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10 Years of Driving Innovation through Insurance at the Global Insurance Accelerator

Global Insurance Accelerator

August 10, 2023

Ten years ago, insurance carriers, innovation leaders and local governmental leaders came together to accomplish one mission — to drive innovation in the insurance industry. These leaders and ground breakers realized this mission is more effective to strive towards together, rather than pushing at it alone. Thus the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) was created to provide mentor-led programs and early-stage capital to the best and brightest insurtech founders.

Since the Global Insurance Accelerator’s first cohort in 2015, we have graduated 65 startups through our 100-day program, and over 75% of these startups are still in business or have had a successful exit. We also take the “Global” in our name seriously; five continents and 12 countries are presented in past cohorts, making up about 25% of our alumni.

When we say early stage, we mean it. The GIA has invested over $3 million into these budding companies, and for many, this check provided the first form of external funding. We take startups as early as a concept to companies with a few customers trying to find their product market fit.

Global Insurance Accelerator

Mentoring Is Key

Over the past 10 years, our secret sauce has been our mentors. These mentors represent our investors, sponsors, partners and friends in the ecosystem. If you can think of a role in and around insurance, we likely have someone in our pool that plays that role. For the 2023 program, 55 of GIA mentors come straight from our investor companies and provide direct insight into how to operate and implement into an insurance carrier. The other 67 come with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and expertise within the insurance industry. Collectively, they put in more than 350 hours of volunteer time with our founders to tackle their specific challenges during this past year’s 100-day program.

One thing we know after 10 years is how important building the right cohort is. Founders consistently state that one of the largest benefits to the GIA Program is connecting with their cohort. Being a founder can be a lonely space at times; it’s stressful, unpredictable and strenuous. However, when founders are introduced through the GIA, they can collaborate and even become each other’s own sounding boards. The connections and friendships that I get to watch develop is something that truly fills my cup.

The Global Insurance Accelerator’s Future

As we look towards the next 10 years of the GIA, we’re excited about some of the ways that the organization has evolved and will continue to change to ensure we provide relevant value for the next 10 years and beyond! One of the biggest changes is adding a new role of Alumni Director. This position is responsible for continuing our relationship with the founders once they graduate from the 100-day program, which includes ongoing educational workshops, reconnecting them with the GIA ecosystem and continuing to support them in their successes however we can. Jim Lewis, a graduate of our program and a founder with a successful exit, joined the GIA in December of 2022 to build out this new role.

Additionally, the GIA has also been working diligently with the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, the Vaughan Institute and Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) to refine our program to a curriculum base. This ensures that our program is following the top information in insurance and will support our founders to fill some of the key gaps and speed up the validation of product market fit.

Tech Week

We will be celebrating 10 years of the GIA with our network on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at the JPEC center which includes some fantastic panels on innovation, partnership in Insurtech ecosystem, women in insurance, as well as bringing some of our best alumni back to Des Moines to participate in a pitch competition.

The Global Insurance Accelerator is extremely appreciative of the hard work and dedication from our investors, mentors, founders and ecosystem partners that helped make this program what it is today. We are eager and motivated to continue this momentum and make the next ten years even brighter.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) is home to the Global Insurance Accelerator, where early-stage insurtech startups drive innovation in the insurance industry since 2014. Learn more at globalinsuranceaccelerator.com.

Jess Louis

Jess Louis is Program Director at the Global Insurance Accelerator. She is responsible for the overall operations of their 100-day accelerator program and all mentor programming at the GIA. Her goal is to shape the program to help early-stage founders build their businesses with the support of 120+ mentors.