On Wednesdays, we startup.
To celebrate our women-identifying founders, we’ve put together ‘On Wednesdays, we startup’, a blog series dedicated to putting women founders centre stage to acknowledge their work, complexities and wins!
We hope to push women-founder stories forward and share lessons learned and insights for other aspiring women entrepreneurs.
This week, we had the pleasure of chatting with Kata Ludvig, the Founder of Baoba, to learn more about her startup and how she’s modernizing the insurance industry to keep up with expectations of the 21st century customer.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you founded Baoba?
I spent my early career working across various Fortune 500 companies, including Mercedes, Red Bull and Walt Disney. I was first exposed to the world of startups when I co-founded BankZee, a family banking solution for Generation Zers and their parents. I then led Flight Refund as CEO, a legal aid solution for travelers and also consulted for location intelligence and deeptech company Datapolis where I spearheaded business development in Singapore. It was only last December I finally decided to take the plunge and found my current startup Baoba.
It was actually during my time at Flight Refund, where we dealt with delay-related airline compensation cases, that I saw the need for flexible travel protection as an aftermath of the pandemic. Three weeks after I had joined the company as CEO, over 90% of planes were grounded due to the pandemic. This is when the significance of financial protection and the need for flexible insurance really hit me and it inspired me to radically rethink insurance products beyond airline delays. Users today don’t have access to personalized insurance coverages – it’s still a one-size-fits-all product. In a world where we customize almost every aspect of our lives, insurance coverage was falling behind.
What exactly is Baoba’s mission?
Baoba is on a mission to change the way insurance is sold – we believe that the insurance industry needs to catch up to the expectations of the 21st century customer.
Baoba is offering what today’s customers need – a personalized and automated on-demand service that can insure. By providing personalized insurance that can adapt to our customers’ habits and lifestyles, we hope to become the global ecosystem orchestrator for intermediaries and resellers for on-demand insurance needs.
Despite Baoba being an early stage startup, you’ve already set up shop in Canada, the United States and Hungary. How has your experience been working across global markets? How important was it for you to have a global presence?
The decision to break into new markets was not only a conscious decision made by the company, but a necessity due to the nature of the industry. Our distributors and insurance partners operate internationally, so we had to make our products available globally and adopt a multi-market mindset from the get-go. We have an international team scattered across the world spanning Hungary, Italy, Turkey, France, Costa Rica and the United States.
While working globally has its benefits it also has its difficulties as well, including administering payroll and working across timezones. Public facing efforts also need to be managed more carefully, like public relations in different countries and multilingual customer support.
Our global presence is also extremely important from an investment perspective. Being a CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) Founder, it’s tough to break into the North American market. However, we’ve been able to attract talent, partners and angel investors from all over the world. I have no doubt that the DMZ will play a huge role in supporting us as we break into new markets and finesse our North-American go-to-market strategy.
The insurtech market has skyrocketed globally, projected to reach nearly $190 billion CAD by 2030. Could you tell us a little about the momentum the industry is facing?
It’s easy for millennials and Gen Zers to take personalized products and services for granted, as this has become the norm. Today, almost every aspect of our lives is customizable, and the financial and banking industries have been cashing in on this movement.
Insurance at its core is a hassle for most of us, as a result of inconveniences such as manual claims processing, lengthy documents, confusing language, unclear conditions, and long payout processes.
Insurtechs have not only recognized that there is an issue to solve, but have also identified opportunities to improve the insurance value chain. This ranges from improving claims processes, to AI and machine learning-driven solutions, to data-driven fraud detection and customizable insurance products.
Baoba recently announced a partnership with Blink Parametrics to roll-out a flight-delay solution. What exactly does this new partnership mean for Baoba?
Our partnerships with Blink Parametric enables us to further expand our client portfolios with valuable, automated and on-demand travel insurances that are supported by claim processing and real-time pay-out solutions. This is our sweet spot – where world-class insurtech and customer experience collides.
Now our partners can connect to our platform with a single API to embed parametric products or sell standalone products.
What advice would you give founders looking to break into the insurtech space?
- Think fresh – A background in insurance isn’t necessary, having a novel idea and asking the right questions are your way in. Someone who has worked in the industry for say, 20 years might be too comfortable to shine light on a new perspective that reflects the needs of the current market.
- Know your purpose – Narrow down a clear value proposition and strategy, and focus on building that. As you grow, you will be presented with many opportunities and emerging innovations in various areas of the industry. It can be very tempting to differentiate and try to tackle several areas, but you don’t want to take away from your core offerings, values and promises.
- It’s a small world – Despite being a global industry, insurance industry insiders are well-connected through incumbents, insurtechs, challengers and investors. It’s crucial to network and build strong relationships, as well as have a solid unique selling proposition.
What’s next in store for Baoba?
Baoba’s next steps include closing an upcoming seed round of $1.5M USD and expanding into North America. We are also looking for niche talent working at the cusp of data science and insurance to help us flesh out an intricate product strategy and bridge our minimum viable product with our five year vision.
Head over to Baoba’s website to learn more about how Kata is revolutionizing the insurance industry.