Starting up in InsurTech?
Returning to being an Operator, exiting stealth mode - an insiders perspective on how D2C InsurTechs begin their life.
Hello folks, today’s post is slightly different - some of you may know I have transitioned into a new phase of life - as the Founder of BimaPe. Rather than promoting BimaPe, I’ll be sharing some of our lessons from searching for Market-Product Fit.
Most consumer FinTechs use the “GEM” (Grow, Engage, Monetize) framework. In D2C InsurTech (and at BimaPe), I advocate for a different kind of “GEM” (Garner Trust, Empower with tools, Motivate an informed purchase)..
At BimaPe, we’re still at the “Garner Trust” phase of our journey; so, how have we tried to garner trust?
Lesson #1 - Garner Trust (in non-scaleable ways)
“Do things that don’t scale” - Paul Graham, Founder of YCombinator
Be vocal, be explicit and take a stance: At BimaPe, we repeatedly emphasize “we are NOT in the business of selling insurance, we are in the business of helping you make an informed insurance purchase.” Our DMs on LinkedIn & Twitter reveal that this has been noticed by folks.
Create cheerleaders: In 3 months, our team has spoken with ~320+ individuals conveying BimaPe’s mission of “simplifying insurance” and hearing our their queries.
An average “cheerleader” we speak with introduces us to 1.4 more “cheerleaders”.
We’ve responded to 127 comments and DMs regarding specific insurance questions in 14 days of exiting stealth mode.
Fortress balance sheet: I think it’s fairly obvious looking at our team below that we are venture backed. Insurance requires customer trust; financial stability induces customer trust!
For context, 45% of website views go to the “About Us” page - sell your story, array your team and impress the customer!
Proof of Authority & Likeness: Humans tend to find solace in ‘numbers’ or in the ‘shadow’ of authority . A quick look at our website reveals:
BimaPe is registered with the Government of India under ‘Startup India’
BimaPe is reviewed by 10+ highly regarded folks in the Indian Tech community.
“To give, is to get”: BimaPe’s 1st feature is a public awareness tool called “Know Your Card”. Requires no personal information but shows you the hidden insurance benefits on your card! We got 1,000 sign-ups on D1 and +25 organic sign-ups per day.
In short, trust is a prerequisite to building any (insurance) business. Capital, clout and confidence can speed up everything except for trust building.
Lesson #2 - Leverage social graphs
The roots of insurance lie in community-based risk sharing. Isn’t it odd that no Technology companies are looking to leverage communities to grow an insurance business? - BimaPe’s odd distribution thesis.
Imagine getting 1,500+ ‘qualified’ sign-ups WITHOUT spending marketing $$ -
Assuming you’ve done the ‘create cheerleaders’ right, you will find strong Word of Mouth spread of your product (for a limited time)…
Our W1 (Week #1) traction was fully driven by Twitter and LinkedIn post(s) by our team. And, even now (D14 i.e. Day #14), we continue to acquire users via these posts or via Word of Mouth..
Startup_Success = function (Product, Distribution) - don’t ignore distribution by saying “we’re pre-product” (BimaPe doesn’t have a product, or at least, not in the public domain!)
Lesson #3 - Experiment!
“What is the one-line description of the problem you’re solving? Do users seek a solution so badly that they will find your product?” - A question from one of our investors
As a Pre-Market Product Fit company, we’re at the “experiment” stage of the journey. For anyone with a STEM degree, experimentation consists of the following steps:
Form a hypothesis
Create a test; set a benchmark “success” metric
Document (1) & (2)
Run the test in (2)
At BimaPe, we have ~15 hypothesis (actively testing 5); template below:
Experimentation ties in with being open-minded. We initially began posting a daily Insurance snapshot summary on LinkedIn (& found incredible traction; as below):
So, we asked - if we have Feature-Market fit (and, Feature-Market-Channel fit) on LinkedIn for this snapshot.. Why not try this on WhatsApp? At the time of writing (13.11), we have ~450 sign-ups to the WhatsApp mailer in <7 days!
We’re running a few more experiments that I cannot comment on. Just a heads up, the same “test” can help you test multiple hypothesis.
The 0 to 1 phase of start-up building is probably the most exciting! It is also the busiest part of the journey - several of us at BimaPe are doing ~100+ hour work weeks! Apologies for being very slow with posts on InsurTech Tribe.
If you’d like me to post more frequently about building a D2C InsurTech start-up, I’d be happy to do so! And, I look forward to your thoughts, comments & feedback…
Want to explore any of our experiments live?
Want to work at an InsurTech in India?
- We're hiring for a growth PM. Exciting role where you'll be owning our key growth metrics (Visitors > Signups > Onboarding > Engagement > Churn) If you know someone great, please recommend them! angel.co/company/nova-b…
That is all from me folks! Until next time!