Interviewed Company: Digital Fineprint
Sector: insurance, data analytics
Interview Wednesday 12th July 2017
Interview with Erik Abrahamsson
Subjects: data analytics, performance marketing, social media data, brexit, disruption,
Digital Fineprint saw a gap in the insurance market and developped a more targeted approach for insurers to find suitable clients for their insurance products, as Erik put it Digital Fineprint are an, “enabler in the (insurance) industry, which is in itself disruptive.”
Erik explains that “old fashioned” insurance marketing methods simply don’t cut it any more, such as “sponsoring a rugby team and thinking it will get results.” Erik informs Fintnews that in reality, the average person interacts with social media “for at least an hour per day” so it make sense to use social media analytics to enhance insurer’s marketing performance.
Digital Fineprint works by taking advantage of the data that “social autofill” already provides. When filling out online forms, for example, social media users can opt to “auto fill their details.” In Digital Fineprint’s case these are insurance forms which user’s “autofill using details from …existing social media profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook” to save time.
In addition, users agree for their data to be analysed when opting to autofill, for Erik this is a huge advantage over other models of data analytics which Erik states are “unethical” and “scrape” more often than not, “inaccurate data without the user’s consent.”
Digital Fineprint are “data driven” innovating the insurance industry by using data analytics to tell insurers who “is the right person to influence.” The insurance companies can then pursue this demographic via targeted advertising to sell their insurance packages. Digital Fineprint’s clients include the world’s largest insurer Allianz, where Digital Finprint have successfully completed their accelerator programme and Hiscox, to name only a few.
Digital Fineprint has an international team of eight based in London, headed by Erik who himself is Swedish, and Erik adds that his CTO is a nationalised “British citizen originally from China”. Digital Fineprint currently operates in the UK and Singapore and has been continually “growing since year one.” From his experience, Erik believes that “insurers are even more willing to innovate in Singapore.”
Erik goes on to tell Fintnews of his expansion plans and wishes to go to the US and China in the near future. The type of social media is “different” in China, giving the example of “WeChat” (China’s answer to WhatsApp) with “one billion users…you can even book an uber through WeChat” Erik concludes that “WeChat is disruption.”
Another asian innovation which Erik describes as “very disruptive” is Tencent. The platform allows users to message money, manage utilities, engage with entertainment and more, Erik sees this as the tip of the iceberg for future innovation.
Fintnews: Brexit… any disruption from your point of view?
On a personal note, Swedish Erik says that he feels “less welcome” and believes that “10 years from now it (Brexit) will be seen as the biggest mistake in the history of the UK.” Erik says that in his opinion, businesses are becoming “more cautious about hiring employees” following the Brexit decision.
Seeing the positive of these uncertain and disruptive times. Erik says that you can “create a better company in disruptive times…as you can hire the best developers,” for example. It is also typically “cheaper to get an office” and Erik points out, leading swiftly into his next observation. “Entrepreneurs are born out of disruptive times”…the “best companies to come out of US are made in times of depression…for example Uber, Airbnb and Mcdonald’s”
Fintnews: Is there a formula for disruption?
Erik informs Fintnews that infact “most companies who call themselves disruptors aren’t…they need to be able to quantify” it.
Erik states that “all great entrepreneurs go from rejection to rejection…without losing enthusiasm.” It was this willingness to persevere and also having a “process to deal with rejection” that lead to the creation of Digital Fineprint. Overall, they pitched to around “140 investors”, with “20 actually investing” in his concept.
There is “no such thing as a new innovative idea” Citing the wheel as an example, “two ideas came together to make the third better idea.” This is a very valid point, everything is continually evolving and entrepreneurs are those who can see the bigger picture and use these initial ideas as a stepping stones to disrupt whole industries.
Fintnews: Looking 10 years into the future, what disruption do you predict?
Erik begins with an anecdote which occurred 12 years ago. In 2005 Erik listened to a group of MIT professors, “some of the smartest people in the world,” quite a compliment coming from a former Twitter employee and Oxford University alumnus, about their 30 year predictions for technology. The MIT professors claimed that “driving can’t be automated” within the next 30 years. Erik goes on to conclude by claiming, “we are building the future day by day” after all, driverless cars are indeed a reality today.
Secondly, Erik remembers when he asked his investor at Digital Fineprint “Why did you invest ?” his investor stated that Erik is “one of very few entrepreneurs…who look days/ weeks” into the future. Erik clarifies by saying that with a “short term focus you can take action immediately” and that to succeed you need to “combine long term growth with short term focus.”
Erik says that the technology and analytics methods that Digital Fineprint use can also be applied to the retail industry too in the future, to better target advertising…so watch this space.
Fintnews: Anything else to add?
We are about to start fundraising again with Eos Partners and Digital Fineprint “have always hit milestone from previous raises.” For the next round of fundraising Erik says that Digital Fineprint are “looking for strategic investors who know our space well” he adds that “the round will close in Q4 this year.”