Protechting, an accelerator program servicing a corporate group
The InsurTech world is composed of startups seeking to develop products and solutions that can improve our relationship to insurance, providing a better experience and adequacy relating to risk. These young companies may, during their journey, benefit from different initiatives. An accelerator program is one of them. To better understand why a conglomerate decides to sponsor an acceleration program and the reasons that motivate startups to participate, Vincent Van De Winckel, TDI News Correspondent in Portugal, met José Villa de Freitas, Marketing Manager at Fidelidade, responsible for the operation of Protechting.
Vincent Van De Winckel: The fourth edition of Protechting is being prepared. Can you explain what Protechting is, its origin and how it has evolved?
José Villa de Freitas: Protechting was born as a project of collaboration and support to entrepreneurship in Portugal, for startups, from Fosun and Fidelidade. The first year was a year of analysis, of study, of taking position on the ground. Now we are clearly looking for startups and partners who can develop pilots with Fosun group companies in 3 areas: InsurTech, Fintech and Healthtech. Fidelidade is the main sponsor with respect to everything connected with InsurTech. Luz Saúde, part of the Fidelidade group, is the main sponsor of everything relating to Healthtech, and, in collaboration with the German bank Hauck & Aufhauser that is part of the Fosun group, we also deal with fintech. Therefore Protechting is born precisely with this purpose; the need for Fosun to have a presence in these areas, in the European countries where it is present.
What are we looking for? We started by looking for startups who could work with us or work for the market. Now we are clearly looking for more mature startups with which we can do pilot projects. The proof of this is that currently, we, Fidelidade, are in pilot with two startups: one in the area of the chatbots connected to AI, Visor.ai that was born with Protechting, the other, Bdeo, a Spanish startup winner of the last edition, which is mostly linked to the video part and the use of video calling and video for insurance purposes.
As for Luz Saúde, they invested and partnered with several startups derived from Protechting. UpHill who came up with a project to train doctors and disseminate good practices. A startup that comes from the first edition of Protechting, Ectosense, which has to do with devices to combat sleep apnea. And Skin Sole has developed a system for the early detection of skin cancer and its treatment. This is to say that in these areas we are already working on pilots. Thus, Protechting has this objective of being present and attracting companies that relate to us, or are companies close to our activity.
A collaboration with startups on a pilot basis is very interesting because, often, startups are looking for clients or data to test their solutions. And we, on the other hand, are looking for innovative technology and solutions. It is thus a win-win solution.
In other words, we inform a range of areas that we are looking at; AI, machine learning, advanced analytics, improvement of the claims process, and from there we see what there is, what startups come to us to collaborate in a pilot perspective, with Fidelidade, Luz Saúde, Hauck & Aufhauser or for Fosun to invest in.
The partner who helps us build Protechting is Beta-i. They carry out a scouting of the companies that are in the market. Then the program starts with a bootcamp where we have a first look at the projects, to understand better the projects we are evaluating. The sponsor of each of these startups will then be the company of the group Fosun that has more proximity. The great merit of this program is to respond to things we know we need, but also to find some things that we do not know exist that could be useful to us.
What do startups value most in Protechting?
There are 3 things depending on where you stand. Access to real customer data while maintaining data privacy. Real numbers, case studies and access to the Chinese market and Fosun. The prize money is a help, but that’s what makes the startups compete. And the process of mentoring and learning with professionals from Fidelidade, Luz Saúde and Hauck & Aufhauser.
The program has won a number of international awards, the latest of which is the Sustainable Development 2018 Enterprise Best Practice award from the Chinese Network of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Can you explain what these distinctions corresponds to and the impact that they have had?
These awards are prizes that have a lot to do with the connection to China and China’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. They are prizes that promote the spread of good practices and the connection to entrepreneurship by companies that are not Chinese, but that develop relationship with the country. Almost all the awards have this aspect for the good collaboration and practice that we have with Fosun. The merit is mainly about transparency, good practice, involvement, and dissemination of what are good practices of Chinese companies outside China.
In a world where there are many programs running, having some consistency with the antiquity of the program and these prizes help us to get more mature startups.
Is Protechting here to stay?
We think so. We are learning and getting more and more out of the program. The proof of this, and although we have had more and more applications, is that this year we paid even more attention to the type of startup with which we worked, so that it is easier at the end to have a deliverable. So, yes.