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Aviva Canada and DMZ launch Insurtech accelerator program, applications sought


February 28, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Aviva Canada and the DMZ at Ryerson University are looking to answer the rise of Insuretech in the country’s insurance industry with the joint launch of an accelerator program for Canadian start-ups requiring rapid development.

“The future of our economy requires more than new products and services, but markets and systems that are capable of adopting and embracing innovation,” Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ at Ryerson, one of Canada’s largest business incubators for emerging tech start-ups, says in a joint statement Tuesday.

Related: Aviva Canada launches Pitch Day event; Aviva Ventures investing $180 million over five years in disruptive, high potential digital startups

Applications for the four-month accelerator program – open to innovative, early-stage Insurtech start-ups with a service or solution for insurance in any market sector – are now being accepted, the statement notes. Applications are due Apr. 3.

The focus of the intensive program, based at the DMZ in Toronto, will be to help six start-ups de-risk their company, develop their product market fit and drive innovation in their respective industry.

The partnership between Aviva Canada and DMZ is now in its second year. The partnership’s second year will be “dedicated to helping start-ups reach customer validation and development through direct access to a network of best-in-class mentors, partners and investors,” the statement notes.

Related: Insurtech platform revenues to approach US$235 billion by 2021, driven by machine learning and blockchain adoption: report

Aviva Canada chief information officer Ben Isotta-Riches reports that the new program creates “real opportunity to accelerate needed innovation in our industry and, ultimately, that’s good for insurance-buying consumers.”

The accelerator will provide, among other things, the following:

  • mentorship and industry expertise from Aviva Canada’s executives;
  • customized sales strategies for each start-up;
  • connections to prospective customers and partners;
  • workshops hosted by industry leaders; and
  • dedicated work space.

“After four months, each of the six start-ups will present to Aviva Canada executives and managing director at Aviva Ventures for an investment opportunity,” the statement notes.

Since launching in 2010, DMZ has incubated more than 266 start-ups, raised $280 million in seed funding, and fostered the creation of more than 2,562 jobs.

Related: Incumbent insurers need to understand the “ABCs of insurtech,” Novarica says