Friends, we could hardly believe this when we heard this because we’ve BEEN to DesMoines. MANY, MANY times. Though Wikipedia’s post on Des Moines doesn’t bear out, we had heard (through a highly credible source…okay, a AAA travel book on Iowa) that the city was largely populated by a group of adventurers who managed to get across the dangerous Mississippi on their way to the West, and then just gave up and stopped in the middle of Iowa and declared it to be home. At any rate, the city has been named the third largest insurance center in the world, and is the home of a major insurance accelerator, and a new venture capital firm focused on the insurtech sector, making allocations to promising firms of between $1M – $4M. In Iowa, that kind of money buys quite a bit more EVERYTHING – talent, housing, office space – than it would in NYC or Silicon Valley. It does, indeed, look like DesMoines is poised to be America’s next major financial hub.
“Far from the Silicon Valley hub of financial technology, the next great insurance tech idea may be hatched in Des Moines, Iowa.
Since 2015, insurance technology startups from around the world have converged there to learn how to grow their businesses. The Global Insurance Accelerator is a 100 day early-stage startup program backed by major firms including American Equity, Principal and Mutual of Omaha. They’re working on tools make the claims process run better, and new ways to assess risk and detect fraud. The program will graduate its third class this year, and interest among major insurance carriers continues to grow.
“When you look at insurance companies, at the end of the day they’re data companies, and the products they deliver are virtual,” said Brian Hemesath, managing director of the Global Insurance Accelerator, whose fund offers participating startups $40,000 of seed funding in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake. The program is part of a larger trend where insurance carriers are developing their own venture capital arms to support new products from startups….”