SA insurtech startup Pineapple accepted into US-based accelerator

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South African startup Pineapple has been accepted into the Hartford Insurtech Hub accelerator programme as it prepares to launch its product in the United States (US).

Pineapple, which raised funding last year and took part in Google’s Launchpad Africa accelerator earlier this year, is the world’s first insurance network, allowing members to insure things with the snap of a picture and keep all unused premium.

It is one of 10 teams from across the world accepted into the Connecticut-based Hartford Insurtech Hub, powered by Startupbootcamp, which strives to partner insurtech startups across the globe with insurance companies in the US

The three-month programme, which received more than 230 applications, begins in February, and offers startups the support, resources and industry and investor connections they need to help grow their businesses.

Pineapple co-founder Matthew Elan Smith told Disrupt Africa the startup was participating in the accelerator programme in an attempt to partner with insurance companies in the US ahead of a planned launch in the country.

“Getting into the Hartford Insurtech Hub is going to be a big catalyst to us launching Pineapple in the US,” he said.

“It gives us access to a huge network of mentors and professionals in the industry there as well as engagement with US carriers to partner up with. We are super excited for the opportunity because being able to take a proudly South Africa-built product into the US market will be a massive achievement.”

Fellow co-founder Marnus van Heerden said the ecosystem created by Hartford Insurtech Hub was “amazing”, demonstrating what a public-private partnership should look like.

“The mayor of Hartford was there, their head of regulation was their, they even have a state run venture capital arm. To back this up they invited all the major insurance companies, VCs and experts from across the board ranging from IP lawyers to design experts,” he said.

The state of Connecticut is positioning itself as the global hub for insurtech business, in much the same way as Silicon Valley is for venture capital in general. Its two advantages in this respect are the fact it is already the insurance hub of the US, and its proximity to both New York and Boston, which gives entrepreneurs based in Hartford access to resources from these cities without incurring the high cost of living there.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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