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Maximizing the value chain - Full-stack business models

In 2015, A16Z partner Chris Dixon, offered up a term to describe a new class of start-up, the “​Full Stack Start up”. He showed parallels between software architecture and a new commercial model. These Full Stack start-ups create a business based upon the products and processes enabled by full stack software integration. This unlocks value for customers that would not be possible if the business didn’t own the customer and offer services beyond the confines of the software.

To be successful as a Full Stack provider in the insurance market you must innovate across many difficult business model components simultaneously. Not just data science and platform engineering but regulations, underwriting models, pricing and marketing. Once established the business moat is no longer the data or software but the numerous innovations and connections established within a business to deliver value to the client. These combinations have the effect of simplifying the customer interaction from many suppliers to a single channel. The value to the customer through category consolidation is unique, churn is reduced and returns improve.

In APAC Grab and GoJek showed the potential of growing from sub-stack to full stack. Starting with single products and platform solutions to aggregate demand and supply the groups have innovated to align their offering to their suppliers increasing value to their partners and broadening their offering to meet the needs of thousands of workers.

Humnis now working to make that a reality and our initial Full Stack product is Rideshurfor commercial vehicles. ​Rideshursupports fleet efforts in active risk management and loss reduction while simultaneously rewarding that success through flexible insurance premiums and rebates. This meets the customer's needs but in a way that is only possible by combining all the elements in the value chain from data acquisition through to insurance actuarial models.

This was not our initial design, we were a reluctant MGA. Our platform and expertise started in data. We are streaming data engineers looking for ways to build machine learning within streaming data feeds outside of the narrow confines of high frequency trading.This product as a SaaS offering was too far away from current practice to find a buyer within insurance. So we built a broker. However without pricing power we couldn’t generate the value for the customer, so we became an MGA.

The full stack ​Rideshur​ product that provides the combination of services and incentives that align to the customer requirement. Our streaming data platform is not the product but the foundation that allows us to observe risk and events in real time. The machine learning and data science insights do not create consulting wins but pricing and risk management events. The full stack insurer is not a marketing façade but a method of owning the underwriting and actuarial models to release reserves as uncertainty and provisions are managed in real time not months or years in arrears.

Ultimately our customers take insurance as they are required to by law or as they transfer a risk they would like to mitigate. The ​Humnvalue is to acknowledge that requirement and build a product that meets them on equal standing in viewing the risk through data and providing a service that enables them to reduce losses and costs. Our partnerships and engagements with enterprises unlock capital, and accelerate learning and we continue to seek insurers, re-insurers and partners who can accelerate our scaling.

Now as a full stack start up we continue to innovate and believe that the customers will support those businesses who deliver value and the capital will follow.



Mark Musson is the Founder/CEO of is a part of our Batch 4 Insurtech Program in Singapore.

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