At the recent Money 20/20 event in Asia, Karim Davis Dib, co-founder and business lead of Addenda, explained to Efma’s Anne-Laure Jozan how FinTech Hive has helped the startup to grow quickly.
In 2018, the two brothers Karim and Walid Dib set up a company called Addenda to digitize the laborious and time-consuming manual processes behind insurance claim reconciliation. “Currently, the process is extremely manual in the United Arab Emirates and surrounding regions, which often means there are disputes over missing documents and that sort of thing,” Karim said. “We have built a platform that insurance companies can plug into so that we can digitize their existing process, allowing them to reconcile in real-time.”
Addenda uses some of the most modern technology to ensure it’s working as efficiently as possible. “We use a blockchain framework implementation called Hyperledger fabric,” he said. “We’re using blockchain in its simplest form, strictly to prove that certain documents have been transferred from one entity to another to avoid disputes.”
Karim had never considered entering his business into an accelerator program – at least not until he came across the FinTech Hive in Dubai. “The program is supported by the government; it doesn’t take any percentage and its goal is to support and attract innovation into the region,” he said.
After being selected from over 300 other fintechs, regtechs and insurtechs, Addenda entered a three-month intensive program with FinTech Hive. “The team gave us a lot of support with everything – from legal to media challenges, and everything in between – and it connected us with key industry players,” Karim said. “This was really useful in terms of helping us solidify our use case and gauging whether it is viable in the market. The support in business development we have received in the past three months would have taken us over a year had we done it alone.”
As a result of this support, Addenda has connected with leading insurance companies and is now using their feedback to further improve its product.
“There is around one billion dirhams’ worth of unresolved claims in these insurance companies,” said Karim. “So, the pain point is there and the challenge for us is getting the first people onboard. When you go to a company they ask “who have you got so far?” – it becomes a chicken and egg scenario.”
To overcome this challenge, Karim and his team are working with leading associations to create workshops to pitch to insurance managers in the region. “If we get a thumbs-up from insurance groups and associations then it will be a lot quicker to adopt these insurance companies into our portfolio,” said Karim. “Our product is in-line with the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, and we received positive feedback from all the insurers we have approached so far.”
Thanks to FinTech Hive, Addenda is growing quickly. The initial two-person startup now has five employees, but Karim is hoping to hire more developers soon. Although Addenda is only halfway through its first seed round, Karim has already received investments from regional venture capitalists and strategic angel investors. “The round is still open, and we are hoping to close it after a successful seed towards the end of June 2019.”