Founding Student Name(s): Manish Chauhan
Brief Description of Solution: We enable online merchants and tech companies involved in the consumer purchase journey to embed warranties and insurance for the products they sell. Think of it as Apple Care, but for everything you buy online. With our state-of-the-art APIs, you can finish integration within minutes instead of months. And with just one integration, you will be able to provide coverage for all the products sold in the USA and Canada at very competitive prices. We take care of regulations, customer management, claims, and everything else related. At zero money and time cost, we can improve your net profits by 30%, average order size by 5%, and reduce loan default rates so that you sit back and see your earnings grow!
Funding Dollars: US$2.5M
What led you to launch this venture? While working with insurance companies and online merchants, we noticed the technological gap between what insurers can provide and what merchants can use. This is a big problem for SMBs as they don’t have in-house engineering teams to fill this gap. Also, tech companies, e.g., a Neobank, can’t build insurance tech that can scale with their demand in-house, as this is neither their focus nor their expertise.
As a result, roughly 50% of the products sold online don’t have any warranty or insurance attached to them. During COVID, online sales exploded. In 2021 alone, the number of online transactions doubled. This forced more and more SMBs to move online. We saw this opportunity and started Surebright.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? We are already live with three merchants and have 25+ customers in the pipeline. Some of these customers are publicly-listed companies and Neobanks. Within three months after graduation and two months after raising money, we built an impressive team of engineers, sales, and operational staff. These two are likely our biggest accomplishments till now.
How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The MBA program gave me a different perspective in general. It broadened my horizon and gave me the foundational tools, e.g., marketing, finance, that enabled me and gave me the confidence to tackle the problem on my own. This was critical in starting my venture as the things that I was afraid of earlier weren’t scary anymore.
What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? I didn’t start my entrepreneurial journey because of inspiration from an entrepreneur per se. But I have always admired Steve Jobs. His art of storytelling and marketing expertise is phenomenal. I am a fan of the simplicity of his ideas and how he built one of the earth’s most valuable companies around them.
Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup, and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Multiple classes during my MBA have been very valuable to me in building my start-up, e.g., Marketing courses such as Customer Insights and Strategy courses such as Blue Ocean Strategy. But one course that has been most useful is Negotiations. While taking this course, I had no idea that it would become my most useful course and would help me every day. I learned about the methodologies to prepare for a negotiation, the unseen forces and actions that drive it, and how to pave the path to win it. Above all, the most important lesson I learned was that for you to win, the other party doesn’t have lose.
What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? I consulted with a lot of professors, e.g., Prof Paulo from Marketing, Prof Raomal from entrepreneurship, and Prof Ben from IVC. If I have to pick one, I’ll choose Prof Claudia Zeisberger. My interactions with her were limited, but it was always when I was caught between a rock and a hard place. Her advice was consistently helpful and made problems looks easy.
How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? We participated in INSEAD Venture Competition and reached the Semifinals. The documents we needed to prepare gave us clarity and made the blind spots visible. Weekly discussions with Ben Ling during IVC were also very helpful. I also used the Entrepreneurs in Residence program to talk to Alums and brainstorm the problems I was facing at the start-up with them. In addition, the interactions with founders during the courses and learning from them how to solve specific problems came in handy when I started SureBright.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our vision is to be able to provide a warranty and insurance with every purchase. After the hard work of the day, everyone has the right to be a little carefree and enjoy the phone’s screen without the case.
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