Blitzscalling an insurtech startup, Addenda, across the region
Ten Questions with Walid Daniel Dib, CEO of Addenda, a Hub71 insurtech startup
Sum up your company for us:
Addenda is an ambitious insurtech now based in Hub71, Abu Dhabi. We’re building a distributed platform to reconcile motor insurance recoveries between UAE insurers, disrupting the way insurance companies deal with each other in a rapidly changing insurance market.
What did you do before becoming an entrepreneur? What inspired you to switch?
Prior to being a founder, I was a loss adjuster for an insurance company meaning I inspected large scale fires, floods, and property damage. While it was a rewarding experience (I got to travel to go to the British Virgin Islands after hurricane Irma), it was also incredibly physically demanding. I switched to be an insurtech entrepreneur because I saw that insurance had the potential to be as highly digitized as the banking sector.
What industry are you trying to disrupt and why?
We’re disrupting the way insurance companies deal with each other, mainly for claims.
How important is a business mentor for startups?
A mentor or advisor keeps you in check. We only got to where we are today because our advisors ensured we stayed humble, and because they helped us keep up to pace with rapidly changing insurance market conditions.
“We only got to where we are today because our advisors ensured we stayed humble…”
Who is your real-life tech hero?
Reid Hoffman, the dude behind LinkedIn
What markets do you hope to enter in the next 12 months?
Jordan and Saudi Arabia
What kind of investors do you have on board, so far?
We’ve got a mix of family office investment, one VC and a group of strategic angel investors, who are also insurance industry experts.
What would you say to an investor or VC that’s never been to the UAE?
The UAE’s startup ecosystem is rapidly growing and there’s no shortage of great ideas to invest in. The UAE is the best place for startups to have growth and to ‘blitzscale’ across the Middle East region. If you find a startup in the UAE with the potential to scale across the Middle East, you’ll know you’ve made the right choice.
“The UAE is probably the best place for a startup to have rapid growth and to ‘blitzscale’ across the Middle East region”
What would you say is your best attribute that contributes to your success as a founder?
One, I don’t take anything too seriously. Two, we’ve failed several times; but pivoted many more times. Three, I’m good at putting out fires and working closely with my team to steer the ship together.
If you could invite any three people to a dinner party, who would they be?
Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC – so I can ask for the ‘secret recipe’…
The ‘real’ Satoshi Nakamoto, founder of Bitcoin – because I have so many questions…
HP Lovecraft, author – to pick his brain…
Note to reader:
What exactly is blitzscaling, you ask?
According to Reid Hoffman in an interview with Tim Sullivan, Harvard Business Review (2016), ‘blitzscaling’ is: what you do when you need to grow really, really quickly. It’s the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale. This is high-impact entrepreneurship. These kinds of companies always create a lot of the jobs and industries of the future. For example, Amazon essentially invented e-commerce. Today, it has over 150,000 employees and has created countless jobs at Amazon sellers and partners. Google revolutionized how we find information—it has over 60,000 employees and has created many more jobs at its AdWords and AdSense partners.
Addenda uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) to streamline motor insurance claims between insurance companies. Tailored tasks are reported in real-time on our user-friendly interface, and then timestamped as evidence onto the blockchain. This allows insurers to report claim and policy changes in a completely verifiable and encrypted manner. For more information, go to www.addenda.tech and follow @Addendatech on Twitter and LinkedIn.