From your background, one may have expected you to lead a security company rather than an insurance company. What was the driver for insurance?
As a society, we’re spending $120bn on security and the gap from attackers is only getting bigger. The root cause is that the underlying technology stack is impossible to defend, and software companies have no incentive to fix that. Insurance has a chance to align incentives, introduce accountability and enforce standards through the insurance policy. Insurance has done it in every other risk domain in the past. The challenge of building an insurance company creates the opportunity to connect financial loss with IT and IT security choices and to start to answer what matters in security.
Underwriting Cyber Insurance requires tricky assessment of the risk. How can underwriters perform this properly?
At-Bay leverages technical analysis of the security of our insureds by performing a penetration test and analysis of threat intelligence. Our security experts and data science teams turn data points into insights the feed a selection and pricing model. Our underwriters provide a layer of business analysis to calibrate the financial exposure of the business. We have automated underwriting for companies under $100M of revenues and conduct a manual and more thorough analysis for larger risks.
What was the Inflection Point in the At-bay’s history?
Mid 2018, six months after our first launch, we realized that in channel marketing, our main customer is the broker (the channel) and not the end customer (the insured). We then directed our technology to solve the pain for the broker, and shortly after, we started to grow incredibly fast.
What do you miss most in an early-stage company?
I miss participating and leading work products. But most notable is the difference in the effectiveness of unstructured communications, which meant a lot less process and structure
Toughest choice you had to make as a CEO?
Managing people is the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of my job. Balancing the needs of the company with those of its people, and doing it in a consistent, transparent and caring way is the most important and most difficult task I have.
Gut instinct and cold Data, which do you follow?
Data can identify the right questions to ask, but a great analyst can make the data give any answer she wants. Therefore, answers are given from an internal set of principles
Where do you invest most of your time? (People, strategy, cash…)
Most of my time goes into recruiting: new employees, investors, customers, and partners. Beyond that I spend a lot of my time on internal communications, bridging between insurance and technology.
What characterizes your executive team?
Incredibly professional domain leaders, leaders by example, highly collaborative, and with low egos. But above all, truly compassionate and caring for our people and our partners.
How do you see your personal growth alongside the company’s?
I am new to insurance and to the CEO role and have never been part of a hyper-growth team before. The biggest growth for me has been to internalize and feel comfortable with making decisions and moving fast, even when so much is unknown. Curiosity and humility are super important to learn, but at some point, a team needs its CEO to provide direction and push forward.
Best tip you got?
Run towards the problems. Engage issues fast and with conviction. Especially around people management – don’t let dysfunction fester.
Tip you wish you had gotten
Bring in a distribution leader as early as possible. Understanding the sales process and who makes decisions and what they care about are the most important design inputs into the product.
One thing people don’t know about you
I graduated high school a year early, and while waiting to join the military I spent a year flipping burgers at Burger King. I used the money to buy my first car, an old red Mazda 323F (the one with the flipping headlights)
At-Bay is the insurance company for the digital age, designed from the ground up to help businesses meet digital risk head-on. We address digital risk in a way that everyone, from brokers and business owners, to CISOs and CFOs, can all understand. We question, analyze, and monitor the risk of every company in our portfolio—not just once, but continuously—so we can educate, advise, and support our brokers and our insureds throughout our partnership. Because digital risk never rests, and neither do we