Recently ViewSpection completed the Hartford InsurTech Hub accelerator program that is run by Startupbootcamp (SBC). We had the honor of being part of the first cohort to complete the Hartford, Connecticut based program. SBC runs these programs globally, with Hartford as the most recent addition.
I would like to share our experience and what we learned and accomplished during our four months in Hartford.
It All Started with a Phone Interview
My first in-depth exposure to SBC was a phone interview with CEO Sabine VanderLinden. It was an enjoyable phone call, and it was apparent that Sabine is a strategic thinker and a natural connector of people and companies. My interview with Sabine was a success as ViewSpection was invited to participate in Selection Days.
Making the first cut from 600 applications to 23 finalists was fantastic. Spending three days pitching and meeting with the partner carriers and mentors was very intense. My first pitch went great but the second one was an epic fail as I got flustered by the timer and lost my train of thought! In the end, we knew it would be decided by how relevant this group of tier 1 carriers thought our value proposition was.
We were one of the last to be called out on Selection Day….but we made it!
White, bright, immaculate, 27,000 square feet and a center of activity are some of the highlights of Upward Hartford. Having the accelerator at the co-working facility that CEO and Founder Shana Schlossberg created was a wonderful perk.
Our team clocked about 40 hours or so just completing the pre-accelerator tasks with Bunch.ai and the Fly Team. We got some of our best insights before we even set foot on-site for the accelerator in January.
The First Two Weeks
Our plan was for Jay Kramer and his wife to be in residence for the duration. Jay and I went out on our own for the first two weeks to find our groove and get settled. We rented an apartment at Hartford 21 where most of the other cohorts were and settled into our new normal.
One of the first things we did upon arrival was mentor speed dating. The breadth of engaged and talented mentors was impressive considering this was an inaugural event. Obviously, a lot of effort went into securing the mentor base. We quickly fell in love with David Bourque of TSI Consultants and Frank Sentner of Sentwood Consultants and asked them to be our mentors for the program.
The day-to-day program was filled with amazing content providers and was themed by the week. For the first month or so, it was a challenge absorbing all the new learnings due to the pace of the program. Thank goodness, Mondays thru Wednesdays contained the bulk of the new content, and we could integrate during the second half of the week.
We also met the partner carriers and companies who were engaged in the Insurtech Hartford program via speed meetings. Each of the cohorts, I think, realized how much was riding on these first meetings and the pressure of pitching to a dozen executives from tier 1 insurance companies was welcome but anxiety-producing.
As a startup, working with the largest carriers in the world was a totally different experience. Learning all the new expectations and requirements was a great take-away from the SBC program.
The accelerator actually accelerated our traction at ViewSpection. Not only did we secure pilots with some of the partner companies, but during our four months we secured a total of 12 active and pending pilots.
I think our ability to gain that traction was aided by the weekly feedback meetings we had with Erika Bothma and her team. Wherever we were and whatever we were doing, we would come together and deconstruct the week and refine our go-to-market strategy.
Three and a half months go by fast and Demo Day was fast approaching. We may have been one of the last companies to pitch at selection days, but we were up first on demo day. Jay would be doing the pitch, and he carried the brunt of building the pitch in his own voice.
I always find value in building the pitch. We have always found new and better messaging for ViewSpection, regardless of how many pitches we have given.
At SBC we solidified the idea that we are delivering a connection so much more than self service inspections.
What is next?
I am writing this on the weekend after Demo Day. Jay and I are both back in Tucson, and I am thinking about, what’s next?
Of course, the next few months will be about successfully completing each pilot, and our goal is to convert all of them into satisfied and long-term clients.
Another focus of SBC was to help us become investment-ready. SBC has a fantastic track record of their alumni securing investments. We will be working on our investment round towards the fall of this year.
We are growing our team, and our daily focus is to balance our resources with what we need to develop to accomplish our road map. Startupbootcamp has changed who we are as a company and as leaders, and I am excited to see where we will be in 12 months. Thank you, Hartford!