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Draivn by Fintech Innovation Lab.
Now we fly high!
#accelerator #PFNYC #accenture
July 6, 2022
Draivn has just broken the tape of FinTech Innovation Lab New York acceleration program. Jumping ahead, we consider it one of the best communities a startup can approach, and it’s not only because we were a success there. Now let’s get closer to the point.
accelerator, pfnyc accenture, startup
What is an acceleration program?
First of all, the notion is not new to us, as we have gone through InsurTech Hub Munich at the onset of Draivn, and we still maintain close channels between each other. We were excited then, and now even more. That’s why we are positively biased towards acceleration programs.

At their core accelerators are initiatives help startup or scaleup companies shape their value proposition, find product-market fit, and validate hypotheses for customer and market challenges. Most importantly, accelerators could link startups with potential customers to help them find mutual touchpoints and figure out the best way to work together.

If you want, acceleration program is like a college for startups that squeezes years-long journeys to success to a few weeks.
How did the program look for us?
After analyzing our activities throughout the program, we came to a conclusion that for us everything revolved around mentors.

Mentors represent the program’s corporate partners – usually, big financial organizations. If they are interested in a project presented by a startup, they pick it up to mentor. And Draivn was lucky to be chosen by four major US financial organizations – three of them were insurance companies. Even if you are far away from insurance industry, you’ve heard of them, for sure.
What’s so special about FinTech Innovation Lab New York?
The program was founded by the Partnership Fund for New York City and Accenture and covers the whole US in the financial and insurance niches. Considering Draivn’s focus on the US commercial auto insurance domain, for us it’s like sitting on a gold mine. If that’s not enough for you, here are some figures:

✅ Being launched in 2011, it’s one of the most mature initiatives of this kind.
✅ It brings together 40+ US financial organizations with dozens of years of experience in the domain.
✅ It has 1 goal – to help companies like Draivn find their places in the corporate world and make it to the top.

Sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it?
Intro sessions
Being tenacious, we held several intro sessions with each mentor, where we shared the details about our product, proposition, goals, problems, and doubts.

The result was a detailed 3-month action plan that presupposed dozens of meetings and mentor sessions to eradicate all the challenges on our way. It looked great on paper, but it appeared to be 100 times more exciting in reality.

Data collection
Following the intro sessions, we had the list of stakeholders who could give valuable feedback on our solutions, help us validate hypotheses, and learn the actual problems that insurers face. We had an ambitious task to reach and explore every department of the insurance company, associated with the product like ours – innovation, underwriting, IT, telematics, procurement.

It’s not a stretch to say we reached everyone there – from telematics and mobility specialists to commercial auto underwriters and procurement managers. The results were above our expectations, as Draivn team:

✅ Got feedback from specialists at every level of the insurance company and from their professional perspective;
✅ Learned how to pitch Draivn in front of different stakeholders, which is highly important considering the number of departments we approach when introducing our product.
✅ Understood the problems that insurance companies face and the way they affect operations and sales.

The latter point is the most important, as now we know how to implement Draivn to solve these problems.

A typical approach to figuring out a problem/solution, you may say. But during the program, we could do this within literally a day, while it would take us months to achieve the same on our own.

Executives and entrepreneurs in residence
Apart from the insurance companies, we had an opportunity to work with the leaders and experts in the financial, insurance, and venture industry. It granted us any kind of advice and support from the best in insurance, finances, investment, cyber-security, legal, and other areas.

And this was a priceless experience, as we got various perspectives on the current state of Draivn and our roadmap for the next few years. These meetings literally opened our eyes to the problems and opportunities we’ve been missing all these years and helped to shape Draivn as a solid solution.

Lectures, panels, and speed-dating
The meetings with mentors and EIRs were only a part of the program, complemented by regular events FinTech Lab held for all the alumnis, including webinars, lectures, and workshops. Just imagine how it a young entrepreneur:

  • Getting personal advice from the CEO of the world’s biggest private equity firms;
  • Learning how to properly build sales from a serial world class businessman;
  • Mastering best pitching practices with top US VCs.

Draivn team were these lucky young entrepreneurs that learned marketing, sales, legal, procurement, fundraising, regulations from the best firsthand.

And our personal favorite here were speed dating series with top-notch entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts, which appeared to be the most efficient way to build a network and shape our strategic vision.

A tough schedule for 12 weeks, right? Yes, it was. So, if you are planning to be a part of the program and benefit from it, get yourself and your time ready for:

✅ 30 meetings (23 hours) with our mentors;
✅ 24 meetings (20 hours) with our EIRs;
✅ 15 meetings (24 hours) with the whole team at FinTech Events.

But the thing is worth the effort.
If the results exceeded all our expectations? Hell, yeah!

Within just 3 months, we got to know dozens of professionals in Finances, Insurance, Sales, Marketing, Big Data, Investment, and Telematics.

More to this, our first-degree connections introduced us to even more people expanding our network geometrically. But it’s not the number of people that excited us most, but the feeling of openness and support that the community gave us. It was a blast and the most valuable thing we got.
The understanding of the insurance industry
Moreover, we got answers to three major questions:

✅ How the commercial auto insurance landscape looks from inside out?
✅ How it works?
✅ How big insurers make decisions?

This knowledge helped us see their way of thinking, perception, and how their system of coordinates works.

Problem, solution, and value proposition
Though the problems we are solving for insurance companies seemed to be obvious to us, the program let us see them from our customers’ angle. And this little twist drastically changed our proposition – starting from the product functionality and ending up with the value proposition.

Ideas and validation
Within the previous 2 years, we have stated numerous assumptions about how the industry works, its challenges and needs. And the program was the perfect place to discuss, put to the test, and validate them. More to this, we’ve come up with even more interesting ideas and techs. And we look forward to bringing them to life.

Mmm, this sweet thing all startups are looking for. During the program we've figured out and validated our major use cases with commercial auto insurance companies and are on our way to put them into action via the first pilots. And this sounds good!
The results
Summing it up, we should say that FinTech Innovation Lab is a must-have program for any Fintech or Insurtech startup. This is a real accelerator that squeezes years of product, business, and customer development into super-saturated and efficient 12 weeks. This is a perfect place to:
✅ Expand your professional network with world class professionals and experts.
✅ Validate your ideas, shape your product, value proposition, and find tracktion.
✅ If you are raising or planning to raise, learn about all the investment opportunities and processes. The program will guide you through the process and get in touch with the relevant investors.
✅ Deeply understand your market, the stakeholders, and how the industry works from the inside out.
✅ Meet wonderful and super-supportive people and enjoy one of the best initiatives for startups in the world.

And if you are building a program for start-up companies outside the US, you should look to FinTech Innovation Lab UK and APAC to model your venture.

Special thanks to:
Maria Gotsch, Morteza Hemani, Yasmin Lalani - you handled it perfectly well.
✅ Our mentors, every minute with you was priceless.
✅ Our EIRs - Felix Kühlmann, Maria Vullo, David Mordecai, Andy Brown, Charles Blauner, Jonah Crane, Cris Conde - it was blast.
✅ Fellow startups -CoverForce, Draivn, Evercity, Ion Channel, LeapXpert, Mark Labs, Messari, Railz, SoLo Funds, Straylight Systems it was a pleasure to share the stage with you.
✅ All the great and bright folks we met during he program - we are looking forward to developing our relations!
Summing it up
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