Highlighting FinTech Leaders: Sam Hodges (Vouch Insurance)

“In under 10 minutes a founder can get all of the business insurance she needs to start and then to scale a company”

 

 

 

SAM HODGES (CO-FOUNDER & CEO)

 

As our modern-day insurance leviathan continues on life support, a miracle cure is en route: Insurtech. This “defibrillator on the heart of the insurance industry” imbues the world of insurance assessments with technological wizardry. Check out these youthful stats: 300 U.S. startups in 2019, over $1 billion in capital, and 60% growth projected in 2020.

The company recently closed their series B, landing $45M led by Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund.

Our insurtech scrum lead for today is Sam Hodges, co-founder and CEO at Vouch. While not trekking the country from event to event, he can be found conjuring a better insurance world. Watch out he’ll be at Empire FinTech Apr 1. His team is poised to tackle the challenges of scaling the startup mountain. To the summit!

Have a rest from your daily quest, and join us for an interview with Sam

 

Tell us about Vouch Insurance in a few words?

Business insurance for start-ups.

 

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I’ve made it to the 3 of the 4 last Rugby World Cups (Paris, London, Japan) and hoping to make it back to France for the one in 2023!

 

Dinner with 3 people from any time across history, who would they be and why?

Leonardo da Vinci, Ursula K. Le Guin, Richard Feynman — I can’t imagine a better troika to explore (and push) the realm of the possible over a bottle of wine or two.

 

If you could pick any job in the world, what would it be? Aside from your current hustle.

If I wasn’t an entrepreneur (and also horribly out of condition) I’d love to be Jimmy Chin (or his assistant): Professional mountaineer, photographer and film-maker.

 

What’s your favorite thing about working where you do?

Our team — I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with a creative, values-driven bunch of folks who are committed to changing the way insurance works, and to helping entrepreneurs be better entrepreneurs.

 

What’s your company look like 5yrs down the road?

We’re building an insurance company to serve the needs of those who are building the future. We see an opportunity not just to make it easier and more convenient for innovative companies to get the coverage they need to start and to scale, but also to re-invent how underlying insurance coverage works as well. In 5 years we’ll be operating across the US as well as in a few other countries, and we’ll have a wide range of insurance solutions to meet the needs to innovators (in tech and beyond) in these geographies.

 

What keeps you up at night and why?

I have a 3.5 year-old daughter and a puppy chocolate Labrador Retriever — so usually one of those! More seriously, I worry very seriously about the political discourse we’re having as a country right now — we have many serious problems that we need to solve as a society and the over-simplification, vilification and fear-mongering that occupies most discourse is preventing us from coming up with thoughtful solutions.

 

What do you think about the future of FinTech that your colleagues don’t all agree with?

Traditional banks, insurance companies and asset managers aren’t going anywhere — some of them are going to evolve to offer direct digitally-native solutions that meet the needs of their customers, and others are going to evolve more in the direction of wholesale providers of regulated financial infrastructure and providers of institutional capital.

 

What (other) bank, FinTech, or VC do you have the most admiration for and why?

I’m going to cheat and name two: I’m a big fan of both Stripe and Cross River Bank: both provide vital services for other businesses, and represent two different ways to approach financial “infrastructure”.

 

How do we make the FinTech community even stronger?

Some of the most interesting and rapid changes in global financial services are happening in other parts of the world — the more global we as a community can think, the better we’ll be at learning from each other.

 

Does Libra scare you? Why or why not?

Conceptually no, but I’ll admit that Facebook scares me on some level.

 

Which tech giant will leap into banking first and why? (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc)

There’s an argument that Apple and Amazon are already well down this path, so I’d pick one of them, though it’s not clear to me that any of these companies need to set up banks to offer the banking services they want to deliver for their customers — hence the partnerships that have cropped up over the past few years.

 

Pick your own fun question! Dazzle us!

Favorite sub-genre of literature: magical realism.

 

Why did you decide to start or join your startup?

I was involved in my first start-up about 14 years ago — it only lasted a few months before it was acquired, but I got hooked. I originally joined that company because I loved the pace and vision, and the opportunity to build something from scratch. I’ve worked on four start-ups since then, and been an investor in many others over the past decade.

 

Why/how will your company win? What’s the unique edge?

We’re starting with a superior customer experience: in under 10 minutes a founder can get all of the business insurance she needs to start and then to scale a company (ranging from the basics all the way up through more complex liability coverages). On average, companies are saving ~14% by working with Vouch. Beyond this, we’re also working closely with our partners to build completely new insurance programs to meet the specific needs of high-growth businesses doing innovative things. More to come on that soon!

 

What is the coolest thing happening right now in FinTech, in your opinion? Who is doing it well?

I’m a big believer in “embedded” financial services — at the end of the day, money is a commodity. What people want is the ability to purchase, save and invest in different products and services in their moment of need. As such, I’m a big believer in companies that are building distribution through software and monetizing through a financial product of some kind.

disposable mail

 
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