Dundee insurance tech start-up backed by Chris van der Kuyl eyes US push

A Dundee insurance technology start-up backed by prominent entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl is eyeing a drive into the US market after doubling revenue in only its second year of trading.

Broker Insights founded by former Aviva senior executives Fraser Edmond and Iain Crole, has doubled revenues to £2.25 million in the year to the end of January while also doubling its platform gross written premiums – an insurance industry yardstick – to £1 billion.

Seven top insurers – Zurich, Axa, Hiscox, Markel, Ecclesiastical, QBE and RSA – are already signed up to the fledgling platform, along with more than 150 brokers.

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The Tayside venture is backed by Chroma Ventures, the investment arm of Van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns’ 4J Studios. Chroma channels flexible capital into a range of early-stage and established businesses showing high-growth potential.

Chris van der Kuyl of Chroma Ventures and Broker Insights, and Fraser Edmond of Broker Insights. Picture: Stewart AttwoodChris van der Kuyl of Chroma Ventures and Broker Insights, and Fraser Edmond of Broker Insights. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Chris van der Kuyl of Chroma Ventures and Broker Insights, and Fraser Edmond of Broker Insights. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Edmond, chief executive and co-founder of Broker Insights, said: “We have experienced accelerated adoption of the platform in the UK over the last 12 months as the industry has seen the benefits of this new digital route of engagement between insurers and brokers. The platform is unlocking value for insurers and brokers by reducing costs and increasing trading effectiveness.”

Headcount at the business has increased from 17 to 30 over the last 12 months, with roles added in software development, data science and the commercial team.

In April, Kevin Ord was hired as chief operating officer to help guide the firm as it prepares for what Edmond describes as “rapid scaling” and North American expansion during 2022.

Ord is said to have a track record in transforming and growing technology organisations, having previously held positions in equity-backed companies in the software, ecommerce and digital marketing sectors.

Broker Insights, which is headquartered at Water’s Edge in Dundee, is currently focused on adding several new product features to the platform and recently launched Market Management, aimed at large broker firms allowing them to license and configure the platform to their needs.

The platform is said to help “narrow the data gap between brokers and insurers, increase the distribution and sales of insurance products, and drive down costs”.

Van der Kuyl, who is chairman of Broker Insights, said: “Broker Insights is one of the UK’s fastest-growing tech businesses with an opportunity to transform the global commercial insurance market. The next phase of major growth will be expansion into the US market.”

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The firm, which was founded in 2018, also moved into profitability during the year and repaid the early-stage support and loans received from Scottish Edge and the Scottish Investment Bank. The company was a Scottish Edge winner in 2018.

Chroma Ventures was created this year by Burns and Van der Kuyl as a broad-spectrum investment venture. It is based in Scotland, but with an “international outlook”.

The co-founders of 4J Studios have been active investors and advisors to a number of early-stage companies for several years, often alongside other investors.

Chroma Ventures’ expanding portfolio includes Ace Aquatec, Blippar, Parsley Box, Puny Astronaut, Stormcloud Games, Team 17, TVSquared, and the property development company Chroma Developments.

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