How Hartford is Attracting Tech Innovators

Last month, on September 25 to be more precise, Hartford InsurTech Accelerator powered by Startupbootcamp was launched. The objective? To build a robust environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in Hartford, Connecticut. With applications for startups to be part of the program closing very soon, and the program officially starting January 8, we look at the fundamental elements that make up the accelerator program itself, the benefits it offers to startups and what it means for the city of Hartford, to be the home of the first Startupbootcamp InsurTech program in North America.

Hartford exhibits a set of characteristics that gives the city a strong foundation for its development into a center for insurance innovation.

First and foremost, Hartford is one of the world’s leading insurance hubs. The city is nicknamed the “Insurance Capital of the World”, given that it hosts many of the largest insurance corporations in the world. Not only this, but Hartford’s location is ideal to foster entrepreneurial activity.

The city is situated on the same high-speed rail line that plans to run between New York and Boston, meaning that both cities will be a less-than-two-hour journey from Hartford. This favors Hartford greatly because technology entrepreneurs can take advantage of the world class business opportunities that both New York and Boston present, as well as be in close proximity to the insurance companies that call Hartford home. Combining Hartford’s strong insurance foundation with its ideal location for attracting technology companies, yields a city that has the potential to take the InsurTech world by storm.

Connecticut, with Hartford at its center, is leading the charge to become a focal point for innovative insurance startups. Connecticut has one of the highest densities of college graduates in the United States. It is also home to Yale University, one of the most distinguished Ivy League colleges in the country, so to say the region is overflowing with invaluable talent for startups to engage with is no understatement.

The state offers various incentives to foster business development and to encourage the relocation of startups to the region. Connecticut’s Small Business Express Program provides loans and grants to small businesses to spur job creation and growth, and the state’s Small Business Tax Incentives scheme provides tax credit that encourages business investment.

Hartford-area insurance carriers, the City of Hartford staff, and several other community members identified the potential to drive more InsurTech activity in the region. An appetite for innovation, alongside investment from CTNext – Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem – and a desire from Startupbootcamp InsurTech to be part of an ecosystem for InsurTech innovation in the US, lead to the formation of Hartford InsurTech Hub.

Hartford InsurTech Hub is more than just an accelerator program. The Hub will support the industry’s rapidly expanding needs, with an InsurTech accelerator program at the heart of a thriving and resolute insurance innovation ecosystem.

Sabine VanderLinden, CEO, Startupbootcamp InsurTech spoke about the great opportunity that the partnership presents,

“I am thrilled to support a unique initiative in Hartford that brings together ecosystem development, startup acceleration and corporate engagement. We are fortunate to be working with some of the most renowned insurance brands in the United States to continue building entrepreneurial talents within the insurance and technology space.”

Other organizations recognized the program’s potential and have joined as founding partners to the InsurTech Accelerator, further developing the strength of the program by providing mentorship and support for InsurTech startups. These include Cigna, The Hartford, Travelers, CTNext, USAA, White Mountains, and most recently, Eos Venture Partners.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin highlights the importance of Hartford InsurTech Hub for the city, “Working hand in hand with the private sector, our goal is to make Hartford the capital of insurance innovation, and the launch of this InsurTech accelerator is a big part of that strategy”.

The InsurTech Accelerator aims to strengthen the insurance industry network in Hartford, attract tech companies, and connect the startup companies emerging from within the region to key investors. The acceleration program will run once per year with 10 to 12 startups in each cycle who will each receive an initial cash grant of $25,000 and co-working space for 3+ months. Startups will be enrolled into a 3-month intensive program based in Harford and will have access to the Startupbootcamp global mentors and investor network.

Hartford InsurTech Hub will achieve a new wave of growth for insurers, investors, market participants, and the local economy. The acceleration program’s startups will be based in a world leading insurance city, located on the doorstep of New York and Boston, receive crucial funding, and have access to Startupbootcamp’s impressive global network of mentors and investors.

Hartford will soon establish itself as a center of innovation that entrepreneurs and startups will flock to in order to take advantage of the city’s growing ecosystem. Sabine VanderLinden summarizes that “…our goal is to reflect on our learning, select international ventures that can foster an innovation spirit within the City of Hartford’s new InsurTech hub and build a spirit of collaboration and the entrepreneurial community in a City that has so many insurers gathered in one place.”

Applications are open for the InsurTech Accelerator, startups are encouraged to apply here.

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1) https://www.digitalsurgeons.com/thoughts/strategy/connecticut-center-for-tech-startups/