Helena Kazi is the CEO and founder of GIGANOMICS - a new insurtech startup that is building hyper personalised products for Gig economy businesses. GIGANOMICS is at the seed-funding stage and is her fourth start-up/company. A fan of all things fintech, she's been working in venture capital and private equity since 2015. Kazi's most recent client was within pensions industry, and she is a passionate advocate of unloved areas of the financial services industry such as pensions and insurance. We caught up with her to find out why she has launched an insurtech at this time - and one that concentrates on the freelance worker market.
Q: Tell us about your start up? Why did you choose this particular sector?
The Gig economy is super-fast growing and so is digital insurance. The last few years has highlighted the lack of protection for gig economy workers. I'm now building a product that would look to address this very issue, and how hyper-personalisation is the way the insurtech market is moving and GIGANOMICS was born.
Q: How is GIGANOMICS differentiating itself within the current industry?
There are a few players addressing this space already, both in Europe and USA. Where GIGANOMICS differentiates is that we use AI and Data analytics to offer hyper-personalised insurance for gig drivers/riders. By plugging into the data from gig platforms (e.g. UBER, OLA, BOLT) we are able to innovate around the underwriting and provide personalised insurance to each individual driver based on their riding behaviour. We are not just distributing insurance policies like our competitors, we are really innovating around underwriting using technology to offer a much more personalised policy.
Q: What types of insurtech offerings are most needed in this space and why?
The gig economy is growing at 17% CAGR and it doesn't look like it is slowing down. There's an array of possible financial product offerings for the entire market. Insurtech specifically which are required include healthcare insurance, indemnity insurance and life insurance. These are probably the most important aspects of insurance, as they are directly related to the impact of the role as a gig rider due to the high risk that the job entails.
Q: How challenging is it to create an insurtech start-up in the current environment?
I think there are a lot of challenges building an insurtech, this certainly isn't for the faint hearted. There are multiple moving parts to insurtech companies. You are essentially working with an old legacy style industry and you are trying hard to innovate. It takes a lot of energy and time to bring innovation to break into an old industry. You need a lot of grit and energy to keep everything moving in parallel. On the contrary, digital insurtech is rapidly making waves, and I strongly believe this is the tip of the iceberg to come, I'm super excited.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake start-ups make that prevents success?
I have worked with many companies and have had the first hand exposer as to why so many fail. The first would be not pivoting when Product Market Fit doesn't fit, lacking agility and speed. You need to work closely with your customers and build a product which is sticky and fits a need. You must be flexible and resilient all at the same time. Running out of funds is also another primary reason many companies crash and burn. Its always best to raise for at least 18-24m runway, and leave enough to cushion if paying customers don't start as soon as anticipated. This is best practice to give yourself a real shot.
Q: How will the uptake of 5G affect the insurtech markets and the gig economy specifically?
5G has been discussed for a while, it will supercharge connectivity once it is released. 5G has the ability to be used for predictive analytics, which is precisely what GIGANOMICS is going to do. For the gig economy directly 5G has the ability to really map out behaviours and trends. Using these known behaviours insurers are able to better risk profile and predict the level of risk. 5G has a huge scope within the insurtech space, and will further supercharge current technology in a profound and complimentary manner.
Q: What’s the single most imperative element to success in building a successful insurtech, in your opinion?
Bringing the entire ecosystem together, the insurer/reinsurer, the customer B2B and other key teams. For me what's important is the ability in executing this strategy by bringing the right parts of the industry together early on. The best founders I have observed or worked with, have the ability to really leverage their entire network and orchestrate the execution of strategy effortlessly, and this is usually because they know the right people who are able to catalyse making things happen.
Q: Are collaborations/partnerships/MA’s becoming more important? Tell us about your current partnerships?
Yes, I believe that business is becoming more transparent and the ability to work virtually now makes it normal to have solid partnerships half way across the world. Partnerships which propel business strategies are pivotal in reaching your milestones. We are currently building our partnerships, with B2B strategic players within our chosen market. My current focus is building partnerships with the regulators early, the insurers, our B2B customers and our end users.
I am engaging already with some of the biggest gig platforms and these are the partnerships I want to continue to build so that GIGANOMICS has a solid customer base and great customer experience.
Q: What's new on the horizon at GIGANOMICS - what can we expect to see from you over the next few months?
We are actively fundraising at present and looking for the right investors to onboard. We are looking at our initial hires and are working hard to develop products. We are also looking at launching towards autumn of this year. This is of course subject to our successful fundraise so please look out for that soon.