Insurtalk with Kamet’s Stéphane Guinet: How to get your insurtech noticed by VCs
As seen in Insurtech Insights
By Matt Kenyon
In 2020, we saw record insurtech funding of $7.2bn (£5.1bn), with $2.1bn (£1.49bn) in Q4 alone. This record was promptly smashed in Q1 of this year – $2.55bn (£1.8bn) has been directed into emergent insurtechs, and current estimates suggest Q2 could well be even higher.
In this booming market, it can often feel as if money is flowing indiscriminately around the industry. However, the truth is that even in times of boom VCs are as selective as ever about who they choose for funding and partnerships.
Guinet describes Kamet as a “venture inventor” and their portfolio includes high profile insurtech names such as Anorak and nSure.ai, as well as various medtech players from Ibex to Padoa. Before launching Kamet, Guinet was CEO of AXA Global Direct.
We discussed what makes a pitch stand out to VCs – and how do you make these ideas into reality?
Know the market – and the problems you’re trying to solve
We are seeing particularly favourable market conditions, and Guinet adds that European governments can be given credit for promoting this. He says, “I have been pleasantly surprised at the steps European policymakers have been taking to put in place a series of new laws and initiatives to help foster innovation and to encourage more investment into European start-ups.”
Yet, any company needs to prove why it deserves to exist. For Kamet, a crucial first step to evaluating a firm is in identifying a genuine market gap. The crucial balance is in identifying an ambitious solution to an untapped need, with an idea that is still technically feasible.
“Is the proposed solution disruptive, but also technically feasible?” Stéphane Guinet
For Kamet, the health space offers huge opportunities. The last year has seen a boom in telemedicine as in-person health check-ups have often been impractical. Guinet sees huge potential in fully integrated healthcare ecosystems – when telemedicine solutions can be more tightly integrated into insurance solutions.
As we see players in this market increasingly collaborate, individual purpose is important to ensure that each link in this chain makes its own value proposition clear.
Build a great team, and keep it great as you scale
Kamet views the quality of co-founders and the chemistry of a team as a key indicator of a startup’s prospects. The core team needs to attract great talent who can form the founding team – for Guinet this stage is a crucial point to step in, as Kamet believes that it is crucial for a team to love the business proposition and believe in the company.
A strong team is crucial for creating a critical mass of talent to demonstrate self-confidence in vision and the ability to attract further great talent.
“A passionate and motivated team is undoubtedly the key ingredient needed for a startup to be successful”Stéphane Guinet
This is an incredibly competitive space, with two million people employed in the European startup sector. Guinet believes that the strongest products are underpinned by teams that combine diverse talents with unified vision – these are the teams that can truly cut through to the public.
Know your customer – and know your clients
As the insurtech boom persists throughout 2021 and into 2022, individual insurance disruptors are particularly vulnerable to being undercut. The health insurance sector has traditionally struggled with customer retention.
The best of the new generation of emergent insurers will shield themselves from this cutthroat digital environment will be those that promote genuine customer loyalty. Guinet says that “if a consumer loves the service they are receiving and enjoys the user experience of the insurtech they are already subscribed to, I think the amount of churn would decrease significantly.”
As low-touch, low-engagement products shift to dynamic and digital-first experiences, the emphasis on great customer experience is increasing.
A similar principle should apply in B2B environments – in an insurance ecosystem that increasingly relies on partnerships, vendor relationships are crucial. Insurers should maintain strong relationships with key business partners, such as brokers and IFAs.
Ultimately, what unites the key pillars of an appealing startup is focus. Unity of purpose in terms of products, employees and external communications is vital in projecting confidence.
Matt Kenyon is a content producer at Insurtech Insights.