Welcome to the first release of our ‘Inspire Insurtech’ series where we will be interviewing inspiring insurtechs to find out who they are, what they do, what we can expect from them in the future, and more.
To start us off, what’s Flamingo AI’s brief pitch?
Buying financial products online is hard! Its high customer effort and often inefficient. Flamingo AI set out to solve this problem by providing Insurance companies with Cognitive Virtual Assistants, ROSIE & MAGGIE, who guide customers through their insurance purchase and service experiences. Based in NYC and Sydney, Flamingo AI is an enterprise technology (SaaS) company in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning sector within the Conversational Commerce field.
Flamingo AI provides a suite of AI powered Cognitive Virtual Assistants (CVAs).
The Cognitive Virtual Assistant capability provides three distinct levels of value for our Clients.
- Improved commercial metrics such as conversion rates, customer experience or efficiency.
- The creation of unique data sets and insights, based on the CVA acting as a real time sensing mechanism for customer experience. Insights are generated around customer behaviour, product, process and pricing.
- The client specific Machine Learning Brain becomes an expert knowledge and retrieval system. The Brain is able to be re-purposed for other products or functions of the organization. Multiple product or functional brains aggregate up into a MegaBrain which provides the organization a distinct competitive advantage.
How did Flamingo AI Begin?
Dr Catriona Wallace, Founder & CEO, Flamingo AI, has a PhD in Organizational Behavior: Human Technology Interaction.
Catriona owns two other customer experience related firms, ACA Research – a research company and Fifth Quadrant – a customer experience design and strategy company. Through the work of these companies Catriona saw the opportunity to create a software company that solved the problem of 1) low online sales conversion rates by corporates and 2) poor end customer experience buying products online. The company was founded in 2013 with an initial Founder funding by Catriona of $200,000. Since 2014, Flamingo AI has raised $25m dollars.
How has Flamingo AI evolved since inception?
The Minimal Viable Product was launched in mid 2014 with the NAB as the foundation client. Upon a highly successful trial of Flamingo, NAB told Catriona that they wanted to include the product in their tech roadmap, and that this would take 18 months to transpire! On the back of this untenable news, Catriona decided to take the business to the US and scale from there. Within weeks of being in the US Catriona landed Nationwide, a $40billion company, as a client plus two other Fortune 100 firms in the pipeline. The company was then ‘flipped up’ to be a US-based company and the client delivery team was moved to NYC.
In 2016, due to the high profile of Flamingo globally, the demand for the product in Australia started to rise and in late 2016, based on an approach by a listed company called Cre8tek, Catriona sold the US entity, Flamingo Customer Experience Inc. to Cre8tek then took on the role of CEO and Executive Director. Flamingo then listed on the ASX, with Catriona and Chair Cathie Reid, being the second only women-led business to ever list on the ASX. Cre8tek then changed its name to Flamingo AI.
Flamingo AI has since added AMP, CHUBB, Metlife, DirectMoney & CUA to its portfolio in the Australia and Asia Pacific region.
What is your team currently working on / what have you accomplished recently?
Recently Flamingo AI has:
- Raised $10M in over-subscribed placement, off the back of a $5M raise in October in 2017
- Deployed Virtual Assistant ROSIE live with clients in the US and Australia
- Delivered results of between 30-40% conversion rates for quotations and applications
- Applied for 3 Machine Learning patents
- Appointed a VP of Sales in the US and is growing out the business development team in Australia and Asia Pacific
- Expanded the US and Australian client delivery team
- Sales pipeline has been growing significantly in US, Australia and Asia
- Employed 45% of the workforce as women employees
How does Flamingo AI ‘give back’?
Our Founder launched the Kids in Philanthropy organisation, and Indigo Express which is a philanthropic fund focusing on funding Literacy programmes for children with a particular but not exclusive focus on Indigenous kids.
Another reason why Flamingo AI is so inspiring!
What is Flamingo AI’s biggest challenge in today’s markets?
As a high tech, early venture organisation, working with large corporates we need to pass rigorous levels of procurement and security audit processes. In our initial implementations this has made the time to contract somewhat elongated. Now that we are experienced and have the requisite security and IT infrastructure in place, the procurement process is much faster.
The other challenge is that AI is an new sector and there is much education that Flamingo AI needs to do to lead and prepare the market for this hugely transformative technology.
We hear you.
Anything else you’d like to say?
The insurance sector is looking to have 40% of jobs automated within the next 10 years. Now is the time for Australian insurance executives to take a leadership role and start to influence the direction that AI and machine learning will take this sector. The AI transformation will be as impactful as the coming of electricity! – this is a well-spoken modern proverb!
Flamingo AI Team at Christmas with Santa, 2017