Q&A With Gener8tor, Allianz, And Securian Around The OnRamp Insurance Accelerator Coming To Minnesota
Last week, it was announced that gener8tor has teamed up with Allianz Life Ventures and Securian Financial to launch the Onramp Insurance Accelerator in Minnesota next year. We spoke with the three respective organizations — Troy Vosseller of Gener8tor, Liz Carraro at Securian, and Emily Reitan of Allianz Life Ventures — to hear more about what’s in store:
Why OnRamp Insurance Accelerator?
Vosseller: OnRamp started as a Wisconsin-based conference series back in 2013 with the goal of connecting investors and startups. Earlier this year, we had the third annual conference, and there was a clear trend where these parties wanted more industry focus so we decided to segment it by sector and the financial services/insurance naturally emerged. So in addition to the conference, which by the way will now be hosted in Minnesota next April, together with Securian and Allianz, we formed the accelerator to identify bigger business opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as our strategic industry partners.
Will it be a multi-year program?
Vosseller: yes we have a three year initial agreement.
What is each parties respective motivation or incentive?
Carraro: we’re looking at it from a few different angles; with accelerators there’s opportunity to source partnerships and make strategic investments. We’re also seeing it as a way to further the vision and mission for our company to let people know we are looking for new talent and ideas. Lastly, to help support the local ecosystem at large.
Reitan: for us it started by bringing innovation and talent to the local economy. We have worked with other partners and made a number of strategic investments already, though we are looking forward to uncovering additional opportunities here in Minnesota.
Vosseller: Core to our roots is building a platform so communities can invest in their best and brightest. In this case, our goal is to establish the Twin Cities as a destination for insuretech / fintech.
What does insuretech mean to you?
Vosseller: Anything that touches the landscape. It could be a new carrier model, an agency model, or horizontally within the space from customer acquisition to claims handling. The invention and application of new technologies such as AI or ML are bringing great potential to the industry as well.
When does the application window open and close; when does the program officially start and stop?
Vosseller: People can apply right now at onrampinsuranceaccelerator.com through April 28th. The program starts June 6, 2019 and runs through the last week of August.
What are the benefits for entrepreneurs to participate?
Vosseller: investment capital, office space, access to great corporate partners, the gener8tor network, and additional investors. At the end of the day, it’s all about growth, and we believe that we have proven that we can help them accelerate that.
Reitan: the leadership is behind this and just being a part of it will be a great value add.
Carraro: we have evaluated many similar types of accelerators over the years and I’m excited to be hands-on with this program.
What are the terms offered?
Vosseller: a $100k investment consistent with whatever terms they are currently raising, otherwise a $100k convertible/bridge note.
Who will be judging and selecting the entrepreneurs/companies?
Vosseller: We will be choosing five startups per cohort and all three of us will be assuming that role, or representatives from each partner.
What are the applicants judged on and is personal appearance a factor?
Vosseller – We’re looking for a great team of founders who can execute in large and growing markets;traction is a good indicator. Physical appearance is not a factor, though we do measure and publish the demographic statistics associated with all our founders across the portfolio.
Where will the program be physically based?
Vosseller: somewhere in the Twin Cities…we are seeking a space that is open, inviting and collaborative for the startups.
Who will be operating/leading the program?
Vosseller: we are currently recruiting for a Managing Director.
What do you hope to accomplish three years down the road?
Vosseller: I’d like to be able to show a strong portfolio of growing companies who are finding success in their markets, and possible even some exits and financial returns. Ideally, they would attribute some of that success through their participation with us.
Reitan: It is definitely an investment for us and seeing the portfolio grow is the goal.
Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Vosseller: We are exciting to continue expanding in Minnesota with these two great corporate partners!