Our ‘start-up’ has been selling policies now for 12 months, a perfect time to reflect on how those 12 months have gone. The reflection below is honest and open, the good and the bad.
1. We’ve sold policies every single trading day (and most non-trading days), since we launched
This is something we’re really proud of. InvestSure created and launched a world first product. We had no idea if there would be demand for our product, but we thought it was could work. Thinking and knowing are world’s apart, and now we know. We’ve protected investors from losses exceeding 50%, and haven’t cost anyone more than 0.56%, in most cases much less (as their whole portfolio may not be insured and we refund the pro-rata remainder of the 0.56% annual premium when an investor sells their shares). Where an event does occurred, clients don’t lose their investments nor do they feel dis-enchanted with investing equities, one of the best sources of wealth creation. This double edged benefit is the main advantage our clients have over ordinary investors.
2. Lead-times in South Africa are extremely long
We’ve been invited to attend and participate in quite a few government / business / start-up discussions over the course of the year. At all these conferences we hear of the “commitment” from South African established businesses to make use of innovative offerings and support start-ups. In our 12 months we have never been turned down from a platform we’ve approached to put the product onto, but none of them show this commitment that they give lip-service to. The main problem we find is that calendars are ‘too full’, so it takes 2 months to get a meeting (frankly ridiculous, and a life-time for a start-up), internal processes take months (in one case 2 years???) and most people below CEO level are scared to take decisive action; in case they fail and some one in the organisation gets promoted ahead of them. Better to do nothing than to fail is the attitude – a terrible attitude for progressive business. Once a CEO speaks though, everyone is all action and trying to take the lead. Sad but true – we hope to see this change. We want to integrate with all the major trading platforms in the country, but lead times are giving us headaches – if you are in a position to get the InvestSure product onto a platform in SA, don’t hesitate to make contact.
3. South African Venture Capital is alive and well, and the SA SME fund is a big opportunity for innovative ideas
We raised just under R10 million during the course of the year, from 3 different players – an insurance company, a private equity company and a venture capital fund. All these people have been fantastic to do business with and we personally found them all very willing to fund a good idea that has shown decent execution to date. Execution is a big point for these players, and probably where a lot of newcomers fall down. The other major hurdle for start-ups is the very early stage funding, which we managed to navigate in 2017. Venture capital is available at this early stage too, it just might cost you a bit more equity (but rather have 10% of something than 100% of nothing). We also find that venture capital is very pro-founders, meaning they want to be able to invest in your company, but leave the founders with the majority share. Don’t despair if you’re in a start-up and struggling – the eco-system is developing and there are already multiple avenues to take, do your research. The SA SME fund initiative should also help with availability of start-up funding.
4. I.T. is a nerve wracking business
Anyone who’s been involved in an IT project will know that things usually run late. The amount of times we’ve put an IT requirement in the week it’s due scares us, as humans. There’s no room for error. So far so good though, well done to our IT team!
We’ve been working on InvestSure since 1 January 2017 and selling policies since 18 May 2018. Only 1 year into that and we see a lot of opportunity and challenges on the road ahead. Hopefully in 1 year we have seen improved response time from South African big business and are protecting investors in Australia and the UK – watch this space! We’re really pleased to have paid claims saving investors 50% in some cases, and we hope that when the next major scandal occurs we are able to protect even more wealth – no one wants to lose money and especially not to fraud.
Look for InvestSure on your investment platform / ask your stock broker for protection.
The InvestSure Team