The monumental explosion in the sharing economy has changed the definition of work and redefined workforce participation. Serving the growing number of independent contractor and freelancers, Tapoly provides customizable insurance plans targeted to this burgeoning segment. Gone are the days of the traditional the year-to-year 12 month contract. Tapoly recognizes that insurance needs are no longer governed by a 12 month cycle and provides flexible plans replacing the obsolete, rigid norms commonly found in the insurance sector.
London TechWatch chatted with CEO and founder Janthana Kaenprakhamroy about the company’s most recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We have raised our seed round of £250K. The round was led by Startup Funding Club, and included the London Co-Investment Fund and nine angel investors. We will raise an additional £750K post-launch to fund UK operations.
Tell us about your product or service.
Tapoly “Insurance on Tap” offers on-demand insurance for freelancers, contractors and SMEs. Instead of locking them into annual contracts, we let them choose the period of insurance to suit their needs. Ultimately we aim insure their lifestyle so they don’t have to worry about risks and have more time to focus on doing what they love.
What inspired you to start the company?
I was looking for short-term home letting insurance for my spare room, and during my search for insurance I found thousands of people needing similar products who were unable to get them because the products they want simply don’t exist.
How is it different?
Tapoly is set up as an MGA (Managing General Agent). Unlike brokers, MGAs have the ability to underwrite risk on behalf of insurers as well as distributing products. This means we can design on-demand products that most suit our customers instead of merely reselling standard annual policies. Also, while other insurance startups typically focus on a single niche, we offer a full stack of insurance products under one platform, saving customers time and money.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Our customers are freelancers, contractors and SME’s and those that need short-term insurance for their home letting, car lending and gadget sharing activities. So we are targeting the sharing economy and gig economy. There are 7M freelancers in the UK, and soon there will be 1.4B globally.
What’s your business model?
Under the standard MGA model, Tapoly receives a percentage commission on all products sold.
How do you foresee the regulatory environment for independent workers impacting your business?
Most freelancers do not need insurance; however, an increasing number of client companies are asking freelance workers to have insurance to satisfy their own regulatory requirements, or as a way for them to mitigate some of their own risk. The more regulated the industry the more need there is for insurance, and currently regulation is expanding. Sharing economy participants are also becoming more aware of the risks of being sued while taking commercial risks that are not covered by traditional personal insurance lines.
What was the funding process like?
We spent a few months meeting VCs and startup investors, and having discussions that seemed promising but didn’t go anywhere. That period was a little frustrating. However, then we were introduced to Startup Funding Club. We pitched to their investment team, and then at one of their events. We had very good feedback from some of the investors, and a few weeks later we were closing our round with them as the lead investor. On the whole it was much quicker and easier than I had anticipated.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
To show the company’s potential when we hadn’t yet launched was the most difficult part. We were relying on investors to believe in us and our business. Also it’s hard to know how much is your company is worth when you don’t have any customers or traction.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The combination of a good idea in a growth market, a reliable and experienced team and showing that we had met our own targets and made good progress in developing the product in a difficult and highly regulated area.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The next big milestone is our launch, which is scheduled for early Q2 this year. Over the following six months we will need to show traction. This is a crucial moment, not just for Tapoly but for consumers who can’t get the insurance that they need in a way that is convenient for them.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Try to launch your product and get as many customers as you can before asking investors for money, otherwise you will have to give up a lot of equity, since the investors will be taking more of a risk.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Tapoly is a global platform, so the initial stage will be a UK launch and building a strong footprint in the UK, before we expand into the EU and the rest of the world.
What is your favorite London pub to grab a pint with the team?
Boro Bistro, 6-10 Borough High St, London SE1 9QQ, offers a nice outdoor area in a secluded place, next to Borough market. It’s great to meet up for drinks and nibbles. It’s close to London Bridge station, so it’s convenient for everyone to get home from there.