Having sold his last company Brovada for US$15.2 million in 2015, Karl Greenlaw is back in the startup game with a new fintech company called Brunvalley Cloud Solutions Inc.
The Quispamsis, NB-based company, which plans to use artificial intelligence to simplify applications for home and auto insurance, has already attracted funding from East Valley Ventures of Saint John and other investors.
Greenlaw was the founder and CEO of Brovada, which streamlined the communications between insurance companies and brokers. Brovada accounted for about 90 percent of the data transferred between the two groups in Canada. He sold the company, which was also backed by East Valley, to professional services company Towers Watson in September 2015. Greenlaw moved on from Towers Watson more than a year ago, and hopes the new company picks up where Brovada left off.
“At Brovada, I’d meet regularly with brokers and insurance companies and get their views, and what I found was . . . that insurance hasn’t been properly disrupted,” Greenlaw said in an interview Tuesday. “If you want to move from one company to another, it’s not very easy. There’s all kind of questions like how big’s your home and what’s your floor area . . . and that ends it for some people.”
Brunvalley has a four-member team working at simplifying the process of getting insurance. The company is using artificial intelligence to help insurers produce an instant quote for a potential customer, and then move through the process of buying a policy without answering dozens of questions.
The idea behind Brunvalley is that many people, especially millennials, will give up on finding a new insurer rather than answer all the questions about insulation or oil tanks or age of the furnace. Greenlaw believes a lot of the questions are not needed, and that an AI program can provide insurers with all the information they need to give a fast quote and issue an insurance policy.
He foresees a product that will let a buyer go to a car dealership or see a house for sale and instantly get a quote on how much he or she would pay for insurance and financing. That would lead to a smoother sale and increase sales to the financial company that offered such a service.
With industry consolidation and the need to reach younger customers, Greenlaw said insurers would be open to disruptive technology that allows them to grow market share and meet the demands of younger generations. He’s now looking forward to having a working product to demonstrate to people in the financial industries.
Greenlaw said he has not been trying to raise capital, but as he discussed his plan with former backers they let him know they’d be interested in investing in the company. Now the team is working on its minimum viable product.
“Our proof of concept is coming along quite nicely,” he said. “We’re trying to hurry it along so it can be shown to industry people, and we should be able to do that in the next few months. . . . We’re probably a year away from a formal launch.”