29th May 2019

Love being yu — our investment in yulife

I’m delighted to be backing the yulife team on their journey to bring life insurance that promotes health and happiness to a workspace near you.

yulife has a purpose-led founding team who share a passion for wellbeing and the need for companies to do more to help encourage active lifestyles and mental health. The team is led by Sammy who was the founding CEO of Pruprotect (now known as VitalityLife) which was the first life insurance company in the UK to reward healthy living, and he has assembled a great group of co-founders in Sam, Josh, Jonathan, and Jaco to deliver on the huge opportunity.

From the first time I met Sammy and Sam I could sense their passion and commitment to the yulife mission and I’ve been captivated ever since.

Life insurance provides a vital service, easing the financial burden on your loved ones when they need it the most. Today, 96% of small and medium sized businesses in the UK don’t offer this benefit to their employees — it is perceived as complex, expensive but is a desired employee benefit. In a world with fierce competition for talent and a broader societal understanding of the importance of employee wellbeing, times are changing.

We’re all aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and the importance of a healthy mind and Dr Ragan Chatterjee, a yulife ambassador and bestselling author of The Four Pillar Plan, inspired the yulife approach to improving employee wellbeing in the office. The engaging yulife app offers its own reward currency, yucoin, in return for short walks and mindfulness activities — plus engaging leaderboards, challenges and spectacular rewards — all with the intention of making us live the happiest and longest life possible.

The Insurtech market (technology enabled start-ups entering the insurance market) is red hot with many investment dollars flowing into it — which makes a lot of sense given it’s a $5T USD global market — but there is little disruption in group life insurance, yet the market is in desperate need of some fresh ideas: incumbents offer no digital experience, brokers and intermediaries focus on large enterprise accounts and new entrants almost universally offer direct-to-consumer propositions.

In a VC world filled with game changing technology, in which we continue to make many exciting investments (such as Peak AI, Synthesia & Omni:us), our thesis for this investment feels quite obvious: an outstanding, passionate team looking to disrupt a sleepy, underserved market with a simply priced product that delivers so much more than other offerings in the space.

Our investment thesis for yulife is broadly based on four pillars:

  • The UK life insurance market is underserved and ripe for disruption: Group life insurance is only offered by 4% of SMEs in the UK; broker fee structures make the segment unattractive to target and the current sales process is complex, slow and perceived to be expensive.
  • yulife is well positioned to disrupt the current market with a digital life + wellness proposition and simple pricing: The wellness and rewards offering enables clear differentiation from existing players and will be attractive to businesses looking to improve their wellbeing benefits; self-service proposition and simple pricing resonates with SMEs and opens up this previously un-tapped market segment.
  • The yulife team is purpose-led and has relevant experience and network to build a big business in this market: The company mission will attract both talent and customers; Sammy’s senior industry relationships are valuable and have helped secure RGA as the yulife reinsurer and AIG as its insurance carrier.
  • They have a shot at delivering real-time underwriting which would change the game: With an engaged, digitally connected customer base yulife has the potential to learn more about its policyholders than other players have ever done and adjust individual risk profiles on an ongoing basis, something that would transform the industry.

As with all our investments, this has all the usual risks associated with rapid company building — however, I strongly believe that yulife has the right team, ambassadors and broader support that includes our friends at Creandum, Notion, Local Globe and Anthemis to make a really big difference to employee wellbeing and build a big, global business in doing so.

I’m looking forward to working as hard as I can to help with this adventure and if you’ve not already checked out the yulife proposition for your company, I encourage you to do so. It has ❤.

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