Photo: Christian Range, Hanna Bachmann, Alexander Hornung (from left) are the founders of the Rostock InsurTech hepster. © hepster
A startup from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is about to revolutionize the insurance industry with digital short-term insurance that is geared towards everyday situations. Modern technologies and newly conceived sales models guarantee less time and paperwork.
With an API-driven platform and “built-in insurance” for a successful model
The hepster company, founded in Rostock in 2016 by Hanna Bachmann, Christian Range and Alexander Hornung, pursues the idea of developing insurance that can be easily integrated into the so-called customer journey of the respective partner. This is called “integrated insurance” because these insurance solutions can be easily integrated into existing procedures or processes.
hepster’s API-driven platform offers state-of-the-art IT infrastructures, precisely tailored solutions and efficient data flow. This makes the processes very easy to manage and optimize. With a high degree of digitization and automation, the previously tedious search for insurance is becoming a time-saving process. The services make it sensible and, above all, easy for customers to purchase insurance and benefit from its benefits. With the concept it is possible to speak without problems of a “reorganization” of the insurance industry in the most positive sense.
The basic intention is to offer customers solutions in the insurance area tailored to their needs and, above all, scalable. The company addresses insurance companies as the main target group, that is, the actual risk carriers. As a solution, hepster offers travel, electronics, bicycle, sports and animal insurance, for example.
Innovationshub MV as a basis for start-ups like hepster
As a start-up, hepster was part of the innovation center Mecklenburg-West Pomerania from the very beginning, with which the federal state wants to position itself in the field of innovative start-ups. More and more investors in Germany are already pouring tens of millions into an early-stage start-up. However, this windfall mostly ends up in the more well-known startup hotspots like Berlin or Munich. This is not just a disadvantage, as Hanna Bachmann says: “If you are successful in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, it will be noticed immediately.”
Due to the various innovation centers set up by the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bachmann is optimistic about the future in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: “A lot has happened in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the last five years. Thanks to numerous models innovative commercials from young companies, we were able to greatly increase the visibility and relevance of the startup scene.”
Individual regions and federal states are increasingly discovering the founder and start-up scene for themselves. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, for example, the term start-up was not even mentioned in the 2016 coalition agreement. In this sense, MV has been further developed here in recent years. Policy makers have recognized what a strong economic driver start-ups can be because they attract young, well-trained employees to the region. In addition, companies that are already established can benefit from the innovations and impulses of start-ups.
But there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially in terms of investments. The state government provides two sources of money through the medium-sized investment company Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MBMV) and the venture capital firm Genius Venture Capital. However, the search for other national or international investors cannot hurt. In 2021, around 70 million euros were distributed to MV start-ups.
There were around 40 start-ups in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2021, spread across larger cities such as Rostock, Neubrandenburg, Greifswald, Schwerin and Stralsund. As for the industry, the young companies are mixed and have found their niche in health or life sciences, 3D printing, AI (artificial intelligence) and also in insurance.
Growth and international positioning
As early as 2021, hepster was able to raise over €8 million from investors in a funding round, generating considerable media coverage. “With a round like this, you’re almost like a unicorn here,” says hepster founder Hanna Bachmann.
It’s not just Hepster’s upcoming fifth birthday that makes the founders hopeful. The Rostock-based company recently announced that it would also offer its insurance services in France after entering the Austrian market. Here, the company wants to focus mainly on electric bicycles and bicycle insurance. With the bet on France, hepster takes another important step in the direction of its European expansion. The sums contributed by investors will make a significant contribution here to enabling the company to achieve its medium- and long-term goals, namely to develop new solutions and make its own services available to a growing number of customers around the world.