Podcasts

American Family Ventures’ Dan Reed: ‘Investing in financial technology answers questions that haven’t been asked yet’

  • A lot of money is flowing into insurtech, especially from incumbents in the industry.
  • American Family Ventures' Dan Reed joins us on the podcast to talk about his portfolio.
close

Email a Friend

On the Tearsheet podcast, we’ve tried to interview some of the smartest corporate investors at some of the largest firms in the financial industry, trying to understand their process, their investment strategies, and how their firms use investing as part of their innovation programs.

This week’s guest on the podcast is Dan Reed, managing director of American Family Ventures. As a corporate investor at insurer American Family, he’s looking for early stage technology firms that can help the firm modernize its distribution while remaining true to the legacy of the agents who helped build his business. We also discuss how his career path, through strategy and business development roles, informs his investing practice at a 90 year old insurance company.

Subscribe: iTunes I SoundCloud

Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.

Gravitating to the insurance industry
“After about five years at the Boston Consulting Group, I moved back to Wisconsin. I signed up with American Family Insurance. The same things kept coming up: the notion of how do we modernize our distribution while remaining true to the legacy of our agents who built this business, how do we derive new insights from large data sets, and how do we work with our policyholders to engineer the risks we cover in a more proactive way.”

Working with tech firms
“I like the optimism of these companies. They’re just cool and excited and enthusiastic to work with a large company like ours to help create the future. When I think of the strategic imperatives we have as an enterprise, as a 90 year old insurance company, marrying up the energy and technological progress that some of these companies we were making with our scale was something I hadn’t encountered during consulting. It feels like a answer to question that may not really have been asked yet.

Our mandate is to get us involved in some of the emerging concepts and business models that can be meaningful to the insurance industry over the next decade and get us involved earlier than we otherwise would from an operational perspective. Our job is to get out over the hill, see what’s out there, and bring it back earlier. In putting this corporate venture function together, we would get the question whether we had a strategic or financial mandate. We have both.”

Incumbents can provide value to startups
“We were pretty active in the home automation market in 2014 and 2015. As a significant home insurance carrier, we have relationships with millions of policyholders across the country. If we could find standouts in the home automation startups out there that were displaying some meaningful customer traction, we could partner with them and offer a secondary or tertiary channel to get to market in a way that benefits everyone.

Ring makes a wifi-enabled video doorbell you can answer from your phone. It’s a fairly effective burglary deterrent device. We put a program together where Ring offered a $30 discount to our policyholders in exchange for some marketing weight we put behind it. We offered a 5 percent homeowners premium discount which can be meaningful over a few years. Ring offered to cover the deductible if there was a theft claim for policyholders that had a Ring device. We’ve have a variety of programs like this to understand what our customers really care about and what types of partnerships seem to work.”

 

0 comments on “American Family Ventures’ Dan Reed: ‘Investing in financial technology answers questions that haven’t been asked yet’”

Podcasts

‘We’re increasingly focused on connecting banks, businesses and innovative partners in a collaborative ecosystem’: Bottomline’s Norm DeLuca

  • Historically, banks have not found a good model to service small businesses.
  • Bottomline's GM of digital banking solution joins the podcast to talk about creating technology ecosystems around banks for SMBs.
Zachary Miller | April 14, 2021
Finance Everywhere, Podcasts

‘It’s a no brainer to add a virtual card into the travel product’: TripActions’ Michael Sindicich

  • TripActions serves the Fortune 500 with modern travel and expense management.
  • Tearsheet caught up with the GM of Liquid, the firm's payment product.
Zachary Miller | April 07, 2021
Podcasts

‘You’re best having a cannabis banking program, not a project’: The ins and outs of banking cannabis with Regent Bank’s Keri Cain

  • Regulations still make cannabis banking a complicated process that's tough to scale.
  • Regent Bank, a small outfit in OK, has found a way to use technology to grow its cannabis banking program.
Zachary Miller | April 05, 2021
Podcasts

Behind the Marqeta partnership with Deserve’s Kalpesh Kapadia

  • Deserve is a pureplay credit card as a service firm.
  • With a recent partnership with Marqeta, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia joins the Tearsheet Podcast to discuss growth opportunities.
Zachary Miller | March 25, 2021
Podcasts

‘Embedded fintech works in the inverse direction’: Why banks should integrate SaaS with Autobooks’ Derik Sutton

  • Software firms are increasingly integrating with payment and banking solutions.
  • But what if that was reversed -- what if more banks integrated with fintech solutions? Autobooks' Derik Sutton explains.
Tearsheet Editors | March 22, 2021
More Articles