Interview With Hadi Radwan
Describe your product or service:
“We sell insurance online. Our focus is on income insurance products that protect someone's income in case of disability or death.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our mission is to make income insurance accessible to everyone in the US.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Series A ($10 million); seed money ($5 million).”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I have been working in the insurance industry for more than 10 years ago and have seen all the pain points that the customers and the carriers have faced. I wanted to make a difference in this, but timing wasn't on my side. In 2019, we came across a line of business that was underpenetrated called disability insurance, and based on market research, we found out that the current size is much smaller than the potential size. So we focused our effort to build a company around how we can make this much larger and reach a wider audience.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“‘Asteya’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘non-stealing.’ When it comes to non-stealing, we instantly think of the obvious – don't take money from someone, or anything else for that matter! A lot of customers think that insurance companies take their money without giving them anything in return immediately. They are selling a promise. We wanted to reflect that is not the case, and we want to show people that when they buy from us, the goal is not only to add value with a policy but also other matters such as health-related content and [access] to products that they didn't know they need.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes. My grandfather was a tinkerer. He had started multiple businesses, and I like the independence he had. I happen to be a curious person who likes to solve problems. I found out when I was very young that I liked to create things but had the tendency to get bored immediately. So I started my career as a financial consultant because that gives you discipline and structure, something you need if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Funding has always been the most challenging. There is a lot of money in the world that wants to be invested, and there is plenty of competition around who can attract it. My strategy is to reach out to as many investors as possible and try to show them that there is a real business that is being built on solid foundation.”
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Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“30–55-year-olds who have an income to protect.”
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“We do a lot of B2B marketing through email marketing, webinars, sponsorships, and social media content marketing.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We use a B2B2C strategy whereby we onboard agencies that have access to customers. We work with them to show them the value of our platform and product and make it very easy for them to sell our products.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Premium booked, average commission earned, customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘How I Did It’ by Guy Raz. ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ by Tony Robbins.”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“The bumps are more than the smooth rides.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Be aware that you need to carve out time for yourself and your family and then set boundaries. I am very organized on when to work and when not to. I also have set rituals that I follow to keep myself healthy and in good shape, mentally and physically.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“Cleaning toilets. The importance of education, staying curious, and doing what it takes to be knowledgeable and wise.”
More on Asteya
Hadi Radwan, founder of insurtech startup Asteya, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.