Interview With Christian Wiens
Describe your product or service:
“Technology is the driving force behind Getsafe. Many of the new generations of customers demand a digital experience that reduces complexity – without piles of paperwork and long conversations with brokers. This is exactly what we do: We digitise the entire insurance process and make it accessible through our top-rated smartphone app. We currently offer liability, contents, legal, car, and dental insurance (among others) in Germany, and home contents insurance in the UK. Via the app, customers can buy, manage, and adapt their policies as well as file a claim on the go – all in just a few seconds.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Getsafe is on a mission to reinvent how people do insurance, building the radically best insurance experience at their fingertips. We help people identify, organise, and protect what they care most about in life with a completely new, delightful insurance experience on the smartphone.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“We did get funded by angel investors initially, but we have just concluded our Series B funding of venture capital at $93 million. In total, Getsafe to date has raised more than $115 million.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“At Getsafe, we are a young and very international team with 150 people of more than 25 different nationalities. We have different cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds, but we have a common goal: We want to change the way people see and use insurance. My co-founder Marius Simon is [the] CTO of Getsafe, and I am the CEO. Our team is spread across Germany, and we also have people working remotely from the UK. We have successfully adapted to the hybrid working mode that came with the pandemic and are in the process of growing our team even further.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and make a difference in the world. As a teen, I started a musical school with my brother that was based on students teaching each other. Later, I founded gourmeo.com, a table-booking service for restaurants that we successfully sold. I’m also involved as a business angel, supporting startups such as nuwo and One Dental.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“It all started when I broke my landlord's glass door, and I went back to my parents' house to check whether this was covered by one of their insurance policies. We went through all of the binders only to realise that we knew less than we did going in. The hassle that insurance meant really stuck with me, it annoyed me as a customer, and so the idea came to revolutionise this massive industry. I met my co-founder Marius via a Facebook group for aspiring founders. He was organising a meet & greet and I was the only one who showed up. We really hit it off and Marius shared my vision (as well as my frustration with conventional insurance), so we got right into it. The confidence that we were on the right track came as we found investors who believed in our vision and as we proved the marketability and success of our business model on the market itself.”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“To begin with, we pivoted from being an insurance broker that resells insurance to being a full-stack insurance carrier. This transition meant that we had to let some people go because we needed completely different know-how, and that was tough. Another challenge is to scale a company in times of COVID-19. Within the last 12 months, we have doubled the size of our team. It takes plenty of creativity and lots of communication to foster our great company culture while setting up a hybrid working environment that works for everybody. And last: We are up for a marathon. Insurance is a long-term business. As a tech start-up, we naturally are very fast and agile, and sometimes it is frustrating to see how slow the processes in the insurance world can be.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“We make insurance for digital natives. The demand for digital solutions is more significant than age. Nevertheless, most of our customers are in their mid to late twenties. Often, the term ‘generation smartphone’ or ‘millennials’ is used. The smartphone revolution hasn’t ended yet – people want to be able to do everything on their phones, and this includes insurance.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Comparison websites are a good opportunity for many people to get information. We have excellent partnerships with many major comparison portals. Due to our entirely digital value creation, we can offer structurally better prices and have a competitive advantage over traditional providers on these platforms. Getsafe isn’t the highest-ranked provider on these websites for nothing. We are a direct insurer, meaning we do our own policy administration and claim processing without a middle man. This still holds true when customers purchase our offers digitally via one of these websites. However, many customers already find us organically. That’s great news and shows that we truly satisfy the needs of a digital generation.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“The number of customers who hold at least one active insurance policy is a generally rich indicator. But we want to offer holistic insurance coverage in the long run. This means that we don’t necessarily want to target as many customers as possible. We want to have a relationship with our customers that is based on mutual trust so that they will get all of their insurance coverage from Getsafe – meaning we are happy when we cross-sell our products and a customer buys multiple policies from us.”