A Des Moines insuretech startup is crossing the pond to new clients, thanks to Denim’s new partnership with London-based Startupbootcamp CoLab InsurTech (SBC CoLab).
Through the CoLab program, SBC serves as a mediator between startups already providing services to clients, and corporations seeking smaller partners to address technical needs within the company. SBC does not invest in the tech companies that join the CoLab program, but it will connect Denim with corporations that operate in the UK and South Africa.
“It’s not an accelerator program. It is specifically a co-lab program, otherwise known as a co-creation process,” Denim founder/CEO Greg Bailey said. “This is a focus or a collaborative-type of process where … a growth-stage technology company interacts with a corporate enterprise and incumbent to identify what their biggest pain points are, what their gaps are in their offering, and then how we as a technology company can meet those needs.”
“It’s a good old-fashioned partnership that makes for a matchmaking service, essentially,” he added.
Denim, a micro-targeted marketing platform tailored specifically for insurance and finance industries, connected with the SBC CoLab during founder Greg Bailey’s trip to a Hartford, Connecticut SBC insuretech accelerator, Bailey said.
“They became aware of us as part of that trip, and they reached out to us and recruited us, essentially” for the SBC CoLab program, Bailey said.
Denim representatives spent a few weeks in the selection process for SBC CoLab, and starting in January, Bailey will spend two separate weeks in London meeting SBC CoLab’s corporate partnerships in insurance and financial services.
“Part of this partnership is an acceleration of a typical sales process. It may otherwise take us, on average, anywhere between a month and six months to go through a process with a typical vendor,” Bailey said.
The company has known international expansion was coming since Denim was founded in 2015, Bailey said; Denim representatives are also speaking with financial service companies in southeast Asia and Canada.
“Separate from this specific partnership, 2019 holds a lot of international expansion opportunities for us,” Bailey said.
During that expansion, Denim will have to meet expectations under the GDPR regulations enacted in early 2018 like every other tech company doing business under the European Union.
“The way we handle data, the way we structure things, they do not believe that we’ll be held to the standard of GDPR. So we think that’s initially good news, but we’re going there with the mindset that we’re going to validate that,” Bailey said.
While the SBC and Denim both agree that Denim’s methods likely won’t be impacted by GDPR, Bailey said Denim and corporate partners will continue to reassess Denim’s methods as it goes through the SBC CoLab initiative.
“Do we have the right processes and technology and business methods in place, or do we need to change them? If we need to change them, we are absolutely prepared to do that,” Bailey said. “We’ll be able to say at the end of this without any question, ‘yes, we’re good to go with GDPR.’”
“Here in the US, we don’t have a law specific to that yet across the land. There’s likely going to be something coming down the pipe, I would think, at some future point in time,” he added. “We think it’s better to get over there, interact with those that are over there, and figure out how to model our business and our technology in such a way that we can meet the highest standard.”