Considering that we are an early stage startup and that we are in a heavy process of validating various hypotheses, we chose to "stay out of the market's radar", a mission that has proved almost impossible, I confess. A few months after launching our MVP we realized that we were already on the radar of the Brazilian fintechs. There is a hype around the fintech image, not only in Brazil, but worldwide, and for any startup, the problem of getting attention so early is to be part of the "Gartner Hype Cycle". But we were pleasantly surprised to be invited to participate in MSW Capital's Insurtech selection process.
The invitation came from MSW Capital, manager of BR Startups, itself. It is a Venture Capital fund created by Microsoft Participações, which invests in companies in their initial stage. The BR Startups Fund relies on corporate investors and public agents who have come together to develop the Brazilian innovation ecosystem by investing in innovative Startups. In April, the fund launched an open call for investments in insurance business in partnership with BB Seguridade.
The investment qualification prerequisites were: Innovative Startups with solutions applicable to the Insurtech segment, having at least two founding partners, ideally with CEO (Management, Marketing and Sales) and CTO (Architecture and Technological Development of solutions), being at least one of the partners fluent in English and having annual revenue between R$120 thousand and R$10 million. We met all the prerequisites, except that our revenue was still below the minimum required. So, we decided the following: we will respond by saying that unfortunately, we are still in a very early stage, that we are working on a closed pilot and validating some hypotheses, but that in the future, if possible, we would certainly be interested.
To our surprise, MSW Capital responded by asking us to apply for the call anyway, and so we did, and to an even greater surprise, we received another call stating that we were selected. Okay, we know that our proposal is disruptive, that we are the only proposal of shared economy applied to the insurance market in Brazil, and that the market wants to know us and follow our movements, we understand that this would be inevitable, so we decided to launch ourselves "on the big radars" once and for all. Next phase: a questioning at the Banco do Brasil headquarters, in Brasília, by the managers of MSW Capital, Microsoft Participances, the BR Startups fund and BB Seguridade.
About the questioning, we can say that it was a display of what we cherish most in opportunities like this: learning. Listening to the opinions and output of people with such a unique and exclusively constructive bias was a priceless opportunity, especially when we heard someone say, "continue on this path that you will surely go very far" and listening to the others agree was frankly worth every cent of the expenses we had with the trip and the time we invested. We received valuable recommendations from people who had much to contribute. The response we received from the phase in Brasilia was as follows:
Mutual.Life presented a truly innovative idea combined with shared economics. Although these are essential characteristics for a startup, we understand that the company is very early on in the journey, and has yet to validate the business model to be able to receive the investment, and this entails in some barriers such as the lack of enough data to create insights and products. Therefore, the BR Startups Fund team together with BB Seguridade has consistently debated and for the time being, we will not follow Mutual.Life's investment analysis. It is worth mentioning that, regardless of the thematic calls, the fund is always looking for new investment opportunities and we encourage you to give us news as your business evolves, whether it is through garnering a great customer or an acceptance for investment.
Result: considering that, as MSW Capital said, we were still very early on, the experience was a success! We gained visibility and experience and we came back from Brasilia with new ideas and glimpses of possibilities. Let's go!