Talk about a battle royale: I had the honor of facilitating the first-ever Guidewire Insurtech Vanguards Pitch Day competition, which just reached its blockbuster conclusion.
The stakes were sky-high: Ten visionary insurtech startups pitching their way to the opportunity of a lifetime in front of an audience of insurance industry luminaries that read like a who’s who of awesomeness. Let’s just say the results blew everyone’s socks off. But the most amazing part was watching Pitch Day become an absolute phenomenon.
I’ll get to all of that in just a moment. But first, let’s pull back to take in the bigger story.
Competition at the Cutting Edge
First announced on May 23, Insurtech Vanguards Pitch Day ’22 was a first-of-its-kind competition for members of the Guidewire Insurtech Vanguards program. For those unfamiliar with it, Insurtech Vanguards is an access-acceleration initiative designed to help P&C insurers learn about the hottest new insurtech innovations as Guidewire vets potential new members for our industry-leading PartnerConnect ecosystem.
The spoils for Pitch Day ’22 were extraordinary—including the chance to make a live, four-minute pitch to an audience of Guidewire customers, employees, and partners. Our event was sponsored by PwC and held on September 21 at the Paris Hotel’s Chateau Rooftop during ITC Las Vegas. The winner will also be showcased at Connections 2022, one of the industry’s largest and most prestigious annual conferences, in October.
The competition’s call-to-action was simple: Members of the Guidewire Insurtech Vanguards program were invited to submit a 90-second video showcasing their solution’s value proposition. Not the technology itself, but rather the business challenges the solution solves and the bottom-line benefits to insurers. On July 20, we posted the top contenders on the official Pitch Day web page and invited members of the public to choose their favorite value props. The 10 entrants to generate the most votes advanced to our Pitch Day ’22 event. With more than 10,000 site visits, it’s clear the value props presented in the entry videos were popular within our industry.
Putting Their Best Pitch Forward
Looking back now, the torrential flow of votes and the industry’s sky-high interest in the competition shouldn’t have been a surprise. With names like Indico Data, MākuSafe, Bindable, and ForMotiv, Pitch Day ’22 contestants align with several key tech trends reshaping the competitive landscape.
Think alternative distribution, satellite flood detection, conversational AI, data analytics, wearables, and more. Because cloud-based platforms like Guidewire enable insurers to quickly leverage the latest insurtech innovations, scouting for compelling technologies that enable competitive differentiation has become crucial to insurer ecosystems. With votes in and tallied, the following entrants advanced to the final round of competition at Pitch Day ’22 (shown here in alphabetical order):
Insurers understand that embedding live, data-driven insights throughout the insurance life cycle helps boost profitability; Charlee.ai helps further their efforts to amp up efficiencies while decreasing claims and litigation costs.
Faced with $80 billion in losses to fraud each year, insurers need all the help they can get to reduce fraud—Clearspeed’s AI voice analysis can help flatten the risk curve.
Digital behavior speaks volumes about the intent and truthfulness of agents and applicants seeking coverage—and ForMotiv is fluent and happy to translate it to help insurers make smart decisions.
According to McKinsey, 36% of the U.S. workforce is made up of independent workers, and GigEasy is a benefits platform that helps insurers serve this lucrative and growing market.
As climate change accelerates, insurers need access to evolving risk data to profitably price risk while avoiding bad bets. ICEYE’s satellite-based monitoring and change detection intelligence keeps insurers in the know about flood risk and impact for any location on Earth.
Premiums underwritten with the aid of computer vision will grow 1,500% to $20 billion by 2024—Indico Data uses this tech to unlock the value of documents, images, emails, and video across a wide array of workflows.
Traditional ergonomic safety programs are typically onetime solutions; MākuSafe wearables gather real-time worker behavior data continuously and deliver alerts with specific, risk-reducing recommendations to their employers.
Digital automation and an explosion of data availability offer massive opportunities to enhance customer acquisition and reduce risk exposure—Quantexa helps insurers operationalize that data to maximize premium growth.
Document management may be the ultimate time suck for reinsurers. Slipbot reduces the time it takes to process reinsurance slips from two hours a day to less than five minutes.
V Is for Vanguard–and Victory
With apologies to Earth, Wind & Fire, the startups competing at Pitch Day ’22 will definitely remember the 21st night of September. Here they had dozens of prominent industry leaders from around the globe gathered together in the luminous glow of the Chateau Rooftop, waiting with bated breath to hear about their breakthrough value propositions.
The air crackled with energy. For 90 shockingly short minutes, one fast-pitch, four-minute presentation after another took the room by storm. I felt privileged and proud to play a part in shepherding this event from concept to reality, and here it was playing out before me.
For insurtech competitors, just being here was a win. Imran Ilyas, a partner at PwC, shared valuable intel on how insurers can leverage insurtech ecosystems to maximize their value. Betterview COO David Tobias spoke about his experience securing investment. Mike Chen, Guidewire’s head of ventures provided insight on how Guidewire investigates and potentially invests in insurtech value propositions. Bob Frady, founder and former CEO of HazardHub, shared tips on securing funding. And Guidewire Chief Customer Officer Christina Colby provided insights on how the Guidewire platform’s open architecture enables insurers to harness the leading-edge insurtech value propositions.
I won’t lie to you. For those in attendance, casting a vote for best pitch wasn’t easy. But in the end, one competitor was declared victorious:
ICEYE’s persistent, satellite-based monitoring and change detection intelligence gives insurers an accurate and up-to-the-moment understanding of CAT risk—and an immediate view of post-event damage—for any location on Earth. With a constellation of satellites armed with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology, ICEYE enables insurers to base decisions on a near-real time understanding of the situation on the ground—without delay.
Congratulations to Team ICEYE and to all of our Pitch Day competitors!
As Our First Pitch Day Winds Down, We’re Just Getting Started
With that, our first annual Guidewire Insurtech Vanguards Pitch Day competition is now one for the history books. But it was also just the beginning. As we continue to identify the hottest up-and-coming insurtechs, we’ll surface them to our existing community of customers based on their specific challenges and business goals. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Guidewire Insurtech Vanguard, learn more and apply here. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see you compete next year—in Guidewire Insurtech Vanguards Pitch Day ’23!
Special Thanks to My Guidewire Peeps
To close out this post, I want to give a quick shout-out to members of the core team that made this event possible:
- Cecilia Bautista Sablan
- Eric Apse
- Lisa Vingerhoet
- Aditi Kulkami
This event wouldn’t have been this successful without you!