Otbert de Jong, Co-Founder and CEO of Inmediate.io, talked to IrishTechnews about reimagining the insurance industry on the blockchain.
Describe the company – the elevator pitch.
Inmediate is a Singapore-based platform that eventually wants to move the entire insurance ecosystem to the blockchain with the mission of making insurance more readily available in a simple, reliable, cheap and transparent way to anyone, not bound by place or time. Launched by industry veterans in 2018, supported by Deloitte, FWD and four more phase one insurance partners, it aims to connect insurers, distributors, and consumers for an all-encompassing end-to-end insurance experience. Is this elevator still going?
How are you different?
Our platform is evolutionary. We provide insurers with a network to operate on, a toolkit to develop policies using common standards, scale and infrastructure and connection with other network participants such as customers and regulators. This hasn’t been attempted before. We do this on fellow countrymen Zilliqa’s blockchain technology to unite all the parties involved in this process – think: insurers, consumers, regulators, information providers (oracles) and distributors – on one platform.
That means less overhead, hence cheaper, clearer, faster, fairer and more transparent and accessible insurance anywhere anytime.
Why will you do well?
Many Insurers are already exploring blockchain and smart contract supported products individually – but that will lead to fragmentation. What we propose is an industry-wide technology – no islands of proprietary tech that can’t speak to anything but itself.
Inmediate is a collaborative effort – an attempt to get all insurers behind a standard. The team has been active in fintech for 4 years and I have been in this industry for 20. It has always been our goal to enable customers to make the best choices and provide them the convenience to do it in a simple and quick way while getting the best value for their money. It’s great to see so many big parties embracing our philosophy and jumping on our bandwagon.
Where are you based?
We sit in Singapore, which is emerging as one of the global insurtech industry hubs. The first version of our platform will be built for our home market and we will hopefully scale from there. We’re lucky to be in a relatively ICO-friendly jurisdiction. The central bank – the MAS – has been very supportive of our plan since the beginning and has advised us on regulations and subsidies. A huge benefit compared to less ICO-friendly countries.
When was the company launched?
Inmediate was incorporated just last year. However, our sister company, where we’ve accumulated valuable insights and experience in the insurance industry, was established in 2014. That was insurancemarket.sg, a full-service online brokering platform that guides customers through the jungle of confusion that surrounds insurances. It was recognized as one of the top seven Asian Insurtech startups in 2017 by Insurance Post UK.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
I’m happy with the solid and strong partnerships with big players in insurance industry such as FWD and MSIG. As leading and well-reputed insurers in Asia, both FWD and MSIG will provide Inmediate with expertise, marketing, legal, compliance and governance contributions throughout the development stage. The second big win is regulatory buy-in. That makes attracting capital – and really everything else – so much easier.
Who are you trying to attract to your platform?
On one hand, ours is a B2B business – so we need to get those global insurance behemoths behind us. For them, this will become a B2C shop down the line. We need consumers to feel comfortable on the platform and interact with all the elements. When blockchain technology developed over the past 10 years, a lot of effort went into banking the unbanked – that became the holy grail. Our insight was: wouldn’t we add more value if we’re able to insure the uninsured?
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
Be ready for the fact that business is hard and not an easy place for “nice people”. Set your goal and be ruthless in your execution. Try to figure out where consumer interests overlap with industry interests. That part of the Venn diagram is your sweet spot.
Secondly: speed is key. Find your niche – scale as quickly as you can. Make sure you have enough funding to see it through.
Tell us about your team.
We have a good mix of insurance, business, and technology professionals. Our CTO Nelius is a former Standard Chartered executive and he has also worked with a number of insurtech and e-commerce companies. Yi Sheng, our CCO, is a legendary figure in the Singaporean insurance industry who ran a popular insurance blog. Our token sales consultant, Peter has academically researched over 200 token sales in depth to determine what makes a token sale successful. We are also backed by world-class advisors including Max Kantelia, Co-Founder at Zilliqa & Anquan and Dick van Motman – global CEO of Dentsu – the largest advertising agency in the world.
What are your plans for the future?
Our roadmap is on our website but one thing to note is that getting everyone on board is our top priority now. But this means that we will have to seek consensus among all participants, which may slow down development. This will eventually be compensated by quick take-up. Right now we’re asking people to stop experimenting in their own labs and come on board. That strategy seems to be working since many big players have already signed on.
If we become the standard: great. But it’s not about us. It’s about getting people the right insurance.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
Gadget is a bit old-fashioned, but I do miss my Zune. These days it’s more applications that rock our world and we try to integrate them as much as possible in our lives to make it better. I am a big fan of some of the productivity tools. Asana is good. I like Todoist for personal use. For a busy guy like me saving time is awesome.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
One that takes care of security and compliance. That’s a Saas I can get behind.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Will you make your soft cap? The answer is yes – we made it after about 4 minutes in pre-sale. Our hard cap is modest, too and shouldn’t be much of a problem, although the market is pretty depressed at the moment. We do this because the ICO is a means – not the goal. We are in this for the long haul and want a good, proper, real relation with our investors and take them on a long sustainable journey.
How do people get in touch with you?
If you are in Singapore swing by – the address is on our website and we have a great Hainan Chicken Rice in the food court downstairs. If you are not in Singapore, drop us a line at [email protected]
– telegram: https://t.me/inmediate
– twitter: https://twitter.com/Inmediatesg
– facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inmediatesg/