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06.10.2017 Startups

LINGS – A Corporate Startup Founded by Generali Insurances. 

Pictured (left to right): Thomas Kistler (COO); Roger Schüeber (CMO); Kai Kunze (CEO); Henrik Deecke (CTO)

At a time when people listen to music on-demand, whenever and wherever they want, traditional household insurances are still more like listening to a cd, which you bought only because you liked song number 2 and 4. In traditional household insurance you cover everything you own, but with hundreds of fine print exclusions.

With LINGS, you can fully insure the things you really care about, with no fixed duration nor deductibles, whenever you want simply with one click on your smart device.

 

How did the team come together?

Generali came up with a few new ideas which they developed during innovations sprints. One idea was so promising, that Generali decided to test it in the Swiss market, using the F10 accelerator program to move fast from prototype to market launch, in the startup called LINGS.

Every employee of Generali Switzerland could apply to join the startup. From all applicants, the 4 final members selected themselves in an open “casting show” based on how they best fitted the needed profiles.

 

What attracted you to apply for LINGS?

In our view, LINGS is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the startup groove, but still having some kind of security, since we are still Generali employees. And the four of us are all curious on learning new things and being part of shaping the way insurance will look like in the future.

 

What do you like the most about your journey so far and especially about working at F10?

Starting in F10 was a cultural shock. We had to adapt from going to work in our suits, to shorts and sneakers. From spending most of our days in meetings to really push things forward ourselves and decide on things, sometimes only by having a good or bad gut feeling. LINGS is our baby and we alone will be responsible for success or failure. This leads to a different kind of self-motivation and energy.

Working in F10 is great, since there are so many different, interesting people in the same room, with different background, everyone happy to share their know-how and challenge in a constructive way what you are doing.

 

Being in between the corporate and the startup world, what could the two learn from each other?

The startup setting changes your mindset: we love what we do and we have a crystal clear common goal. Everyone in the team knows what’s going on, what is important and takes responsibility to simply do what’s necessary to ensure success.

The team quickly becomes like a family and the boundaries between work and leisure tend to be less clear. An afterwork beer with other startups feels more like fun than work, even if those moments are highly productive.

The specialists in the corporate “mothership” are a huge asset because they can solve complex problems quickly and “for free”. And most of these colleagues are eager to help, to develop creative solution out of their usual processes and get infected by the super-fast decision time of the startup environment.

So, multiplying the interactions between “corporate” (where the business and the money is made) and the startup are mutually beneficial and can be a brick in the needed change of the corporate company culture.

One example: as a startup, we can simply write this article in a few hours. In the corporate environment, it needs to be written by a junior, reviewed by a senior, approved by Legal and Compliance, checked with internal guidelines, with lots of back-and-forth interactions…

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