SPIXII: “The customer is at the heart of our development”
SPIXII, an automated digital insurance agent, won both the judges’ vote and the audience vote at TechPitch 4.5 in July. We caught up with founder and CEO Renaud Million to hear about his passion for “fixing real problems that people face”, how SPIXII came to fruition, and why it is essential that insurance products are more easily understood by the public.
-Renaud, congratulations on doing so well at TechPitch 4.5 earlier in the summer. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your professional story?
I am a French engineer and trained for the actuarial profession in the UK. I have always loved talking to people and creating new things. I am also passionate about fixing real problems that people face.
–SPIXII is an automated digital insurance agent. What inspired the idea the behind it?
Insurance protects people and helps them to be more confident in their endeavours. It is also a vector of economic growth. The public does not commonly accept this definition, unfortunately. The hindrance is that insurance products are complicated and use a confusing vocabulary. The pricing of insurance products is not transparent for buyers and filling in a form is not engaging. This had to change, and it became my mission to solve it with the help of my two co-founders.
The idea and the drive to address this problem were there for about three years, but we waited patiently for the right moment to bring SPIXII to market. Both insurance companies and investors are very receptive to what we are doing.
–Where did you start once you had the idea?
The start-up journey is a rollercoaster, with plenty of ups and downs. The ideation process was the same: a lot of dialogues, debates and arguing with my friends and colleagues – one of whom eventually became the first co-founder. We did research, business models, participated in hackathons and talked to many people. Once the problem to solve was clear, we recruited the third co-founder, our excellent CTO, and applied to accelerators that could help us get the business off the ground. We were developing chat-bots before they became ubiquitous.
-What is the status of SPIXII now?
SPIXII is in a pilot phase. In the autumn we will announce its live status on certain platforms (watch the headlines!). We have a commercial pipeline of almost 60 global insurance companies and partners, who mostly discovered us by word of mouth. SPIXII now talks five languages, including Chinese! It not only helps people to buy insurance products, but it also supports updating contracts and assisting with simple claims. MassChallenge, the most impactful and founders-friendly accelerator in the world, just accepted SPIXII to its new programme in the UK, and we are planning to seize that opportunity to initiate new partnerships.
–You did so well at TechPitch 4.5, winning both the audience and the judges’ vote. What led you to apply?
We applied to TechPitch 4.5 to gain visibility and receive feedback on our business plan. But also, pitching to new audiences helps to assess if people are receptive to what we are doing and to understand what we can do better.
-How did you feel your pitch went?
First, I was relieved when the demo video worked on the screen. Such action is always risky. I could see that the audience was looking at it with their eyes wide open. It was a great feeling. Finally, the jury asked me some good questions, which is always a positive sign.
–Was the overall experience useful?
The experience was useful in many ways. I connected with and have stayed in touch with some members of the judging panel. I also networked with the other start-ups who pitched, and we are now helping each other on various topics. Building a vast eco-system where start-ups can flourish is crucial, and that is what this experience was all about.
-What’s next for SPIXII?
The customer is at the heart of our development. We are training SPIXII to speak other languages so that we can scale in other continents and help more people solve their relationship with insurance products. We are also training SPIXII to have unique conversations based on the characteristics of individuals.
For more information about SPIXII, please visit their website. The next TechPitch 4.5 will take place on 4 October 2016 at 18.30 at Pinsent Masons, 30 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4ES. Get your tickets here.