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"I go for people over product," says InsurTech investor

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jan 2018

Asia InsurTech

Investors get pitched a lot of ideas from InsurTech aspirants but it is the people and not the ideas put forward that wins the day, said Mr Tony Hobrow, CEO of VenturesOne Asia. 
 
   “For me, it’s 70% people and 30% idea or product because without good people, no project will ever happen. Being an entrepreneur in a start-up is unbelievably hard and people often pitch it over a three-year horizon but most businesses take at least five to seven years to break even so you really need determined people who are completely driven,” he said. Mr Hobrow typically listens to one InsurTech start-up pitch a week. 
 
Focus on distribution
An early-stage venture capital company, VenturesOne Asia usually invests about US$1-3 million of its own capital to support growth stage ventures. 
 
   Mr Hobrow’s main investment to date was DirectAsia.com, a pioneering online insurer in which was eventually sold to Hiscox Group in March 2014. However, the firm tends to focus its investments on the distribution side of the business. 
 
   “I would say distribution is where the smart money is, you would need so much capital to be an insurer and while we launched DirectAsia, the model was still one of distribution,” he said. 
 
   Mr Hobrow has held several senior roles within the insurance industry and was also Acting CEO for Lloyd’s Market Association during its inception period. A 
 
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