When the first cohort of the Startup Bootcamp InsurTech Accelerator concluded in April, the news came down shortly thereafter that three of the startups participating in the program were establishing a base of operations in the city – a tremendous validation for both the program and the city of Hartford, striving to become an epicenter for the insurtech industry. CTNext spent some time with each of Hartford’s new corporate residents to understand the drivers behind the decision to relocate and aspirations for the future:
Aureus Analytics is helping the insurance community deliver a better experience to the customer, using their in-house analytics platform to help predict customer behavior and ultimately improve retention and cross-sell opportunities. After a successful engagement in an accelerator program on the West Coast, the company applied for the Hartford InsurTech Hub program at the urging of its customers.
“The program in Hartford seemed very interesting, and we decided it made a lot of sense for us to have a look,” said Aureus co-founder and CEO Anurag Shah. “So we made a trip to Hartford, spent some time there, applied to the program and got selected.”
As a result of its participation in the program, Aureus has decided to establish its U.S. headquarters in Hartford. The company has taken office space in Upward Hartford and is in the process of hiring and building a team. Multiple factors drove the company’s decision to relocate to Hartford, including, most notably, the availability of talent and subject matter experts.
“Through the InsurTech Hub program, we had excellent opportunities to network and make connections with insurance industry experts in and around the city. As we continue to build and grow, we’re going to need consultants who have that critical domain expertise.”
Aureus is now focused on growing its U.S. presence from its Hartford headquarters and is negotiating pilot programs with some of its regional customers. But the company also sees Hartford as a center point for its global growth efforts.
“North America is a key market, but we also have customers in India, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world,” Shah said. “We’re building a strong team in Hartford, and we intend to leverage the talent for our global needs as well.”
Boundlss is an Australian company that uses artificial intelligence to provide consumers with their own personalized health coach, helping people to get healthy and keep up a healthy lifestyle. The company had been involved with Startup Bootcamp and insurtech programs in Singapore and London and was eager to participate in the Hartford InsurTech Hub.
Business Development Director Shona Cotterill believes that Boundlss’s broad array of potential insurance-related applications contributed to the company being selected.
“Our technology has a number of use cases for life, health and workers’ compensation insurance, and Hartford is home to leading insurers in these areas,” Cotterill said.
“Hartford is a big insurance town that feels like a smart, well-connected community. From the very beginning, there was a real willingness to support the insurtech startups, to mentor them, open up connections and give them the benefit of their experience.”
For Boundlss, understanding how their product should be structured and marketed for the U.S. was a critical challenge. The experience of participating in the program was invaluable in meeting this need.
“The four months we have spent in Hartford so far has given us a good grounding to learn what we need to do to make our product U.S. market–ready and increase our chances of success. We’ve met a lot of amazing experts and have benefited tremendously from their experience.”
Now, having established a presence in Hartford, Boundlss is eager to grow its business while at the same time helping the city establish itself as a center of excellence for insurance technology.
“We are excited to be here and are looking forward to partnering with Connecticut-based insurers to further develop our products for the U.S. market.”
Pentation Analytics began providing analytics and big data services and products to the financial sector in 2015. Two years later, the company decided to move into the burgeoning insurtech space and began building a product to address the core use cases in the industry. The Pentation Insurance Analytics Suite is an insurance-specific software suite powered by AI that uses customer-level data with preconfigured algorithms to deliver insights for intervention. With an eye toward bringing a modular product to the U.S. market that could be implemented and deployed quickly, Pentation set its sights on Hartford, recognizing the city’s historic insurance legacy.
“We were new to the country and wanted to delve right into the ecosystem,” said Anirban Roy, Pentation’s founder and CEO. “Hartford had always come across as the insurance base of the U.S.”
Around the same time Pentation was readying to move to the U.S., the Hartford InsurTech Hub began soliciting for companies interested in being involved in the first cohort. Pentation applied and was accepted.
“As a new player in the country and the market, the accelerator program was invaluable, as it allowed us to learn about the psyche of the carriers, buying habits, and legal and regulatory issues and helped us entrench ourselves within the industry very quickly.”
After participating in the Hartford InsurTech Hub, the decision to set up a permanent base in Hartford was crystallized.
Dr. Pameet Singh, Head of Data Science and Technology added, “We have made Hartford our home. The Accelerator and the Hartford Insurance Community has given Pentation new business partners with technology backing, access to local implementation and administrative partners, and above all, new clientele in the local Insurance Agent community. Our Hartford presence has also opened doors into adding clients in adjoining cities such as New York City and Boston which continue to build our strength in the wider business community in the East Coast.”
Pentation has long-term goals and aspirations for its business and presence in Connecticut, driven by the belief that Hartford can become the East Coast version of Silicon Valley for the insurance industry.
“Hartford is clearly eager to continue its digital and technology transformation. We want to see it, and we want to be a part of it.”