Startup Spotlight: InvestSure

All the way from South Africa, Shane has relocated to Hartford for the duration of our program. We sat down with Shane the CEO of InvestSure and asked him a few questions. 

What is your product?                           

We created a product that protects investors from allegations of management fraud and dishonesty which cause losses in the shares in which they are invested. In the US the best example is probably Enron, but this risk is extremely prevalent and is increasing – investors shouldn’t lose their hard-earned wealth to these types of unforeseeable losses.                      

Where did the idea for InvestSure develop from?                        

The idea came in the wake of the VW scandal where the share price dropped by over 50% in a matter of days. Executives seemed very sheltered from the aftermath of the scandal, but hundreds of thousands of investors lost money – the company itself halved in value! Thinking this was all wrong, I searched for what an ordinary investor could have done to protect themself – it turns out no product existed to cover this risk, so with some persuasion and help from my co-founders InvestSure was born.                        

Why did you choose the name InvestSure?                                  

It’s a derivative of investing and insurance, nice and simple.                            

Who is your current target audience?                             

Ordinary, everyday investors that invest through online brokerages. We also have some boutique fund managers that have purchased the product as they see the value and sense of the significant downside protection.                           

How do you think InvestSure is going to change the industry?                               

This is one of the biggest asset classes in the world and a major driver of significant wealth, yet there is no touch into it from an insurance protection point of view. The product will allow investors to feel more comfortable about their investments and take more concentrated positions with a safety net, which can improve returns and reduce significant losses that chase people away from these asset classes.               

What made you want to join an accelerator program?

We launched the product in South Africa and have been live there for nearly 2 years. The plan was always to use the South African market to prove market demand and risk management assumptions, and then expand. The US is the biggest market globally so as a territory it made sense. As for the accelerator – why wouldn’t you want to accelerate your launch into a new country! The networks help reduce time to market significantly, and we heard the people behind the Hartford Insurtech Hub are fantastic, which has proven to be true.                              

How is your experience thus far?                         

Excellent.                                   

How did you and cofounder meet?                                  

I approached a re-insurer with the idea but I didn’t come from an insurance background. They liked the idea and paired me with someone with deep knowledge of the insurance industry – my first co-founder. During feasibility, we realized we needed to make the product tech-based, so we found our CTO and final co-founder. He was about to start his own company and we managed to convince him to rather come on board with us.                            

How did you find out about Hartford InsurTech Hub?                              

Alumni recommended it!                           

What made you want to join an accelerator program?                            

The reviews I heard from alumni of Hartford Insurtech Hub, and the network of partners and mentors on offer.                                  

How does InvestSure improve the quality of life?                                

Losses of this nature significantly impact retirement savings and the positive influence of compound growth on wealth. We allow this to continue where losses are caused by credible allegations of management behaving in a way that shareholders would not endorse if they had known what we going on. This helps wealth continue on its trajectory and reduces stress caused by losses of this nature.                            

What do you think has been InvestSure’s biggest obstacle, and how have you overcome that?                        

Probably scaling the B2B part of the model – the B2C bit works perfectly, once the product is in front of customers it is really well received. The B2B guys are difficult to find the right person within the organization, get the right meetings and finally getting into the IT priority list. To overcome this we launched a non-integrated model that takes out the need for IT integration, and we look for warm introductions within our ever-growing network of industry players. We also make sure we get to a very senior person from the start, or heads of innovation that have access to the right person within their organization.                                                                     

What advice would you give a startup that is interested in joining the Hartford InsurTech Hub’s accelerator program?                         

Try to demonstrate market readiness and/or traction of your product. The better your understanding of your market and how to scale into it the higher your chance of succeeding with the program. Also having a clear insurance angle helps.