Raunak Mehta: 30X Disrupting Insurance, Challenging The Status Quo & No Ceiling For Hard Work - E242

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"Whether you are a regional insurance company or a single-country focused market player, execution is the key term. Models you can build on Excel will show a bigger path to profitability but that is only a function of your gross margin increasing and setting your operational expenses. Your gross margins will flatline after a period of time and you cannot just keep increasing it. Your growth will not be 3x every year, and gross margin being a function of your top line, will stabilize after some time." - Raunak Mehta

Raunak Mehta is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in consumer internet and insurtech startups in Asia. He currently serves as the Cofounder & CEO of Igloo. Previously, he worked with Flipkart and Zalora. Raunak is knowledgeable about the first principles mindset, building companies from scratch, and new technologies.

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Jeremy Au: (01:35)
Hey, Raunak, really excited to have you on the show. You're building out something tremendous, which is disrupting and bringing up access to insurance across Southeast Asia and beyond. So some really exciting work that you're doing. Would love for you to introduce yourself.

Raunak Mehta: (01:50)
Hi Jeremy. First of all, thanks for having me on your show. Heard a lot about it and I think this is really good to talk to you. I'm Raunak. I'm the cofounder and CEO of Igloo. We are a Singapore-based InsurTech with operations across all the major Southeast Asian economies. We largely operate in the general insurance segment with a vision to make insurance accessible and affordable for all.

I've been with Igloo for almost five years now. And prior to that, I've spent a constable amount of time in the startup ecosystem. Worked with Flipkart in India across and managed a couple of leadership positions in logistics and category management. And from there on, moved on to Zalora, where I was managing a bunch of businesses across Southeast Asia. So I would say I've been associated with startups, also very closely associated with the ups and downs of startups for, now that I think about it almost a decade.

Jeremy Au: (02:48)
How did you get into it? I mean, over a decade ago, what brought you into tech and startup then?

Raunak Mehta: (02:54)
I think this goes back, now that I think of it goes back such a long time, right? After my MBA, the startup ecosystem in India was just coming up and I was always enthralled by the impact of a startup that was using technology at its disposal and 25-year-old folks running around and making a real difference.

And you're talking of it in the Indian context where small things can have a fairly big impact. And I'm talking about a time when I think the Indian overall retail market was 500 billion dollars and organized retail out of it was in single-digit percentages and e-commerce was only a fraction of it. So it was always about doing something meaningful. It was about doing something that could have a multiplier effect and thereby a material impact on society and then Flipkart happened.

And as you can imagine, you're talking about one of the biggest countries in the world and Flipkart was trying to solve the logistics problem of moving items fairly quickly from one point to the other point. And, now you have an ecosystem that supports the e-commerce platforms. It wasn't there 10 to 12 years back, so we gathered a group of people and the idea was to develop a network that provides superlative customer experience to millions of customers across India. I still remember that we had 20,000 pin coats to cover across the whole of India and trying to provide them with next-day, two-day three-day deliveries for everything from books to phones to fashion articles and all.

So also, there's no better place I would say than be involved in a fast growing startup in a country like India. And I think that's what set things into motion. That's what gave me that idea of looking at things from a first principles perspective, challenging the status quo most importantly and actually getting this realization that a lot of things that happen is primarily common sense if you apply the same fundamental thought process, no matter what industry you are in, nine out of 10 times will be successful. So I think that's how it all started and that's how I think it still continues.

Jeremy Au: (05:22)
Challenging the status quo. I mean that's an interesting value that you mentioned, with some energy there. I think at Berkeley, the first core value is question the status quo. And then my friend and I were just discussing it and we laughed a little bit because we were like this business school would be way more successful if it preserved the status quo. It was the value to teach business school students, right? Because I think there's so much more money preserving the status quo, right?

Raunak Mehta: (05:48)
No, you're right. I've always had this opinion about education, right? And when you come from the Indian education system, you'll find a lot of people say the same thing. Education systems across the world are built to instill the conformist attitude in you. You have to be part of the mainstream and the same education system.

Talk and preach about entrepreneurship and all. On one side, you want your subjects to be institutionalized, to have that conformist attitude. And on the other side, this thing happens. So challenging the status quo for me is extremely, I think it's very critical because just today I was talking to someone about how I look at zero to one and one to end.

A lot of people in startups talk about zero to one, one to end, and unfortunately misquote or misunderstand it. The zero to one thing, it's zero to one, is about building the first block, which has never been built. You build the Genesis block, right? One to end is about just iterating upon it.

It's incremental. So it is, even when you are in an established industry, you are looking to do that zero to one thing, which all of a sudden adds a lot of value to the ecosystem. And then, if you think that it's going to add a lot of value and create a lot of value for yourself, then you move on from one to end. But before that, you have to do a lot of zero to one, zero to one, across various aspects of, I would say, work in business.

Jeremy Au: (07:27)
And that zero to one is what you are helping out with Igloo, right? With insurance and changing the status quo on insurance. So why did you join Igloo in the first place?

Raunak Mehta: (07:40)
I think it goes back to 2018. My movement to Igloo coincided with the the first crypto winter. I had spent a fair amount of time in e-commerce and quite honestly, I think I was reaching a stage where I was on the curve of diminishing returns because I think after four years at Flipkart and two years at Zalora, there wasn't a lot that was being added to my gray cells.

Then it was, what's next? What's coming up next? What trend is coming up next? And I think FinTech on the back of a lot of work that was happening in the payment space crypto, the second and third was the small part of FinTech call InsureTech. So I think with crypto shooting itself in the foot through the method of elimination, what was led for me was either payments and InsureTech.

And I just took a leap of faith in joining Igloo. Exactly on the premise I had when I joined Flipkart, I would say in 2011, which was, it's a big industry. It's an industry that for 300 years has stood the test of time, no matter whether it's boom cycle or a bust cycle and hence it's right for disruption.

And disruption generally comes when you really question the basic tenets of why is this happening and what impact is it really coming about. And the good thing about Igloo, the founding team that we had that point of time, the investors we had at that point of time gave me that independence to really try and test. And I think now that I look back, a lot of things worked out for us thankfully, and here we are talking to you.

Jeremy Au: (09:25)
So you said about the industry is large and slow. Let's just take the position of a man on the street, right? Which is most people don't use insurance. And insurance is something that I only think about if I have to.

There's a lot of better things I can do with my money than buy insurance, right? What is the total addressable market? What is the upside for the insurance industry in Southeast Asia? Because I got mouths to feed and I've got to run a business. There's so many other things I need to save my money for than to buy insurance.

Raunak Mehta: (09:54)
Yeah. No, I think from a man on the street's view, this is a view, I would say eight out of 10 people will agree with you, quite honestly, because, and there's a lot of legacy behind it, right? Insurance, because it belongs to the financial industry. Both you and I will agree that the financial industry takes pride in making the simplest of product sound like rocket science, right? So it's like creating that perception. And to a certain extent, creating that artificial scarcity of something, that's proper marketing around it. Whereas at its root at its soul, it could be a really fundamental product.

Not everything has to be a CDO, right? Not everything has to be a derivative. So your view about how a man in the street feels about it. I also look at it in exactly the same way that why is a particular insurance product needed in all? If you look at it from all the public information that's available, insurance in Southeast Asia is anywhere between an 80-85 billion business across all the sub major Southeast Asian economies. Thailand happens to be the biggest market because of the focus on auto insurance and all, but these are just high level numbers. They don't really tell you if Southeast Asia underinsured or over-insured.

One of the ways of looking at it, you look at it as a function of the overall GDP of Southeast Asia or of individual countries. And when you compare that to the global average it is said that Southeast Asia is half of the global average. Now, as average amongst all the measures of central tendencies is the most abused metric.

So I don't want to get into that. But one of the ways I look at it is, at a per capita level, how much is an individual spending on insurance? So you've got countries like Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia, where an individual at a per capita level is spending anywhere between 30 to 50 US dollars.

And you're talking about countries where GDP per capita could be anywhere between 2000 to, let's say 4,000 US dollars. Now, if you take a percentage of it, it sounds, really low. And I mean, you're talking about countries where like for instance in Philippines the impact of hurricanes and other Nashville disasters have become quite routine.

You're talking up the same about Vietnam and all where we work in the Macomb River Delta, where the sea levels are rising and thereby impacting the scale. So I would say that there is, at an overall level, and this is completely my estimate, the deficit of how much the insurance premiums should be happening at a yearly level and how much they are talking about easily a 50, $60 billion gap, right?

Some countries do well, like Singapore and on and some countries need to improve upon it, and then you really need to double click on insurance because insurance in itself has a lot of those billion dollar pockets of health insurance and car and travel and all, and amongst all countries now post-covid, there's a lot of focus on the accident and the health side of it.

There's a lot of focus on credit insurance, which becomes all the more important now because as interest rates are rising, the chances of default go up. The lenders and all need to be protected in that eventuality. So this is how I look at the market. Now, there's another way of looking at the market than what I said as 80, 90 million, you need to divide it into life and non-life, right?

Generally, if you were in the developed side of the world, life to non-life, pretty much the same, right? However, in most of the emerging countries, emerging parts of the world, life tends to be a lot higher easily, like two and a half times bigger, than the non-life segment. And that's driven by what? Because people use the life side of the business more as an investment opportunity.

They don't really use it from an insurance standpoint, more use it from an investment perspective for better returns and all. So the non-life side in Southeast Asia is a 25, 30 billion business. Largely driven by auto for obvious reasons. In countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Vehicle ownership is fairly high-driven by auto and all. Now, even in this, if you were to look at offline and online, online contributes a really low. It's 2% if I remember correctly, it's two, 3%. And now you are talking about a part of the world where you have countries like Philippines and Indonesia, where smartphone penetration has been on the rise.

I mean, smartphone penetration in Indonesia is at 75% internet penetration, 60% plus and all. The question is that why is insurance lagging? It's an accessibility issue because products are not built in a way where they could be sold in a way where people can self-serve themselves. So I think these are the problems that have, in a way plagued this industry.

And as a result of it, as I say, that insurance is not bought, it is sold. The common man on the street does not wake up in the morning thinking, Hey, today I'm going to buy a travel insurance. Somebody has to reach out to them and it is more of an assisted selling that in a way speaks volumes about the under insurance or uninsurance that you have. And remember, insurance, because it's part of financial services, always will lag the banking or the bank metrics that you will have across the region.

Jeremy Au: (15:42)
What's interesting, of course, that's true, right? That there's under insurance of the region versus developed markets. And so obviously I think there's a lot of people building in different categories, different approaches. What's interesting, I think at a high level is that there are two approaches to build out.

One is like full stack versus those are trying to partner right? With the existing players. So full stack, obviously much more. I guess trying to disrupt, like you said insurance and those that are more like partnering, so that take on some layers, but the core of it is being powered to some extent by an existing player. So what do you think is the future or how do you think that's going to play out over time?

Raunak Mehta: (16:16)
First things first. As you can understand, insurance is highly regulated, right? So if day one, if you're trying to be a full stack player, the cost of compliance could be quite high, right? So this is how I think the industry will evolve with new players coming in.

I mean, it will start with them partnering with the incumbents, taking a part of the value chain or the whole value chain of insurance, right from product discovery all the way to claims and contributing to it in the form of making either product discovery easier. Automating it the entire or part of the value chain to bring down the cost of insurance, giving great customer experience when it comes to claims and all.

So that is one way of starting over a period of time as you build a good captive base of customers, as you get a good understanding, a subject matter expertise of insurance, which effectively means that knowledge gets converted to skills by good application is when you can potentially think of becoming a full stack player. And now becoming a full stack player, because if you keep operating as a platform, think of it that over a period of time, it's like, what do you call as perfect economics, right? Over a period of time, if perfect economics will set in and as a result whatever you are supplying it, it's going to be consumed. Every time there is a situation of arbitrage, more players will step in and over a period of time, people will not make profit.

That is how the perfect economy works. Thereby, in order to get out of this sort of eventual doom scenario, what would you do? You will think of vertically integrating right, and vertical integration on both sides. Reaching to the customers by yourself and product manufacturing on the higher end of the value chain.

So over a period of time, then you move to a sort a more of a full stack play, which I believe is really important and that you see playing out in other industries as well, right? That over a period of time people are entities that have got good idea about how business needs to be done in that industry. They tend to vertically stretch themselves and thereby create more value as well as capture more value. That's how I look at it.

Jeremy Au: (18:32)
What's interesting of course, is that means that obviously every new player comes in, there's partnership and then they aim to go full stack to maybe capture more of the profit and also get the margins out, right? By streamlining costs, et cetera. I think another thing that we are seeing is obviously you're a regional player and I think there's a regional market size that you are going after and I think there's also a lot of like single country InsureTech competitors that are starting to emerge. What do you think are the advantages versus what are your advantages in competing with them for this slice of pie?

Raunak Mehta: (19:02)
I've always looked at competition in two ways, quite honestly. I think one of the ways that I learned very early at my Flipkart days when Amazon entered India, there was a bit of panic, but then that panic turned into exuberance. And why? Because what the data actually suggested was the moment a credible name enters the game, or for that matter, new players enter the game.

You have that period of three to five years when the size of the pie itself increases. So the success of one startup feeds on the success of another startup and all. So I think InsureTech is in that sort of a stage. I would say. And why is it in that kind of a stage? Because of what we discussed earlier, because of under insurance that exists in the market. So, I wouldn't, in a way, in the short to midterm be overly worried about competition or the advantage they have by being a proper domicile player. However my understanding that in the long term, as I spoke about the perfect economy thing where there's perfect competition and as we have seen in industries like airline, telcos and ride hailing for that matter, right? Over a period of time, your products and services offerings get commoditized. There is not a lot of differentiation there. And as a result of which, what happens is that you cannot command a prize in the market.

So over a period of time, you will ultimately not make any profit because if there was a possibility of making a profit, more players will come in, right? And thereby suppress the pricing and all. So I would say it depends on the maturity of the industry. Where we are right now, I think this industry definitely needs more competition so that it goes through its own boom and bust cycle. Good players survive and make a name for themselves, and in a bad cycle, the bad players will probably get weeded out.

Jeremy Au: (21:08)
So, it is a function of execution, capacity and capability there. I think for myself, I think the benefit to a company like Igloo is that, you have regional learnings, right? So you have learnings from each market that could maybe have a playbook in different markets. I assume there's some level of economies of scale maybe in terms of some of the legal or regulatory work.

And also I think a lot of the capital that you're deploying, right? Because the capital providers that are actually on the back end with you partnering with you probably look at it as a diversified portfolio distribution across the region rather than just a single country. Is that how I would think about Igloo’s advantages as a competitor and eventual leader in a space?

Raunak Mehta: (21:50)
No, absolutely. I think that's a very good point you've raised. One of the primary advantages of being a regional player is that certain parts or rather certain functions in the company could be centralized and thereby you can build immense scale on it. If you were to index a growth in 2022, over 2019, when really things started shaping up for us, we've grown like 30 times across the top line, midline, and the bottom line metrics, right?

Whereas a burn, if I were to draw a graph across the time series of 2019 to 2022, has not been that much, which tells you that a lot of efficiency has come into the system, and that's primarily because of what we have done in one country. We can actually refurbish it for another country at minimal cost. So that is a massive advantage for a company like us. Whether you are a regional company or a single market focus country, execution is the key term. I would say models you can build on Excel that will show a bigger path to profitability versus others, but that path to profitability is only a function of your gross margin increasing and over a period of time, of setting your operational expenses. Now, let's be honest, your gross margins after a period in time will flatline. You cannot, and what I spoke about, perfect, honest, you cannot just keep increasing your gross margin after the point in time. Your growth is not going to be three times every year, and gross margin is of your top line, hence, will stabilize after some time.

So where do you extract your profitability from is by really extracting that every ounce of efficiency on your OpEX base. And a lot of people got caught in the downturn that's taking shape right now where they build a lot of capacity for breakneck growth. And then when that growth didn't come and because it started really impacting their cash situation, they have to let go of people, which is an artificial way of increasing efficiency, right? So I look at it in this way that whatever capacity you're building, because your capacity buildup is more like a lead indicator, performance is a lag indicator.

I mean, as a regional player, we have to play our cards well because as a regional player, you may never know. Redundancies may set the system at a country's level. You may spread yourself too thin as well. So there are some demerits of being a regional player, but I think the merits outran demerits quite well in my experience.

Jeremy Au: (24:36)
What's interesting, like you say, is it boils on execution, right? And execution, like you said, is assisted selling, right? Because the man on the street does not want to buy insurance. I mean, that's totally true. I only bought insurance because I was pretty much nagged and I watched a lot of emotional ads about being a dad who dies early from cancer, and then my kids go on and are living life sad and alone.

So it's a very hard thing for me to get around to doing and so I totally understand that process. So are there any, I think what's the right balance for localization, right? Is it like, so you say global efficiencies, not global, regional efficiencies, economies of scale tech. Margins will eventually flatline because products will eventually become commoditized.

So what is it that needs to be localized at a ground level? I guess sales is one thing, maybe marketing. What else do you think really needs to be localized to be a true competitor?

Raunak Mehta: (25:29)
Yeah. I think given that we have fairly mature partnership business, right? We've got 55 partners across the region. Last I counted almost 20, we worked 20 insurers across the region. So you need a very high on rigor enterprise or a partnership team, and that you cannot have it centralized.

That has to be close to the demand center, right? So I think that you need to have in countries a very well-functioning, well-oiled partnership. Second is the marketing aspect of course, marketing intricacies in every market are different from others. Cultures are different, languages different.

So that, of course, that level of localization is required. But I think the most important part is if you really want a good product market fit, people who are actually designing the product for you. And when I say people who are designing the product for you, I mean it in a general way, but in InsureTech product here does not specifically mean the tech product app or the website.

It means the personal accident product, the health product and all. You need people who can conceptualize the product to be on the ground as well. I think that's extremely critical. If you do not have that, then you are trying to deploy a cookie cutter approach to an industry, which is a very cell-based sort of an industry rather than there being an explicit demand of products.
You're not making smartphones, right? Where you can have the same configuration in every market. So I think the product conceptualization aspect has to be really, really localized, I would say so far, not in all in certain markets, we have been very successful at it. Our index insurance product in Vietnam is a living example of how we, in a way got a whiff of the trend in the market because of frequent climate change and all the Blackstone events were no longer being Blackstone events.

And also we came up with a product, did it in Vietnam and now we are looking at how it can be customized to other parts of Southeast Asia. You're talking about Indonesia, philippines where a large segment of the employable population works in MSEs and all in thereby are in a way what you can call as participants in the gig economy.

And also we came up with the economy product, so these would not have been possible, had product been a centralized function for us based off Singapore. I think that part plays a very critical role for us to be a proper. Regional company with a local taste.

Jeremy Au: (28:16)
And what's interesting is that it has been some work on your side to build a better insurance. That seems to be like a big buzzword, at least to me. right. And to me obviously, I think has to your point about local partnerships that is very tied and I think on one side, like you said, conceptualizing it and distributing with them, but distributing to such a point that's embedded via them as well.

But it does also feel like when you embed it, you don't get much data, you don't get a relationship. You're like a white label product. So maybe it's a good way to move a lot of commoditize policies, but you don't build a relationship. You don't build data. You can't cross sell. At least that's my thinking about it, what do you think about that? I mean, I could be wrong, right? So could you share about that?

Raunak Mehta: (28:56)
I've looked at the embedded finance for that matter, embedded insurance in a very critical way. And I have at some points of time used the term that it's a highly commoditized business where volumes mean everything and the end consumer may not really be the real beneficiary of it, right?

It may be the distribution platform that may be making a killing out of it right now with all its limitations embedded insurance. If first of all, innovation can be on the placement side of things, innovation can be on the product side of things. Promotion and pricing aspects are fairly tactical, so I think, let's not go there, but I think on the placement side of things, I don't think that there's a lot of innovation because it's a very universal template, right? Somebody's carrying out a transaction, you suggest them a product, or the product is already there. And in certain places it's automatically opted in view. I think where the innovation comes into the picture is the insurance product being bundled, right?

So you can really come up with an insurance product that is in a way, crafted for the underlying financial transaction that's already happening so that it is attractive to the end consumer and how, what will be a success metric for whether it's attractive or not. Forget the overall volume, but if a hundred people are transacting, if a good number of them are not opting out, that tells you that you have brought down the entry barrier of pricing and you have brought down the entry barrier of education about the insurance product. So I think that is a place where there is a certain level of where you have to deploy your brain cells and in there have been instances when we've done a fairly commendable job on that front. Then the second part, of course, is once you have sold the product, given the volumes you sell, I mean, to give you an idea last year, we did 200 million policies, right? A good number of them were in the embedded insurance space. Now, even if the claim rate is like in second decimal point, it runs into thousands, right? And this is when somebody who has purchased an embedded insurance product, trust me, forgets where to file the claim, like all of us do, right?

And then it's all hands on deck. They start calling the platform where they have purchased. And at that point of time, if you can give them a very seamless consumer journey, that is where I think you take customer satisfaction to a completely new level. And this, I would say was one of the areas where in the past embedded insurance really let down the policy holders because while product discovery and product purchase was made really seamless, people forgot about the overall claims part of it, right? And then they had to read the fine print and all, which is not really a good experience, right? If they were not reading the fine print or they didn't have the avenue to read the fine print when they were discovering in purchasing the product, why should they do it when they are going for the claims?

So I think these are the areas where you can still add a lot of value. But yes, embedded insurance has its own limit. If you were to look at them from the lens of innovation and what really you are adding as a value.

Jeremy Au: (32:30)
Really interesting. I mean, I never thought about it. So looking at it really as a life cycle and relationship that you're building on the customers and embedded insurance is the cheapest, lowest barrier bundled way for them to have the first experience with you and then making sure it's not down because you take that relationship.

So you want to give them a claims because, yeah. Now that I think about it, I mean, the other approach is you have a really bad claims process that's hard to find. Then you can offer it even cheaper, give better margins to a distribution partner, and then that's a good enough product on a standalone basis. On that note could you share with us a time that you personally have been brave?

Raunak Mehta: (33:04)
I think if you spend 10 to 12 years in startups, there are a lot of days and nights when you really have to be brave. Then you really have to bite the bullet and be like in the trenches, right? Let's put it this way.

I think, I don't know whether you'll call it bravery or sheer me being brash or bold. So I started my career with Flipkart and logistics, right? Two years into logistics after having achieved a certain degree of success. I wanted to move on into like proper P&L responsibility and all. At that point of time, I was asked by the senior team to move into fashion.

Now, fashion and logistics could be as choc and cheese as possible in this world, right? I like the opportunity. I took it up and you're moving from a very prosaic world to a world of romanticism and poetry. And I think at that point of time when I moved into Flipkart fashion, we were like far behind the incumbents.

And you're talking about a company that does not like being number two, number three. I mean, if you are leading a category, you better be number one, right? So it took me a lot of effort and you really have to go into the depths of your wisdom and knowledge that you hold to come up with a way of not just personally surviving in a highly competitive world, but bringing the business to a level where it's respected in a company that was very competitive internally but also helping the company put a mark for itself in amongst the competition, right? So I think the first year, I think it was from 2013 to 2014, where really it was like 14 to 16 hours of work on a daily basis, 365 days a year and I think on the other side, when I came out of it on the other side, it truly helped me become a 360 degree individual in terms of that you could be managing people with completely different skillset and aspirations and ambitions in life which may not be in line with what the high on IQ company wants.

So how do you channel that and still deliver the goals and how when you enter into an uncertain arena, where there's a lot of uncertainty. How do you like really go into the depths of what your DNA is, and you tend to find answers. And quite honestly the answers that I found was, I mean, if you apply yourself, you can do anything.I think that is when I really realize that there is no ceiling to watch sheer hard work application can probably go up to. I mean, it's all artificial. You can do whatever you want. And I think that really helped me in taking a lot of steps post that moving to Singapore with Zalora, which was a rocket company at that point of time. So you can understand the frequent turmoil it found itself in. And then moving on to this role with Igloo and I'd never been in insurance.

Jeremy Au: (36:26)
Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. So on that note, when you think about that being no ceiling for hard work, right? What does that mean? Does it mean that you need to like, work as hard as you can and something will happen. Or is it more like you got a choice? How should you think about that ceiling for hard work? It is a good phrase but how hard should you work? I want to ask, right?

Raunak Mehta: (36:48)
Yeah, so I'm glad you asked this because there is this generational discussion that I'm pretty sure you would have been part of where. I mean, I'm right outside the millennial band now, right? You've got a generation that potentially things at their disposal or information at their fingertip, so they really don't have to grind it out to achieve it.

I mean, think of when you and I were in school, internet was just coming, right? Could you go on Google and search for an answer to a mathematical problem. No, right? You went through that grind, and therefore I understood the value of hard work.

And there's so much of literature written about it where people have said that there's absolutely no substitute for hard work. A lot of people think, oh, it was by chance and all, no. Elon Musk became Elon Musk because of crazy amount of hours he put into coding, sleeping next to his computer at PayPal and then what eventually he did at Tesla.

And there are so many stories about it. So I belong to the school of thought that there's no substitute for hard work. I belong to the school of thought that when you have, it's always like this. You put a certain amount of input into a black box and you get output, right? A lot of people talk about, oh, are you a result-oriented person?

What does it actually mean? I am more of a process-oriented person, and I believe one of the variables that you put into that black box is hard work. You put the right variables in the right composition. 9 out of 10 times you going to be successful. I generally look at hard work. Quite honestly, a non-negotiable variable, right? And I think I've been around for quite some time to o be able to draw correlation between hard work and success and trust me, tends towards one.

Jeremy Au: (38:50)
Oh, love that. It's so good. I feel like there's a poster I need to have right here. Now it's like the correlation between hard work and success equals one, oh, on that note, I'd love to summarize, I think the three big themes I got from this conversation. The first of course is thank you so much for sharing about how Igloo has grown 30 x over this time period while managing this cash and burn and operational expenses in a very different way.

But this is really in the pursuit of disrupting insurance because the insurance market is huge. That is still open space for lots of consumers and there are competitors, and it is going to take a lot of hard work to out-execute, outsell and also be out-efficiency slash profitability slash margin dynamic that's really going to kick into play over this dynamic.

So really interesting. A lot of, I think honestly a masterclass actually on the industry for those who are wondering about the interest. The second, of course is I really actually enjoy your attitude around challenging the status quo. So talking about how you joined all these incumbents killing David's, right?

Sorry, I guess it's our way around. You joined David's killing incumbents and fighting off other goliaths trying to get in. So really interesting to see that status quo and what you took away from each experience. What you think are there advantages that you have to bring to play? And what things you recognize are the strengths on the other side?

And so I think I really enjoyed that respect that you have for competitors and larger players, but also thinking about what you need to do to step up your game and lastly, I really enjoyed that last chunk around there being no ceiling for hard work about how there is a correlation between hard work and success equals one.

I would say, yeah, you made yourself a little bit like a grandfather with a walking cane when you say, "Oh, I've been around for a long time to see that". But, I think it's a universal truth, right? I think it's true for every generation and I think it's a hard truth that everybody discovers eventually. It's not that hard work equals to success all the time, but for you to be successful, you definitely need to have hard work. And I think what can we say that's the awkward reality we've seeing until, like you said, ChatGPT takes over.

Raunak Mehta: (40:55)
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Jeremy Au: (40:57)
Alright. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Raunak Mehta: (41:00)
Thanks a lot for having me. This was really fun.