Maybe we are gun-shy? Big business has spent so much money on technology, often with an average outcome and very little return on investment. For small business, good tech solutions are often unaffordable, however, under-investing in this area means you never get to compete on the big stage.
In the last two years Envest has spent a significant amount of time and money investing in businesses that are embracing technology to drive a meaningful outcome – this might be a better customer experience or driving down the cost of doing business through efficiency. However, we need to be doing a lot more to get ahead and stay ahead. Leading into the Summit, we are going to challenge all our businesses to explore tech solutions. What are you doing with technology to better engage your customer, provide a better experience and ultimately a better product?
We have recently made our largest start-up investment into Precision Autonomy. Precision has built a platform to insure autonomous moving things in real time per second using dynamic pricing. The first product is drones and it has been an eye-opener as to how quickly this space is growing.
I was lucky enough to spend three hours with the Head of Risk US for Uber while in Austin, Texas, visiting the Precision HQ. At the meeting, the Uber gentleman told us that he believed Uber would be taxing people in Autonomous Uber Heli – Drones before autonomous cars were on the roads. At the time I thought it was some good Uber pot being smoked, but four months later Uber announce that Melbourne will be one of three places globally to trial the technology…. starting at the back end of 2020!
This is an excellent example of how fast things are moving and why we have just become the cornerstone investor in Insuretech Gateway Australia. The Gateway is an Insuretech Incubator that started in the UK three years ago with some early success. The idea is to help shape new Insurtech ideas and fast track product into market on a ‘pilot’ typically in 3-4 months. If the pilot is successful, the Gateway Partners put more significant capital into the business to get it fully launched and through the hockey stick. We have partnered locally with Simon O’Dell, former CEO of Insuretech Australia. This incubator allows Envest to get involved with a lot more start-ups than we typically would and hopefully assist in getting them through the pilot to become the next Precision Autonomy.
These two initiatives along with Blue Zebra (Blue Leopard platform) & Claim Central Technologies, means Envest is fully committed to a technology-enabled future. In the spirit of building out the Envest ecosystem, Blue Leopard will soon be powering three Envest underwriting agencies. This is exactly what we want to achieve by investing in tech start-ups – to help provide solutions for the ever-expanding Group.
There is a lot of buzz around Fintech, a lot of capital invested and valuations skyrocketing…. or stories sold but we will not get caught up in all of that. We are after long term sustainable tech solutions that ultimately give a better outcome for our customers and drive long term value for all stakeholders.
We will be doing a lot more work with all of you in identifying how we can embrace this thinking. Just as we expect Apple, Uber or Facebook to keep delivering in our personal lives, our customers will expect the same from us in business. The Summit will give us a great opportunity to look at this in detail and listen to some interesting stories and solutions that are being built, even in our own Envest Ecosystem…in the meantime – what are you doing?
Talk in a couple of months,