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The insurance industry in the UK is the largest in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world.
In 2018 the UK insurtech sector raised over $1 billion, contributing significantly to the $5 billion raised by insurtech businesses globally. However, while finance has been disrupted irreversibly by challenger fintechs in the past few years, the insurance industry has lagged farther behind.
The average UK person spends hours every year shopping around and haggling the price of their car insurance, life insurance, private health insurance, and house insurance plans – and many others if they’re running a business. Rnwl, the very first over-the-top insurance platform, takes all that and more off their plates.
We sat down with Goncalo de Vansconcelos, the serial entrepreneur who brought you SyndicateRoom and now Rnwl, to find out more.
What is Rnwl’s vision in your own words?
We are building the insurance platform of the future, so that consumers never have to worry about their insurance again. We compare insurers from comparison websites and those that comparison websites don’t show you, so when it comes to renewing your coverage, you can be sure you’re getting the best coverage for the best possible price.
How did your experience founding SyndicateRoom prepare you for this venture?
Being a serial entrepreneur has helped in many ways. The greatest luxury of all is that people recognise my name, so they tend to respond to my emails promptly, which makes life a lot easier. Due to my track record, I was also able to attract some top quality people with extensive experience to the team who may have otherwise been difficult to attract to a new business.
I’ve also saved a lot of time on administrative tasks. I was able to breeze past the usual boring operational stuff like incorporation of the company and setting up accounts, because I’d done it all before. I could avoid making the kinds of mistakes that a new entrepreneur might make, which saved a lot more time to focus on the areas that have allowed the business to progress more quickly, and take significant leaps in development from early on. It also made room for me to make new kinds of mistakes – the really valuable ones that would help me better the product.
What was the insurtech space missing and how does Rnwl help fill that gap?
The insurtech market right now is where fintech was at the time when I founded SyndicateRoom, i.e. barely scratching the surface of the technological innovation that is yet to come. Rnwl is one of these highly ambitious innovations that can revolutionise a multi-billion pound market simply by doing the right thing for consumers, just like the challenger banks did for finance.
The process of buying and managing insurance is broken. The industry is focused on selling products, not in serving customers. This is a massive opportunity for us, because what we’ve created is a product that is laser-focused on the user, to make life easier, cheaper and more enjoyable for them. It’s only a matter of time before we look back at the traditional insurance market and wonder how we ever accepted that as the norm.
How is your team equipped to bring this vision to market?
We have a brilliant team with extensive experience in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as well as in product development for millions of retail customers (Raspberry Pi and Swiftkey) and with experience from the sector (CompareTheMarket). They were able to bring a huge amount of industry knowledge in addition to passionate ideas as to how we could make it better for the end consumer.
One of our greatest successes to date has been putting together such a brilliant team with great ideas for the future of the company. We’ve created a friendly culture of respect and excellence that’s laser-focused on our value proposition.
What do you anticipate to be the greatest challenge going forward and how does Rnwl plan to tackle it?
The greatest challenge will always be to get noticed. It’s a noisy market. However, you could have said the finance space was crowded five years ago, and yet by offering a service that is truly useful for the consumer, Monzo, Revolut and Starling turned a legacy industry on its head. Soon people will be talking about Rnwl just like they did, and still do, about challenger banks.
What will the proceeds from this round help you achieve?
This fundraise will help us take the product to market, and get the early traction that will enable us to start preparing for scaling up. We’ll be investing in human resources, and operational growth to be able to deliver on the ambitious plans we have for the future of the business.
What do you believe to be the most important learning in building a company from scratch?
Resolve a problem you are passionate about and persevere. There will be brighter and darker days, but they will all be worth it in the end, so have fun along the way!
What’s the most valuable personal finance hack you’ve learned?
Start investing as early as possible.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to investors in the insurtech space?
Study fintech well and learn from its brief history. Innovators with bold ideas sounded crazy just a few years ago and now those ideas are unicorns.
To find out more about Rnwl, check out the pitch now.