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19 October, 2020 - 10:53 By Tony Quested

InsurTech startup Rnwl lays down marker for Young Company award

Rnwl Goncalo

Financial technology is one of the strong suits in the Cambridge S & T sphere and to that power base you can now add an extra spur – InsurTech.

Entrepreneur Goncalo de Vasconcelos, the brains behind SyndicateRoom, is now steering InsurTech startup Rnwl towards a strong global platform in another game-changing play.

Rnwl was the first entrant for the Young Company of the Year category in the 2020-2021 Business Weekly Awards which were launched last week.

Entry is now open across several categories and we want thrusting businesses – new and already mature – to parade their talents.

As we reported recently, Rnwl has raised a second tranche of cash in record time with the promise of more to come as it wows the crowd on Seedrs. Rnwl set a minimum target of £150k in the new Seedrs round and surpassed that figure rapidly. The company has so far raised £400k.

Business Weekly understands that early backers of the business include some of Cambridge’s best-known investors – Simon Thorpe, chairman of Cambridge Angels, Google’s William Russell and serial life science entrepreneurs Jonathan Milner and Sunil Shah.

Goncalo de Vasconcelos is known as a pioneer in FinTech as the founder of SyndicateRoom, a company that won many awards as it scaled the business. The company was the winner of the Business Weekly Awards startup title in 2013, the year SyndicateRoom was launched, and – as Goncalo likes to highlight – this was the company’s first public recognition.

Since then he has been busy setting up his latest venture: Rnwl which has a vision to be the first insurance platform that provides an end-to-end solution for consumers. 

What does this mean in practice? Goncalo explains: “Buying and managing insurance is such a broken process. It infuriates me how the industry is focused on selling a product, not in serving customers. 

“Everything about it is based on a lead generation model. It’s all about grabbing your data and you handover your details in exchange for a hidden commission. 

“It’s such an archaic and inefficient model that makes your insurance and mine more expensive. The industry is hopelessly out-of-date and ripe for disruption.

“Rnwl is addressing the consumer pain points, one by one. And there is no bigger pain point than the auto-renewal, where loyal customers are overcharged by an average of £200/year. 

“It’s such a hassle that people have to shop around for insurance every year or face overpaying by such a hefty amount.”

Rnwl automatically analyses the market and lets its customers know what their alternatives are, how much they can save and give them the option of switching insurance at a click of a button. 

Goncalo adds: “Initial feedback to the Rnwl venture has been tremendous. Customers keep telling us over and over again how frustrated they are for having to shop around for insurance every year to avoid being ripped off. From now on, they don’t have to do it – Rnwl does it for them every year without them having to lift a finger.”

Goncalo’s vision for the future of Rnwl is far greater than this, though. Rnwl’s ultimate goal is to have an over-the-top insurance platform that gives customers the sublime experience they should expect from the industry, including fair and easy to understand policies, claim management, making changes such as temporarily adding a driver easily and without admin fees and so on. 

He says: “Think about what challenger banks did in financial services and you can imagine what Rnwl can do in insurance. That is what the future of insurance looks like. That’s our vision.”

Investors seem to like the approach. It took just two weeks to raise the previous funding round earlier in the year. Rnwl is in the midst of a new round of finance and has hit its target even more quickly this time around.

To enter visit www.businessweekly.co.uk/business-awards/enter-awards

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