Validating the Corp-Up approach in 2020
2020 has been a difficult year in many ways, filled with challenges in almost every aspect of our lives. HITS wasn’t exempted from it. The first year of our existence as an official innovation hub brought not only the typical challenges any startup usually faces at the beginning of their journey, but we were up against a world pandemic three months after we open our doors.
The good thing about having a team of innovators is that you’ll find your way around almost any situation. You simplify, practice fast, make mistakes and learn even faster. As we look back on this first year, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Corp-UP approach works!
First, let’s go back to the beginning. Everything started in 2017. Back then, Generali Switzerland created an innovation function. As head of strategy and innovation, Pietro Carnevale (now our CEO), had the opportunity to introduce new working methods such as Design Thinking. At that time, Generali also launched the corporate startup LINGS which developed on-demand insurance solutions. To make innovation even more valuable and sustainable for the company, we had to open up and start collaborating with new type of partners.
The partnership with F10 gave Generali Switzerland access to the FinTech startup ecosystem and made collaborations easier to achieve. With the opening of the Innovation Garage at the Generali headquarters in Adliswil, we created a space, where startups find a place to work, get in contact with corporates and potential investors. Thanks to the physical proximity with the operation of Generali Switzerland, we created the perfect environment to co-create together with startups innovative customer centric solutions. That’s how the Corp-up approach began and House of InsurTech Switzerland (HITS) was born. A subsidiary of Generali Switzerland which has operated as an independent limited company since December 2019.
So, how is been going so far?
Well, LINGS is the 1st European community based on-demand insurance, founded in November 2017 as the first corporate startup of Generali Switzerland. Proven successfully in Switzerland targeting community of Bikers and Photographers has expanded the product set to travelers in partnership with an health insurer (ökk) and is now scaled up internationally into 2 major European countries.
For our partner Generali Switzerland, we started a cooperation with the InsurTech start-up vlot. Thanks to vlot's technology, Generali Switzerland can quickly test innovative solutions in the area of risk protection. Another example of how we work on new solutions for Generali Switzerland is the collaboration with Billte and Imburse. Together, we are developing a product called “Tip Yourself”. With this solution Generali Switzerland makes saving money easier and more accessible for young people.
Also, a cool part of our work is, that we invest quite some effort in understanding how using Artificial Intelligence to provide value added services and smooth interaction to our customers. Here are some examples:
• BAIby, to experiment the potential of an IOT device recognizing newborns basic needs from the sound of theircries and eventually detecting pathologies on newborns. This will be done together with Zoundream, a startup from West Switzerland.
• Together with a Berlin based startup Yukka Lab, a F10 alumni, we are testing an AI enabled super powerful research engine to exploit the potential in different field such as market research/benchmarking; investment/risk management; customer insights and underwriting.
• Still in this space, we have been implementing with Enterprise BOT, another F10 alumni, various Chat Bots with the aim to improve quality of customer service and to facilitate the work of the customer service representatives.
«We believe that partnerships between Corporates and startups create value, for both parties and from different point of views. At the end the success will be based on being able to unlock some of this value on both sides,and eventually retain some.” Pietro Carnevale, CEO of HITS
Even though there’s a long road ahead and we are still figuring out the perfect formula, most KPIs that we measure compared to previous year are giving positive signals. We expanded our startup ecosystem 6X and our deliverycapacity 4X; lastly, we’re experiencing a low failure rate (below 30%), which means we should innovate even more.