September 11th, 2019

First impressions from the MetLife Accelerator

Everyone at Blockclaim was immensely proud to hear that the company had been selected from a pool of thousands to be one of nine participants in the 2019 MetLife Digital Accelerator. A month in, we catch up with some of the participants to find out how the program is going so far and whom they have met.

A little background

Techstars is a mentor-based startup accelerator that was founded in 2006 by four of the best known entrepreneurs and investors in America. Since its inception, the company has welcomed more than 1,600 startups into its various programs. That sounds like a big number, but it actually represents just one percent of applicants. MetLife, meanwhile, is a Fortune 50 company with a global presence, and one of the most influential companies in the financial services space.

The MetLife Digital Accelerator is one of a range of programs that Techstars runs each year. It is focused squarely on the insurtech sector and the innovations it can bring to the entire insurance industry. The 2019 program is focused on businesses that are exploring new areas of insurtech, especially in areas that involve digitizing processes, creating new products and reaching out to new customers.

Meeting the mentors

The team has had the opportunity to work with and learn from the following mentors, each of whom brings something unique to the insurtech table.

  • Tim Attia is the CEO and founder of Slice, an insurtech start-up that has already raised $35 million. Tim has been able to provide first-hand insights on the practicalities of scaling an insurtech business.
  • Todd Olsen is a serial entrepreneur with a range of business successes on his CV. The most recent is Pendo, a B2B software company that has raised in excess of $100 million to date. Todd has proved to be a fountain of knowledge on a range of topics, and he clearly gets a real kick from helping fellow entrepreneurs stay on the road to success.
  • Eric Latalladi is MetLife’s CTO. You can’t help noticing how young Eric is, and the fact that he has risen to such a senior role so quickly tells its own story. Eric is a great source of knowledge and inspiration, particularly on matters of compliance.
  • Chris Smith is MetLife’s Head of Global Operations. He also happens to be the man voted mentor of the year from last year’s program, so it is an enormous privilege to work with him. Chris’s insights in areas of product building and strategy will be lessons that last a lifetime.

Feedback from the team

It’s been non-stop action from the team since they arrived in North Carolina, but we managed to catch up with them for a few quick words. Everyone agreed that the workload was higher than expected, but as Brice remarked, that in itself serves as a driver to finding better ways of working and optimizing.

Raphael feels that the program has opened his eyes to new possibilities – and that the mentors have shown that anything is possible. He also commented that spending social time chatting with the mentors over coffee has proved just as valuable as the more formal program activities.

We also had a quick word with Greg. He described the mentors as incredible, and said his only regret so far is that he’s not been able to meet even more of them.

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