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New competition to boost Israel insurance tech scene

Groundbreaking InsurTech startups wooed with $1m investment, exposure to market leaders

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Launch of InsurTech competition in Tel Aviv (Courtesy: Dror Sithakol)
Launch of InsurTech competition in Tel Aviv (Courtesy: Dror Sithakol)

VC fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) together with AXA Strategic Ventures, a venture capital platform backed by AXA, one of the leading insurance companies in the world, and Kamet, the startup incubator of AXA dedicated to disruptive innovation, announced on Tuesday the launch of a competition for Israeli startups dealing with insurance technologies.

The InsurTech Israel Competition, a first-of-its-kind in Israel, aims to “identify, build and lead the next wave of groundbreaking companies in the field of InsurTech” for the changing insurance world, the companies said in a statement.

The competition is being led by JVP, AXA Strategic Ventures and Kamet, in collaboration with Deloitte, pricing platform Earnix, attorneys Herzog Fox & Neeman and Israel’s Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization that promotes Israeli startups.

The competition is open to early-stage startups with insurance-related technologies in the fields of big data and analytics, risk management, customer engagement/management, IOT & wearables, blockchain, cybersecurity and health.

There are currently around 130 InsurTech startups worldwide, which have raised a collective of $3.5 billion from VCs, investors, insurance carriers, and re-insurers, the data show. Two-thirds of all InsurTech companies are located in the US, and 27 percent in the EMEA region. Israel has a few dozen active companies in the field.Investment in technologies for insurance companies — an industry that has lagged behind other financial institutions in terms of technologies — has taken off in the past two years. Net premiums in the global insurance industry make it a $4.8 trillion market, according to data provided by Deloitte Israel. In 2015, $1.4 billion was invested in InsurTech companies globally. In the first quarter of 2016, a record breaking 45 new deals were inked, worth a total of $650 million. Sixty-four percent of the world largest insurers have invested either directly or indirectly in InsurTech.

The winner will be added to JVP’s early-stage portfolio with a $1 million investment and get access to the AXA Insurance Group, including a potential investment from AXA Strategic Ventures. Kamet ventures, AXA’s early-stage arm, will offer the winning entrepreneurs the possibility to join their program. The competition also gives the Israeli startups the opportunity to gain exposure to market leaders, connect with potential investors, secure design partners and open potential marketing channels, the organizers said.

Companies entering the competition must have a groundbreaking idea, unique innovative technology, a validated market need and relevant solution approach, a competitive advantage in their field, an experienced, talented team, the ability to develop a minimum viable product within 12 months, and no more than $ million in previous investments.

“The insurance industry is ripe for disruption through the introduction of new technologies and innovative business models,” said Gadi Tirosh, managing partner at JVP. “Our strategic partnership with a global player like AXA will give Israeli startups the opportunity to validate their innovative products in dialog with incumbent industry leaders.”

Deadline for submission is February 3, 2017. Following a selection process, eight to ten startups will be chosen to advance to the finals. The winner of the competition will be announced during February 2017.

“At AXA Strategic Ventures, we are investing in startups with a relevant technology that will transform insurance and asset-management. Israel is in this respect a promising innovation ecosystem and we are convinced that with this competition, we will be able to identify and work closely with talented entrepreneurs that will reinvent the future of our industry,” said Francois Robinet, managing partner at AXA Strategic Ventures.

Established in 1993, Jerusalem Venture Partners, an Israel-based VC fund, has raised over $1 billion to date and has been ranked as one of the top-ten consistently performing VC firms in the world. JVP’s investment focus includes cybersecurity, big data, enterprise software, storage, mobile, media, fintech and IoT.

AXA Strategic Ventures (ASV) is the venture capital platform backed by AXA, the leading global insurer and asset manager. ASV manages $260 million and can invest up to $17 million equity across both early and growth stages. ASV invests in technologies relevant to the insurance and asset management industries such as enterprise software and fintech as well as consumer technologies. With teams in San Francisco, New York, London and Paris, ASV has invested so far in 24 early-stage startups.

 

 

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