They had eight weeks to meet with and learn from industry mentors, experienced founders and investors: as the ten participating teams of InsurTech Hub Munich’s fourth W1 Forward accelerator program pitched on Demo Day, the insurance industry listened attentively.
Eight weeks can make a huge difference”: this short remark from item management tool, Melloon founder, Julian May sums up what he and nine other startup teams from all around the world experienced during InsurTech Hub Munich’s (ITHM) W1 Forward Accelerator. Having prevailed over 150 other applicants for the program, they worked at ITHM’s facilities in Werk1, the most startup-friendly place in Munich, for two months and met with coaches, mentors and investors from both the insurance and the startup world.
“An invitation to think anew”
Demo Day on July 10, 2019, provided the ten startups with the occasion to prove their concepts. More than 300 guests from ITHM’s corporate partners, industry representatives, investors, academia and government agencies joined the event at the European offices of Silicon Valley innovation platform Plug and Play Tech Center in Munich. “Not knowing the answer to everything that’s going to happen in the near future isn’t a problem. It’s an invitation to think anew, be more playful and open to failure”, is how keynote speaker Dirk von Gehlen (Head of Innovation & Social Media at ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’) described both the current situation of the industry facing digital change and ITHM’s mission as a facilitator.
Extensive pitch training was one of the essential features of the accelerator program – and, as attendees acknowledged, it paid off: all ten startups (see below for more info) succeeded perfectly in delivering fresh ideas for the industry, numerous of them even scoring cooperations with ITHM’s corporate partners. Münchener Verein CEO Dr. Martin Zsohar and Digital Transformation Ambassador Marcus Kaiser were not only honoured with the ‘Most Valuable Partner’ Award for their outstanding commitment in the program, they also announced on stage that they are very close to a POC (proof of concept) with participating startup Konfuzio. It’s not just about the ideas, it’s about the people involved, as explained the two Demo Day hosts, Ben Shaw, Director Programs and Strategy at ITHM and Corine Ackermann, Community and Events Manager.
ITHM Managing Director Manuel Holzhauer publicised four new ITHM partnerships with American insurance corporation Markel, German financial services group Wüstenrot & Württembergische Group, IT services company NTT Data from Japan and the Dutch Association of Insurers. An ever-growing ecosystem on its way to meet the standards set by panel discussion participant strategic advisor and former Allianz manager Monica Aguilar Pariente: “We need more cross-industry solutions that link ecosystems like insurance, mobility or health – all of which are strongly represented in Munich”. Or, as Marcus Kaiser wrapped it up: “The startups’ ideas remind us that there is a world outside our office windows and that we have to provide solutions for the problems of the people living out there.”
About the participants of W1 Forward Insurtech Accelerator Batch 4
These are the ten startups that were chosen out of more than 150 applicants for the fourth edition of W1 Forward InsurTech Accelerator (links to their websites):
All pictures can be found here.
Text: Markus Walter