December 14, 2021
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5 minute

Insurance for all: Welcoming Walnut to the Harvest Portfolio

Inside Harvest

Recently, we announced the launch of our $14MM venture capital fund, Harvest Venture Partners. This announcement marks a momentous milestone for Harvest as we continue to add value for founders within our portfolio while strengthening the Canadian tech ecosystem. 

With the announcement of our inaugural fund, we also welcome a new company into our portfolio; Walnut Insurance

Walnut is an insurtech, on a mission to provide transparent life insurance while delivering immediate value to subscribers through embedded subscriptions to leading wellness brands like Headspace, ClassPass and Dashlane. Their digital first platform provides users with instant coverage and access to flexible pricing plans, so that users can lock-in the best prices for terms between 10-20 years. Walnut members gain access to everything they need to help them live a balanced life while gaining the peace of mind that their future is protected.

We are thrilled to welcome Walnut to our network as we continue to unearth high-value market opportunities, build talented teams, and harness shared value to bolster the tech ecosystem within the Canadian Prairies and beyond.

With our foothold in fintech, insurance was a natural expansion within our growing portfolio. 

Why the insurance industry needs a reboot

Traditional insurance practices are modeled after systems created over 200 years ago. Much like financial services, this antiquated industry has been slow to change because of high-risk aversion.

But consumers are ready for change. Unforeseen events like the Covid-19 pandemic and environmental crisis have put the need for insurance at the forefront. Consumers want insurance options that are relevant to their needs, and better yet, won’t break the bank. 

Digitization provides a wealth of opportunity when it comes to improving customer experience in the way of offering more holistic and personalized insurance policies that deliver tangible value on day one. Technology helps lower-cost distribution, making insurance more accessible to a broad range of people, no matter their life stage or circumstance. Access to more data drives product innovation and reduces risks when it comes to processes like underwriting claims and analyzing policies.

Not only does technology provide better options for individuals, but isolating insurance functionality enables third-party organizations to seamlessly leverage APIs and integrate advanced risk mitigation solutions directly within their customer flows. Embedded insurance offers an estimated $3 trillion market opportunity that is ripe for the taking with the right idea and team to back it.

Experienced founders

Much like the founding teams at Neo Financial, OneVest & Propra, Walnut is ready to take on the big players, with strong leadership at the helm. Walnut co-founders Derek Szeto and Adrien Niblock are well familiar with the changing tides within startups.

Derek Szeto is a serial entrepreneur and founder. His previous ventures include RedFlagDeals.com, which was acquired by Yellow Pages Group in February of 2010, Wirkn, and Butter. Derek served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Kinetic Cafe and is an active Angel Investor with a keen eye for disruptive ideas. 

Adrien Niblock is also no stranger to the world of growing and scaling startups. With a background in UX/UI design, Adrien was part of early-stage teams at League and Fullscript. Before founding Walnut, Adrien served as Entrepreneur in Residence at Diagram Ventures. 

With an already experienced founding team in place, Walnut will also collaborate with Harvest, leveraging our network of resources including marketing to help build brand awareness and adoption, and recruitment, to help map out key hires and find the right talent to join the fast-expanding team. 

Insurtech & fintech: An analogous relationship 

Our synergetic portfolio model allows us to leverage the collective value created across the financial services value chain. That means with each new company introduced, overcoming the traditional barriers gets easier.  

With a look to embedded insurance, opportunities between financial services and insurance are plentiful. Building on the proof points we’ve established in Neo Financial, new partnerships present opportunities to address consumer pain points while helping close the protection gap in Canada. 

Looking ahead: Making the Prairies the Silicon Valley of the Future

Western Canada is experiencing an unprecedented tech boom. Venture capital has shown incredible growth, hitting a record high with $11.8 billion so far this year. Building strategically and capitalizing on the network effect of the shared value chain, we can continue to help shape Canada’s promising future and through economic diversification that delivers prosperity and opportunities for generations to come.  

Interested in joining a high-growth startup? Walnut is hiring! Click here to view open positions and apply.


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