Look for a solution to your own problem. Start a company. That’s the formula that CoverWallet Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Inaki Berenguer has used three times since leaving the world of academia with a Ph.D. in engineering to become a technology entrepreneur. His latest startup, which he describes as a “tech company reinventing insurance for small businesses [by] combining data, design and technology,” grew out of an unexpected challenge he encountered when he started the first company, Pixable, developer of an app for managing and sharing photos on social media.Executive SummaryCoverWallet co-founder describes the build-first process of innovation he used to create solutions to the problems he encountered as a small business insurance customer. Using technology as the lever to reinvent an industry, he explains how a group of tech, data and design experts created a platform that serves tens of thousands of customers two years after launching and a new one for agents serving the small business insurance buyers who demanded the same easy and elegant online process for quoting and binding in real time.
“I was told that I needed to buy general liability and property insurance. I thought that I could go to a website and buy it very quickly because I didn’t want to spend so much time with it. Instead, I had to go to a traditional broker and complete the paper application, and it took me one week,” he recalled. “Wow. We have to change this,” he thought. “I’m going to build a beautiful and easy-to-use technology product that solves my problem, and hope that there are thousands of other people that experience the same problem,” he said. “Then I want to tell them via marketing that I have solved this for them.”
Berenguer shared these recollections in response to a question about how he validated the idea for other small business owners who wanted to be able to use an online platform to understand, buy and manage insurance—the three-part mission of CoverWallet—during an interview with Carrier Management at CoverWallet’s New York office in early November. Asking potential customers what they want is not the answer, he contends.