Pitch Perfect: A sneakerhead, a flood and a chance to change the insurance game

Aug 30, 2023

A basement flood nearly ruined Phil Terrill’s extensive sneaker collection. When he realized a traditional insurance claim didn’t fit, he reached out to an actuary friend and built SoleSafe from scratch. 

Tell us about being a part of The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars 

It was dope! Chris got in the mud with us during the class. He’s been a great steward for Minnesota and particularly the intersection of sports and technology. He worked hard getting us connected to the right people and is still helping us today. Meka White Morris, Sarah Bain and the team were so phenomenal. 

I was born and raised here in Minnesota and the Twins are in my backyard, so it was phenomenal to be a part of the class and build the foundation for SoleSafe. I speak on the alumni panels and champion the program whenever I can. 

SoleSafe isn’t a traditional sports technology company. How did both you and the Twins benefit from your unique offering? 

I’m an athlete and love the game, even though I can’t hit a curveball. We may not be able to directly impact the fan experience like some of the other companies might, but there are a lot of ways to make the game more attractive to everyone. There is an entire generation of fans who consume differently and create communities differently. We can get them involved in baseball through sneakerhead players. There are so many entry points and other cultural spaces to explore. 

Talk about some concrete ways the partnership impacted what you learned during program.

I was intent on learning about the business of the Twins, because there is a lot of crossover and opportunity to ideate on ways we can work together in the future. We had a chance to see how others approached organizations like the Twins, and learned from those interactions. We also met three of our advisors through the program, one of whom is with the Twins. 

Your pitch, pardon the pun, was perfect. Tell us about it. 

The sneaker space is very niche but there is definite crossover between sports and sneakers. I told my founder story about almost losing my shoes in a flood. And I was able to help them understand sneakers are like art, jewelry or even cleats from a star player – they should be protected. They realized I was willing to do the work and help people like me who are collectors by nature and also love sneakers. 

What’s happening with your company today?

We’ve raised over $1.5 million and just finished our Shopify app which allows us to embed insurance at the point of sale for almost 300 retailers. We are working with other marketplaces too, and continuing to build out relationships.