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Advisors: The only thing you can’t find on Google
#startup
POSTED ON:
October 14, 2021
Previously on Draivn…

Draivn is shaping its concept and product vision. To fail and start again from the new beginning. To understand, “what’s in a name.” To tell you another part of this year-long story. And here it goes.

Zahar: Well, as you remember from our previous post, Alex and I have, unexpectedly, hit the first wall. This Great Wall wasn’t built by the Chinese, like most of what we see nowadays, but ourselves. The concept we were 100% sure about didn’t agree with insurers’ thinking.

Hitting a wall is always a pain for such enthusiastic and ambitious founders, like us. Luckily we had a card up our sleeve. Before it even started, we agreed that not a single failure was gonna stop or slow us down. So we welcomed this one with open arms and turned it to our benefit.

We held “f....k-up” brainstorming, not to add something new, but to figure out what was wrong. And we did it. Neither software, nor hardware let us down, but the lack of domain expertise. We knew telematics, software development, startups, but still were aliens to the world of insurers.

We believed Google will make us experts, as he did thousands of times. But to understand insurers, you need more than searching the web in and out. You have to live like insurers, act and talk like them, insure someone in the end.

But we didn’t have time for that. No matter how strong our intention was, we couldn’t gain deep knowledge and understanding of the insurance and finance industry by ourselves. This meant that we needed help from the outside. At that very moment, a missing part of our team became clear – an advisor with strong expertise in insurance, mobility, and business (ideally).

But “Who are you gonna call?”
And how?

Target locked, shots fired. Who is a Top Gun? We are the Top Gun!

TAGS:
Draivn, startup ,
entrepreneurship
open mobility, advisor
With such an attitude, we pursued industry veterans with huge expertise and experience in insurance and mobility, open for communication and cooperation with us. And what is even more important, there should be a synergy between us.

Easier said than done. But we made a step ahead, dove deep into the world of insurance, and started our exciting journey underneath. To make a long story short, after months of research, chats, emails, and online conversations, traditionally we took some knocks.

Alex: Being at heart rather creative natures, who prefer to improvise in building relations and meaningful connections, we needed one thing I was best at – good-old FRAMEWORKS. This old-fashioned consistent approach and basic marketing knowledge allowed elaborating this step-by-step plan:

1. Draw the portrait of your ideal advisor – background, skills, personal qualities, etc. You should clearly understand WHY you need him and WHAT do you want from him. Otherwise, you’ll sink in irrelevant conversations. Consider this point if the “number of calls and emails” is not your KPI.
2. Define the channels to reach the right people. Despite my belief that meetings and industry events work better, being in Minsk during the pandemic left us no choice but to go online. At least, we were trying to make LinkedIn and Emails as human and personalized as possible.
3. Prepare the list of people you would like to reach. Consider it a sales funnel, and keep track of your conversations and results. It is worth treating advisors as your long-term partners, which means being prepared that conversion would be rather low.
4. Reach out! Warm intros work best. But don’t be frustrated if you have “No”. Well-prepared adequate cold outreach won’t do any harm. You will face it thousands of times while selling your product to customers, so master it. You can start with “Hello, my name is…).”
5. Start building relations. Bar-crawling is not on the agenda, so don’t hurry up. An extra hour of talking to your potential advisor might save you both much more in the future.
6. Negotiate the deal, when you feel there’s chemistry between you. There is no formula of how to measure it – it’s just a gut feeling. If you have no, most likely you should consider another job than startup founder.
And yes, the deal structure depends on multiple factors: your and the advisors’ expectations, the level of commitment, project maturity, etc. There is no standard framework, though you can find many of them on the Internet. So pick up, adjust, and negotiate.

Moving within the framework, we outperformed ourselves! Looking for one advisor, we got two experts in insurance, mobility, and finance. Ex-colleagues, board members, soulmates, they brought our experience in insurance to a new level – 99 LVL, to be precise.

Theo Bouts and Reto Marta shaping insurance in Zurich, Allianz, Aegon, Swiss Re and now revolutionizing it with Draivn.

Today, when it’s been almost a year since we started working together, we see Theo and Reto as integral parts of Draivn and our team, driving Draivn through the trials and tribulations of the industry.

Why did they choose Draivn? Here are 5 main reasons, as told by Reto:

1) I think Draivn truly provides a service with great potential that is really providing benefits.
2) I am excited about the potential and power of data in motor insurance and mobility.
3) I liked both Alex and Zahar immediately and imagined it could be fun working with them “beside the fact that I am also learning on telematics, data, etc.”
4) I am getting older and I like to share my know-how and my mindset for innovation.
5) I like to disrupt insurance.

This story is “About us,” not “For.” That’s why we want every startup traveling the same road to avoid all mistakes that we’ve made. And here are just a few.

- Don’t write multiple emails at a time or double-check them. You may call somebody David, while he’s not David. Sorry, David ;)
- Don’t forget to check partners’ reputations. Otherwise, you will find yourself in abusive relationships.
- Post everywhere, when you finally on-board an advisor. And tag everybody. Even your mum. She will be proud of you.
- Be bold. Want Allianz CEO to become your advisor? Just ask him – what he was waiting for it for the whole life? Who knows.
- Welcome failures. They are the fuel for a business-machine like you.
- Not everybody will be glad to become an advisor of your super-cool project. Not everybody will even answer you. It doesn’t mean that your startup is not super-cool. They just don’t get it. So prove they are wrong.
- Listen more, talk less.

Thanks for reading. Follow Draivn on LinkedIn for more stories and industry insights, or make friends with Alex and Zahar on social media to ask a question. Stay innovative!
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