(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem-based venture capital group JVP and the multinational insurance conglomerate AXA announced the opening of a first-of-its-kind startup competition, InsurTech Israel, on Tuesday.
The winner will receive an initial investment of $1 million from JVP and a potential investment of up to $17m. from AXA.
“The competition format is a great way to create buzz and to spark awareness among Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs about the opportunity that lies in the insurance market,” Yoav Tzruya, the partner at JVP who leads the competition, told The Jerusalem Post
The aim of the competition is to promote the participation and share of Israeli startups in the growing field of insurance technologies (InsurTech). JVP and AXA hope to discover, and then build up the next wave of companies and innovations in the emerging field.
JVP has been ranked in the past as one of the top-ten consistently performing Venture Capital firms in the world, with over 31 notable exits, 12 IPOs and 19 M&As.
Headquartered in France, AXA is one of the world’s oldest and largest multinational insurance firms with offices and subsidiaries on all continents. The Best Global Brands ranking awarded AXA the top global insurance brand for the eighth consecutive year. According to the Deloitte financial consulting firm, the global insurance sector is estimated to be a $4.8 trillion industry that invested over $1 billion in InsurTech companies through 2015.
“Investment in the InsurTech sector is catapulting right now, and we see a lot of international insurance firms seeking technological advancement. So far the Israeli tech world has not taken advantage of this market and the Israeli influence on InsurTech is exponentially smaller than what we see in other sectors,” Tzruya told the Post
According to JVP, Israeli startups can revolutionize the multi-billion dollar global insurance industry which has basically gone unchanged and is now ripe for a tech disruption. This includes a number of fields which Israel now pioneers – cyber-security, financial technology (FinTech), big data, IoT (which, if covered, can relay information in real time to insurance companies) and more.
In the past, financial institutions such as CitiBank and Barclays have sparked the Fintech ecosystem in Israel with their accelerators. Now JVP and AXA hope to do the same for InsurTech through investment, JVP’s incubator and AXA’s Strategic Ventures fund.
“At AXA, we are investing in startups with a relevant technology that will transform insurance and asset-management,” said Francois Robinet, managing partner at AXA Strategic Ventures. “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.”
According to Tzruya, once JVP decided that they want to promote InsurTech in Israel, they conceived the competition in light of a previous success they had with the format in 2013 in the cyber sector.
“We recognized AXA as a global leader in the insurance market and proposed the partnership in the competition. We are very glad they agreed to join this path with us,” he said.
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 and wearables, blockchain, cybersecurity and health IT.