EP 58 – Nicolas Faquet – Founder & CEO Roojai.com – Within Minutes We Had to Decide

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Michael Waitze has been podcasting with some of the best investors and business builders globally and discussing all things startup with them from an Asian perspective. Michael worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo. Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used successfully to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is quite skilled at connecting people and capital to innovative ideas and is a trusted advisor to both investors and founders. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, having pioneered the concept of a podcast network in Asia while building the biggest and fastest-growing listener base in the region. His flagship website, AsiaTechPodcast.com, has listeners in over 100 countries and is available on virtually every podcast player that supports RSS feeds.

Essec MBA, Actuary, 25 years of insurance experience in Asia and Europe, mainly in Motor and Health insurance, with AXA Singapore, AXA France, AIG Europe. A founding member of DirectAsia in 2009 as Group COO in charge of product, pricing, claims, call center, reinsurance and Hong Kong CEO. Sold DirectAsia to Hiscox for 55MUSD in March 2014. Started Roojai in December 2014.

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In this episode, Michael Waitze talks to Nicolas Faquet, the founder and CEO of Roojai.com. The two discuss the impact that COVID-19 has on the insurance industry and how the pandemic is forcing insurers to accelerate digital transformation. While most companies have developed some sort of Business Continuity Plan (BCP), hardly anyone is really prepared for a global pandemic. 

Roojai.com is selling auto insurance online which might be an advantage in times of COVID-19 compared to traditional insurance distribution channels but the startup has experienced a massive impact by the virus outbreak as well. On March 18th the company had a suspected case of COVID-19 and had, within 6h, to close the office and move the entire operation, including the call centre, to home-office.  

The company has managed to move its entire staff of approximately 200 people into remote work within days. While they are technically back to 100% capacity, Nicolas gives insight into the non-technical challenges of remote work. Working on joint projects and keeping the team spirit high requires more effort. The other challenge is working with partners online. Roojai works with many insurers and continuing to work on joint projects further increases complexity.   

If you would like to hear more from Nicolas, listen to the roundtable episodes we recorded with him at the AIR Motor Conference here and the startup Thailand panel here

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