"We need a unicorn for Ländle".

Christian Wiens has just received the long-awaited Bafin license with Getsafe. In an interview, the founder talks about the next steps for his company. - – and explains what he thinks of Baden Württemberg as a start-up location.

Getsafe founder Christian Wiens has just returned from Egypt. The plan was to take a breather after expanding his financing round by 55 million euros. However, a vacation was not really in the cards. Because Wiens has big plans, wants to expand further with his start-up - and then came the long-awaited approval of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin).

Mr. Wiens, you have just received an insurance license for your start-up. Until now, Getsafe was an insurance underwriter, i.e. it offered, developed and sold its own policies, even though the risk was assumed by a traditional insurer in the background. Why did you want to change that in the first place?

As an underwriter, we have always needed a partner to lend us their license. In a way, this dependency paralyses us. Developing new products often takes longer and we can't find a partner for very innovative approaches. In addition, traditional insurers find it difficult to use newly collected data from the digital world. We believe we are further along in this respect. The license opens up new opportunities for us here. For our customers, this will actually change very little in the short term.

What do you mean by that?

Our app is used a lot for home insurance, for example. However, our insurance partner does not want some of the data we collect. For them, only the classics are important: for example, the customer's birthday, name and place of residence. But we also collect, for example, how and when exactly such an insurance policy is taken out. We collect tens of thousands of data points of this kind. From this, we can identify patterns and correlations, such as how the use of the app relates to a customer's risk profile, for better or worse. Likewise, insurance fraud can be spotted much more quickly, and ultimately that's good for all fair-minded policyholders.

So you're going to separate yourself from the other insurers in the future.

Yes, the license means in the medium term that we no longer need partners. In perspective, we want to become a big full-line insurer, something like the "Allianz" for a new generation of customers. We want to offer a full range of products. In the medium term, we want to achieve all this with our own licences. For the time being, we have applied to Bafin for a property insurance license, and at some point we will do the same for life and health insurance.

You have just expanded your current financing round by 55 million euros to 80 million euros. What do you intend to do with the money?

We need part of it to finance this license. Otherwise, we want to expand further abroad. The expansion to Great Britain was a big step for us. Business there already accounts for 25 percent of our growth.

In which countries do you want to become active next?

We are proceeding according to the attractiveness of the markets. The UK and Germany are the biggest. France, Spain and Italy are next. We want to expand into one or even more other countries next year.

Your startup is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany. Many other fintech and insurtech companies are based in Berlin or Munich. Why are you staying?

We will definitely keep the main location in Heidelberg, but open more. We therefore want to work with many smaller hubs so that, in the best case, our employees never need more than 30 minutes to get to their workplace. We already have a team in London and a small one in Berlin. But going there completely doesn't make sense for us. The market for talent there is largely empty. Here in Baden-Württemberg, there are still plenty, although most of them still take the route to a traditional company.

The only problem is that if the talent in Baden-Württemberg doesn't end up at start-ups, but instead at the big corporations, you won't get anything out of it.

Admittedly, this works better in Berlin. What we are still missing here in Baden-Württemberg are stories of successful start-ups and founders who inspire young people. Start-ups also need to be more present in schools, at universities and technical colleges.

So you are calling for more commitment from the community?

Among other things. We organised an event in May last year. It was called "Ein Einhorn fürs Ländle". Danyal Bayaz, then still a member of the Bundestag, who has since joined us as Minister of Finance, was there. The CEO of Volocopter and representatives from the VC scene from Stuttgart were also there. We wanted to bring together success stories from our region. The participants liked it at the time. But if we really want to make the start-up location here big, then the long-established companies have to play along as well.

What do you mean by that?

There is still too little exchange between the two sides. Some of our large corporations seem too fed up; they have no interest in investing in start-ups. We can see what happens when this happens, for example in the automotive industry. They are losing touch with US companies. If Google and Facebook end up building the next car, then our major economic pillars will be dying companies. To prevent that, we need more courage and a willingness to take risks.

Thank you very much for the interview.

About the person: 6 years ago, Christian Wiens started to build up an insurtech with Getsafe in Heidelberg. He got the idea when he came across his parents' many full binders with countless letters from their insurance companies. Wiens is primarily targeting first-time insurance buyers between the ages of 20 and 35. For them, taking out insurance should become as easy as shopping online, is his vision.

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