News & Views

Most Contagious Startup Winner Announced

by Patrick Jeffrey

Lemonade, a New York-based home insurer, has won the 2017 Most Contagious Startup Award.

The company, founded in April 2015, combines AI, behavioural economics and transparency to provide a radical new kind of insurance.

‘If you tried to create a system that would bring out the worst in people, you would end up with something that looks a lot like the current insurance industry,’ said Dan Ariely, the firm’s chief behavioural officer, when we first interviewed him back in January 2017.

Ariely believes that the insurance industry is caught in a vicious cycle, where people tend to embellish their claims because they do not trust that they’ll receive the full amount. But insurers are well aware of this, and push up premiums to protect their margins. 

Another way

Rather than get caught up in this cycle, Lemonade takes a 20% cut of any premium and puts the rest of the money into a pot designed to encourage honesty. If a customer needs to make a claim, then Lemonade pays quickly by using AI algorithms to validate and process each case – its record is less than three seconds to settle a claim. But if there is money that hasn't been claimed at the end of the year, then – instead of pocketing the extra cash – Lemonade donates it to a charity of the customer’s choice.

Yael Wissner-Levy, head of communications and content at Lemonade, said: ‘We're thrilled to win this year's Contagious Startup award, and thank everyone who took part in this year's conference. We're working hard to reinvent insurance through AI and behavioural economics, and truly appreciate this recognition from the community’.

Wissner-Levy flew to London to pick up the award at our Most Contagious event on 6 December.

Paul Kemp-Robertson, co-founder and chief brand officer at Contagious, said: ‘Lemonade perfectly reflects so many of the values that make a great brand in 2018. It is open and honest; it uses machine learning to eliminate pain points; it employs smart behavioural insights; and it is obsessed with creating a better overall experience for its customers.’

A range of other exciting startups also presented at Most Contagious. These included:

Nested, a startup aiming to eliminate stress and uncertainty from the UK property market by guaranteeing that it will sell a property in 90 days, or buy that property itself.

Moby Mart, an autonomous convenience store on wheels that is completely staffless and open 24 hours a day. The retail store uses AI to personalise the shopping experience and is currently being trialled in Shanghai., a UK company that gives consumers ownership of their data. People can answer simple questions to gain ‘credits’, which can then be redeemed for gift cards or donated to charity. Already, has worked with O2 to generate more meaningful consumer insights.

Lightvert, a new outdoor advertising medium that relies on persistence of vision to create a billboard in the sky. This medium takes up almost no space, compared to traditional billboards, and the company has already received over £1m ($1.3m) in funding.

Picasso Labs, an AI startup that turns images and videos into data points, so brands can understand individual elements of visual content and can gain insights into what will help drive sales.

You can download the 2017 Most Contagious Report (our analysis of the biggest trends for the year ahead), here