Can you tell us about your career before you created Otherwise?
After studying engineering, I started my career in an environment similar to the startup world, since I took part in launching an investment fund. Next I worked at Areva, where I became vice-president of strategy and set up an innovation program. But after working there for 6 years, I wanted to build a startup and I have never looked back: you have to invest so much of yourself to start a business, but it’s also hugely rewarding!
While I was thinking about how to combine insurance and the sharing economy, I met with Cécile Merine, director of operations, marketing and product development at a major insurance company. With both technical and business expertise, she wanted to usher more innovation into the insurance market and decided to join our venture. Then Aymeric Augustin joined the team: also an engineer, he already had extensive experience in development. He created the IT system for the Autolib service and moved on to become technology director at Oscaro. Now he is our CTO.
Our concept for Otherwise, in its current state, is the result of our common reflection.
What is the core idea behind Otherwise today?
It’s more of a promise: to create an insurance policy that covers claims, as well as a portion of insurance premiums, through a collaborative, peer-to-peer system.
Otherwise, as an insurance broker, will offer an individual plan at market rates. Policyholders choose their contracts, as well as several other policyholders to form a group. Each group, of about a hundred people, pools their premiums. A portion of this amount is paid to the insurance company, while the remaining sum is placed in a “shared pot.” The pot is used to pay for small claims. For major claims, or if the pot is empty, the insurance provider steps in. And any amounts left in the pot at the end of the year are distributed among the policyholders in the form of a discount on their premiums.
In this way, for the same premium charged by the insurance provider, policyholders can get back up to 50% of their total payments. It also creates a new relationship with insurance, since the policyholder bears more responsibility through a direct economic incentive and a spirit of competition within their group. And it’s all carried out in total transparency: each policyholder is informed of all claims and their cost within the group.
How did you learn about and join the FinTech Accelerator by L'Atelier BNP Paribas?
Through our network of friends, while we were looking for an incubator. We were a bit hesitant to submit our project, because the Accelerator said it was looking for more mature projects, and Otherwise had not been around very long. But we developed our plans and the jury liked our concept.
What do you expect from your time at the FinTech Accelerator?
First of all, a total immersion in a group of startups working in an environment similar to our own, but without the sense of competition. Next, of course, coaching from L’Atelier BNP Paribas experts in many different areas. Finally, the chance to meet business experts from BNP Paribas Cardif and the opportunity to one day build a partnership with them!
The Accelerator met all of our expectations.
“ It creates a new relationship with insurance, since the policyholder bears more responsibility through a direct economic incentive and a spirit of competition within their group.”
Did the Accelerator meet your expectations?
We are still discussing the possibility of a partnership. For the rest, the Accelerator met all of our expectations. We had the chance to ask so many questions with the BNP Paribas Cardif teams, and that helped to fine-tune our concept. Finally, getting selected to take part in the L’Atelier FinTech Accelerator boosted our credibility.
Now we are working on a fundraising campaign, which will enable us to strengthen our team by hiring new people. Best of all, in a few weeks we are launching our service: first as a product and then we will expand our offer. Last, we will test the consumer market’s appetite for our product: a verdict that we are humbly awaiting.
What advice do you have for startups taking part in the FinTech Accelerator ?
First, it’s important to set very clear objectives to avoid losing time: it’s a short program, so you have to stay focused. There is so much to do and learn during these 4 months!