This week we’re proudly presenting SPIXII. Art-loving, outgoing, entrepreneurial and dedicated, they call themselves a new breed of geeks. With over 15 years of combined experience in insurance, actuarial science, underwriting, data science and high performance computing, the team has already taken part in not one but two accelerator programmes – StartupNext and Startupbootcamp. Having just caught his breath after the SBC Demo Day in mid April, co-founder and COO, Alberto Chierici, explains how the SPIXII chatbot will transform insurance.
Hello, Alberto! First of all, how did you come up with the idea for your start-up?
The drive for making insurance simple came from Renaud who was really annoyed by the current way insurance products are sold to consumers. After meeting me at one of the tutorials for an actuarial exam, the passion of solving this problem was infectious and we kept thinking about creating a business that would actually redesign the way people purchase insurance.
Buying an insurance policy is a horrible experience. Confusing jargon and lack of transparency undermine trust in insurance companies. Completing the long and daunting forms is a negative experience and doesn’t really provide any benefits. Given our professional background, we love insurance and understand how it serves the society as a whole. Through running customer development interviews and iterating different ideas/prototypes we discovered that people love texting, it comes natural and it represents a large percentage of our mobile device usage. That was the spark that inspired us to develop a conversational user interface to sell insurance, a chatbot.
What is your start-up all about?
SPIXII is on a mission to make insurance simple, accessible and personal. It starts by redesigning the way people buy insurance. SPIXII is an automated insurance agent, a chatbot accessible via messaging platforms or via a native mobile app.
Built on principles of neuro-economics and the integration of user data with contextual data from multiple sources, SPIXII is an insurance chatbot designed to speak to you just as a person would. SPIXII can be integrated in multiple platforms, such as a native mobile app, Telegram, Kik, Line, Facebook Messenger, WeChat or your browser. All it takes is a hello to get started. From there, for example you can tell SPIXII about your travel plans and find out which appropriate insurance plans are available to you. It couldn’t be easier.
How is your start-up changing / challenging the insurance industry?
It brings in transparency, information, engagement, financial inclusion and insurance literacy to the market.
What’s the most difficult aspect about running a start-up?
Dealing with the roller coaster: 1 minute you think you are heading towards success and the next minute you fear death and failure!
What’s the best aspect?
Doing what we love and working hard for seeing our vision realised. It’s the first time we are so poor yet so happy at work!
Can you describe your start-up in 3 words?
Simple, fast, enjoyable.
What are 3 key aspects do you wish you knew before starting up your business?
- Investors judge you by herd mentality and smart investors are very hard to find;
- Wish we had read ‘The mum test’ earlier, i.e. how to ask questions to get unbiased answers
- How to prioritise when you are constantly on the roller coaster… still struggling with that one!
What other insurtech start-ups are you excited about?
Cuvva, Everledger, Fitsense, Myfuturenow, Covi Analytics.
Do you have any advice for others who might want to venture into the start-up world?
When you take the decision, follow your heart, your vision, be mental about it. You will inspire the right team to follow you and your customers.
Can you give me an example of innovation / technology that has impressed you lately?
The blockchain is freakingly awesome.
What gadget can’t you live without?
My iPhone. Definitely. When I go back home my wife hides it from me.
Can you describe the current state of the insurance industry in 3 words?
Can do better!
How can insurers be more innovative?
Completely changing culture, starting from the customer, re-defining the incentive structure of boards, underwriters and brokers.
What can insurers do to make it easier for you to collaborate with them?
Move quickly, pay start-ups fairly rather than treating their services as free R&D.
In your opinion, what is going to be the next big thing in insurance?
Blockchain, as it will enable opportunities such as the automation of insurance agents, which is what we believe is the next big thing. Peer to peer is nice but a) it will require a lot of customer education; b) it’s nothing new, it’s the good old mutual model!
What else would you be doing if you hadn’t started up your current business?
I would open a chain of restaurants selling healthy, good Italian food at reasonable prices, and promoting the concept of farm-to-table food. Renaud Million would build fine watches. Alberto Pasqualotto would be a mountain guide managing a refuge for adventurers.
Thank you, Alberto for your insightful answers. It looks like the insurance industry would have missed out on transparency and customer engagement if SPIXII hadn’t been founded.
If you want to get to know more insurtech start-ups keep an eye on this space 🙂
Marketing assistant @Ingenin