s learned”.
I can’t stress enough how much this applies to entrepreneurship! After all, we’re all “jumping off a cliff while trying to assemble a functional airplane on the way down” in the words of Reid Hoffman, so let’s all try to learn how to become great pilots!
About the Author:
Erik Abrahamsson is the founder and CEO of Digital Fineprint, the London-based analytics company that is helping insurers use social media. After winning “Best General Startup in the UK” and “Best FinTech in the UK”, the company went on to partner with Allianz, Hiscox and in January 2017 it was picked as one of the top 5 InsurTech companies worldwide for Accenture’s Innovation Lab. Financially, the company is backed by Eos Venture Partners, a VC-firm focused exclusively on InsurTech.
More about FinTech Vantage:
This post is part of the FinTech Vantage series by KAE that provides a fresh perspective and hears first-hand from various players across the FinTech ecosystem.
KAE will be posting a number of interviews with FinTechs that share their candid viewpoints and to really get under the skin of the FinTech world.
If you would like to share your views and participate in the FinTech Vantage series, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]