By Luca Wislsperger
In early 2018, we were lucky to be part of one of the Plug and Play programs to refine our strategies and business model and expand our network.
Plug and Play is the largest and best-known innovation platform that brings together startups and the largest companies in the world. Plug and Play is a so-called accelerator program, whose main goal is to find and invest in significant start-ups and act as an incubator for the young companies. Since their founding in 2006, they have partnered with 220 of the largest companies, including the DAX companies Adidas, Allianz, Bayer, Daimler and Siemens, with annual profits of between 1.7 and 8.8 billion euros. Together, they are constantly expanding their programs with the result that they show presence in 21 locations worldwide, including New York, Paris, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Munich.
Plug and Play leads theme-driven innovation platforms that are essentially industry-specific startup incubator platforms. This involves bringing together several companies within a specific subject area to jointly determine the focus of the program and manage the selection process. Among the start-ups that once went through one of the Plug and Play programs are Dropbox and Paypal.
The selection processThe selection of startups that have the privilege of participating in one of the programs is carried out through a multi-level process.
1. First, an application call is started before the program is executed. Usually, there are over 500-1000 startups, which either actively apply for the program or are proactively searched and contacted by Plug and Play itself.
2. The first detailed examination of the applications will be carried out by the Plug and Play experts. Here only the best 10% of the applicants go to the next round.
3. This list is then passed on to the main partners such as Unum, HDI, Deloitte and Allianz for a joint review. Approximately 40 of the original startups will be selected.
4. Afterwards, each company partner has the task of quantifying their interest in each startup using the Plug and Play evaluation system. This means the startup that the partners find best is rated with the highest value. The 20 startups with the best scores move on to the next phase, triggering the final phase of the program.
The program flowAfter the selection day, a 3-month curriculum starts in which the startups face mentor sessions, the refinement of the business model and the pitch polish, i.e. the improvement of the pitch deck as well as the quality of the presentation. The program ends with the so-called Summit. This is a 3-day event during which each startup pitches its now sophisticated business model in front of an experienced audience of over 1000 people, consisting of high-ranking representatives of partner companies, VCs and innovation enthusiasts. The event will be followed by a large networking session where the partners will have the opportunity to interact with the startups. The main aim is to find potential customers and investors and to consider potential cooperations.
Plug and Play differs considerably from traditional accelerator programs. Traditional programs basically pick up startups from different areas and teach them growth strategies and tactics. In return, they usually demand equity. Plug and Play, on the other hand, concentrates on certain industries, never demands equity from the startups and invests an average of 25,000 - 500,000 euros annually in about 160 of the startups that have gone through one of the programs. Not only do they help with strategy development, they also surround the startups with experts from the largest and most powerful companies in their industry in private deal sessions to increase the likelihood of corporate venture investments or even acquisitions. The startups are provided with full-stack teams dedicated to the success of the startups. These are not only leaders of the respective program, but also risk investors, community managers and business development specialists.
Founded in 2016, Insurtech is one of the largest industry-specific Plug and Play programs with 5 locations worldwide and the headquarters in Silicon Valley. With this program, Plug and Play has modernized an outdated industry by bringing together the best startups and the largest insurers on an innovation platform. Insurance affects the daily lives of all people. Demand never fades and it's time to revive the lifecycle of this industry through innovation. In early 2018, the program was officially launched for the first time in Munich. The platform in Munich was developed in cooperation with some of Plug and Play's most experienced partners: Allianz, Munich Re, Talanx, Versicherungskammer Bayern, Swiss Re and Insurtech Hub Munich. The Munich platform is designed to bring new Insurtech solutions and innovations into the heart of Europe and promote economic development with a focus on first-class insurance companies.
In March 2018, out of hundreds of applications, 16 startups were announced to participate in the Insurtech program in Munich - including us!
Especially with our roof and photovoltaic inspections using drones, we are revolutionizing the traditional methods of performing inspections for insurance companies.
For roof inspections, our services range from simple reports on the condition of roofs to precise damage analyses, for example in the event of storm, hail or fire damage. FairFleet not only provides detailed results and analyses, but above all safety, since it is no longer necessary for suerveyors to climb on roofs at risk of collapse and endanger themselves. Algorithms provide automated analyses of aerial photographs and list all damage to the building clearly, which is transmitted digitally to the customer.
In addition to other circumstances, the purchase of an existing photovoltaic system, for example, is often accompanied by a change in insurance. Here, it is essential to examine the system for any damage. Such a system status report with FairFleet's drone surveys is not only faster and more efficient than traditional methods, but also more cost-effective. In addition, apart from obvious problems such as shadowing by adjacent flora, even the smallest discrepancies, such as bird droppings, can be pinpointed and identified with the aid of aerial photography. This is ensured, for example, by thermographic images taken with the aid of an infrared camera that measures the thermal radiation of the plant. Even the smallest temperature differences indicate discrepancies, which FairFleet then analyzes and lists in a digital report.
The Plug and Play Insurtech program was a very enriching experience for us and we are especially happy that all startups will remain part of the Plug and Play family even after the program has been completed. We are honored to be part of this family.
Because of the program we developed our cooperation with the VKB, which you can read about here.
If you want to see our CEO Florian Waubke pitching at one of the Plug and Play events, watch the video!
Special thanks to Xenia Poppe, Kilian Specker, Carolin Doering, Johannes Wagner and Gijs Dutry van Haeften for the successful cooperation within the program!