South African insuretech startup Pineapple has claimed the top R22.5 million prize at a fintech competition held in the United States.
Pineapple is a peer-to-peer insurance provider, which aims to remove the conflict of interest inherent in all insurance products, by returning all unused premium back to the hands of the consumer.
According to the group, every claim an insurer denies adds to their bottom line, which creates an inherent conflict of interest whereby the provider of the service is actually incentivised to not follow through on their promise.
With Pineapple, premiums you pay towards your insurance, goes into a customer’s Pineapple Wallet, which is then used to help pay the claims of the Pineapple community.
A small fee from the wallet pays for complete protection so that valid claims will always be paid, even if the wallet runs out.
“At the end of each year, all money left over in your Pineapple wallet is yours to withdraw in cash,” it said.
The group focuses on building trust networks, so that customers can control how their wallet is used.
“The more you connect to those you know and trust, the less your wallet is affected by the claims of those you don’t know.”
Customers are able to get insurance almost instantly through simply taking a picture of the items they want insured – the key feature that the judges in the Connecticut Innovations VentureClash 2019 competition honed in on.
Pineapple competed with nine other businesses in the Connecticut Innovations VentureClash 2019 competition, which was held in September and October.
The Joburg startup took home the top $1.5 million prize after going up against nine other businesses, including three from the US, four from Israel and two from Canada.
The top 10 finalists were selected from over 300 vetted applicants to the competition.
“We are excited about what this means for the future of software development in South Africa. It shows that we can compete on a global stage and that there is a bright future for the South African technology industry,” the company said.
Pineapple had previously won the $25,000 VentureClash Innovation Prize provided by Travelers, awarded to companies developing solutions and pursuing market opportunities in insurtech.
Other investment award winners included:
- Atidot ($750,000): An Israeli-based insurtech solution that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to help life insurance companies optimize their books of business.
- Cinchy ($500,000): A company creating a new alternative to buying and building applications that brings data collaboration to the enterprise.
- Covr Financial Technologies ($500,000): A company simplifying the way life insurance is sold by offering financial institutions a digital platform to sell leading insurance products in the most efficient way possible.
- Curatio ($250,000): A Canadian company building a mobile platform that matches patients to others who understand what they’re going through in a private, secure environment.
- DEEP ($250,000): An Israeli company developing a platform that uses AI and practical machine learning technologies to create contextual visual storytelling elements, including semiautomated video production.
- EyeControl ($750,000): An Israeli company creating an innovative communication device for individuals who suffer from complete paralysis.
- MothersChoice ($500,000): A company creating the next generation of personal care products scientifically proven to be healthy, safe and 100 percent natural.