DES MOINES, Iowa – Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA), the Des Moines-based global business accelerator focused on developing and growing innovative insurance-centric startups, today announced its 2016 portfolio. With a global pool of twice as many applicants compared to the previous year, the five standout teams selected to participate in the mentor-driven program represent the automotive, property and health insurance segments. The sophomore class includes:
- Smart Drivinc (St. Louis, Missouri): Distracted driving and crash prevention app disables drivers’ cell phones while driving.
- Fluttrbox (Montreal, Canada): On-demand aerial imaging and mapping application that provides detailed property assessments via aerial drone images.
- WeSavvy (Dublin, Ireland): Health insurance app that rewards customers with cash off their insurance premium based on physical activity.
- Telematic (Madison, Wisconsin): Connected car app that offers auto insurance companies the ability to price insurance by monitoring driving and mobile usage.
- Serious Social Media (Orange, California): Automated social media marketing software for insurance agents.
“We were thrilled by the amount of interest we received from a strong and diverse group of applicants across industry segments,” said Brian Hemesath, managing director for the GIA. “We are excited to build on our momentum from last year and thrilled to be supporting these truly innovative startups working to solve key problems in an industry in real need of transformation.”
Hailing from the United States, Canada and Ireland, the startups will move to Des Moines for the 100-day program that kicks off on February 9, 2016. The accelerator offers each team $40,000 of seed capital, office space, one-on-one mentorship, business development training and access to the GIA’s extensive and diverse network of insurance executives and carriers, investors and industry leaders. In exchange, the GIA receives a six percent equity stake in each company.
“Des Moines is the insurance capital of the United States, which is why it’s only natural for these insurance startups to accelerate their presence here with us,” said Jeff Russell, board chair for the GIA. “One of the biggest challenges early-stage startups face is identifying and gaining access to the right partners and mentors to jumpstart their businesses and to create the foundation to drive future growth. That’s why, above all else, our program focuses on helping these companies generate revenues by selling their products to real customers versus focusing solely on investment.”
Investors backing the GIA (all returning from 2015) include the following insurance carriers: American Equity Investment Life, Delta Dental of Iowa, Farmers Mutual Hail, Farm Bureau Financial Services, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance, IMT Insurance Company and Principal Financial Group.
The accelerator’s mentors are industry leaders and executives who have a deep understanding of the industry and come from insurance carriers and brokerages including all seven GIA investors, AIG, Nationwide, EMC, Transamerica, Merchants Bonding and more.
The program runs until May 19, but culminates in April with the annual Global Insurance Symposium where each team will pitch its innovative insurance solution to more than 350 prominent industry executives from around the world.
Created by the Greater Des Moines Partnership in 2014, the GIA is the first U.S.-based insurance accelerator that helps grow insurance startups. The GIA’s inaugural 2015 class consisted of six portfolio companies from all over the world. Accelerator alum ClinicNote, creators of a tool that eases the note-taking and reporting process for speech-language pathologists, announced the closing of a seed round in late 2015.
About GLOBAL INSURANCE ACCELERATOR (GIA):
Created in 2014 as an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Global Insurance Accelerator is the world’s first startup accelerator focused on the global insurance industry. The mentor-driven program is backed by major carriers and brokerages and its mentors consist of current and former industry leaders and executives. To learn more about the GIA, visit globalinsuranceaccelerator.com.