On this Wharton Fintech podcast, Miguel Armaza is joined by Caribou Honey, Chairman and Co-Founder of InsureTech Connect and co-founder of the HR Transform Conference, which looked at the impact of technology on the workplace.
Caribou is also a legendary investor who sits on the boards of several startups. Previously, he was a co-founder of QED Investors, a senior executive at Capital One and currently a partner at SemperVirens, a VC focused on the future of work.
caribou Insuretech ConnectThe leading InsureTech conference will take place from September 21 to 23 and will bring more than 200 executives to the virtual stage. Register and find more information at https://insuretechconnect.com/
For the past two decades, Caribou Honey has had a first place in the evolution of fintech, investing and supporting some of the most revolutionary companies in the world. He began his career at Capital One in the early 1990s, during what he termed the “hypergrowth” period that rose from 1,200 to 20,000 employees in six years. Capital One’s infamous analytics culture taught him how to use data in a business strategy with an emphasis on data-driven marketing. But six years later, and after holding some senior positions, he decided to leave Capital One and look for his second act.
After a year-long sabbatical, Caribou partnered with former colleagues Nigel Morris (co-founder of Capital One) and Frank Rotman to create what would eventually become QED investors. What began as a consulting network for founders quickly developed into a full-fledged VC fund. On one side of Capital One, Nigel, Frank and Caribou took a systematic approach to investing, creating a culture of mutual challenge to prove the strength and logic of their decisions. And while investing exclusively in fintech wasn’t the original thesis, they eventually realized that financial services were their power alley and decided to focus the firepower on that sector.
Mr. Honig helped build and develop QED into one of the leading VC funds for financial services. Some of his notable investments included The muse, Remitly, and KNIP. But after a decade in the company, he realized there was other itchiness he wanted to scratch, and it was probably time to look for his third act.
Unlike his first two acts, Caribou spends his time wearing multiple hats in a number of institutions. In the past four years, Mr. Honig has co-founded two conferences, has been a member of several startup boards and was recently named a partner at SemperVirens VC, an ecosystem fund that invests in the future of work.
Bet on InsureTech
If there is one area of financial services that Caribou is passionate about, it is definitely the InsureTech area. In contrast to industries such as digital lending or digital asset management, he sees a lot of room for growth in the insurance sector and is convinced that history has yet to be written. Some of the key InsureTech trends we discussed are:
- Insurance batch API confirmation. A few years ago there were thousands of APIs serving the banking world for a variety of functions and services. The same trend is only just beginning to take shape in the insurance industry, and there are probably only a few hundred APIs around the world. In the future, we can expect several new insurance APIs to emerge.
- Embedded or invisible insurance. Embedding insurance services will be one of the most powerful ways to reach the consumer for emerging startups. By partnering with non-financial institutions with access to large customer bases, Insuretech startups can compete with established companies and solve the sales problem. When businesses gain better access to customer data, embedded insurance becomes invisible insurance with a product so seamless that it is barely noticeable to the consumer.
- Product innovation. Most established companies are large institutions with an old infrastructure that is 5 to 8 years behind the corresponding banking technology infrastructure. In order to catch up, the industry needs to develop major product innovations and he expects some interesting developments in this area, both from startups and established companies.
Caribou has met and worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of founders and believes that great entrepreneurs have an amazing ability to achieve a long-term ambitious vision while breaking it down into a series of steps and milestones that need to be reached on their big scale To make vision come true. In his own words, “You have visionaries who cannot operationalize what it takes to make their vision come true, and you have great people who, if you tell them what they need to achieve in the next 12 months, bam! It is finished. But it is quite rare to excel in both at the same time. “
Caribou Honig likes to pursue crazy ideas and support the establishment of new companies. He is chairman and co-founder of InsureTech Connect and co-founder of the HR Transform conference, which looks at the impact of technology on the workplace. Caribou is an independent board member with multiple startups and partners at SemperVirens, a VC firm focused on the future of work. Previously, he was the co-founder of QED Investors, a boutique venture capital firm focused on data-driven companies. Caribou and his wife live in Richmond, Virginia with their two occasionally annoying dogs.
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