Imburse is a Swiss-based startup that empowers companies to build a personal transactional relationship with customers while seamlessly integrating with existing IT systems. In an interview with us, Imburse’s CEO Oliver Werneyer talks about his experience with the InsurTech Hub Munich, what surprised him most when he and his co-founders launched the company and why Munich is a great place for InsurTech start-ups.
1. What exactly does your start-up do and what is special about your business model?
Imburse is a cloud-based “Transactions-as-a-service” platform that makes it easier for companies to transact. Companies who have integrated with Imburse can collect or pay out money in any market, any currency, via any technology with virtually any partner via a single integration. This very empowering solution allows our customers to easily enhance products and customer journeys, build personalized transactional relationships with their customers, achieve significant IT efficiencies by not needing separate integrations for every payment type and significantly simplify the reconciliation, settlement and reporting activities for finance and treasury departments. We are an “orchestrator” rather than a payment provider, which means we offer the special ability for you to leverage any payment partner and payment type to solve your business pain points, rather than just pick from a limited few.
2. Why did you choose the InsurTech Europe powered by Plug and Play Accelerator Program of the InsurTech Hub Munich?
Imburse is a Swiss company with traction in the Swiss market and we are looking to expand into Germany. An accelerator program like this one is a great opportunity to meet and engage companies with an entrepreneurial mind-set and work together to enhance the value to the customer.
3. What opportunities does Munich offer for start-ups?
This program is helping us understand exactly what opportunities Munich has to offer and I think there are a lot. What is clear is that our main target industries of insurance, retail, banking and development houses have a strong presence in Munich and the reputation of the ecosystem is great.
4. Where do you see yourself and your start-up in 5 years?
We see ourselves as a foundational building block for all things “transactions” for any company, ecosystem or platform. Our solution will be the “go-to” building block for anyone needing to do anything related to transaction. Our target industries are financial services, platform providers, retailers as well as development houses across Europe and North America.
5. What advice would you give to other founders?
Always focus on solving a pain point of customers. This is the ONLY thing companies end up paying for. This means you also need to be honest with yourself when engaging companies who might be excited about your product but if you are not solving a big pain point what is the longer term chance you will get paid for it? Be ruthless at focussing on opportunities you can convert and learn from.
6. What surprised you most when you founded your company?
It is easy to excite companies with your product, it is extremely difficult to get them to commit to building something with you, never mind paying for it. Coming from insurance industry I know how out-dated some of the technology and mind-sets are but it is frighteningly difficult and slow when you try operate as a startup and want to change things for the better. Large corporates actually resist change a lot and to get product owner or sponsor buy-in within corporates takes long and is painful.
7. What do you expect from German politics / the Munich region regarding start-up support?
I would argue that we expect them to create an environment that encourages and supports companies to try, experiment and build new solutions and drive value to end- customers while protecting the customer. Create an environment where this is encouraged and supported, not blocked and restricted. Maybe prioritise introductions between startups and companies as this is one of the biggest hurdles startups face in the early stages. Maybe as a government to also work more closely with startups and help them understand how they can help enable key initiatives and agendas. Working with them and then taking them into the wider market can then help startups also succeed in the wider market.