What we’re looking for in the 2019 Class of the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars

Applications have just opened for the 2019 program of the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars. I feel incredibly proud of our 2018 companies and the amazing Techstars and MetLife teams for a successful first year—and I’m looking forward to selecting ten new companies for this year’s class. A lot of entrepreneurs ask me what we look for when evaluating companies. I can understand that the selection process can sometimes feel like a black box for founders. Hopefully this post will help unpack that box for you!


For the 2019 class, we will continue to define insurtech broadly and search for companies globally. In particular, we are interested in insurtech entrepreneurs focused on:

  • Customers: For example, solutions to support freelancers and those who participate in the gig or sharing economies.
  • Products: For example, new approaches to deliver employee benefits or experiences that will support the financial, emotional, or physical health of customers.
  • Process: For example, new ways to underwrite/manage risk or technologies to accelerate integration across industry partners.  

Don’t feel confined by these subthemes. If you’re working on something interesting in the insurtech space, you should apply.


We are stage agnostic, which means companies join Techstars at all different stages. For example, PillPack and SendGrid both joined Techstars as pre-product companies. Other companies have raised over $15 million prior to joining Techstars. Don’t think you are too early or too late.  

Team, Team, Team

At Techstars, we have six criteria for selection, and the first three are 1) Team, 2) Team, 3) Team. That’s right—we literally list ‘team’ thrice. I won’t even touch on the other criteria in this post. So, what do we look for in teams? Here are the top three things I look for in founders:

  1. Can you execute? We look for signs that you can execute fast. Do you just talk about doing things or do you actually get them done? Sometimes we can gauge this by projects or companies you have built in the past. Another way I gauge this is by hearing updates from you throughout the application period on the progress you make building your company. If you send update emails to your network or investors already, add me to them. I won’t respond to them, but I will track your progress. When it comes to your application, you’ll have a leg up over the other applicants if you’ve demonstrated your ability to execute. To get my email address, fill out this office hour request form.
  2. Are you resourceful? The best entrepreneurs know how to best utilize the resources that are available to them. After joining Techstars, your network will literally explode with mentors from our program and the broader Techstars and MetLife worldwide community. You’ll learn from subject matter experts, serial entrepreneurs, MetLife executives, and investors. We want founders who will maximize these resources to accelerate their growth. You can throw all the best resources at a startup, but if the team isn’t resourceful, all of that support will go to waste.
  3. Are you open to feedback? One of the biggest benefits of joining Techstars is learning from incredible mentors and peers who sincerely want you to succeed. You will be receiving a ton of brutally honest feedback from our mentors, the other founders, and me throughout the three months. Some A lot of this feedback will be hard to hear. We give you the feedback, because we want you to succeed. Are you open to receiving feedback? Are you intellectually honest? Do you get defensive? At the end of the day, you ultimately make the final decisions for your company, and we’ll respect your decision and support you no matter what. However, if you aren’t even open to hearing feedback, then you’ll limit your growth and acceleration.

I look forward to reading your application for the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars!

  • See more info and apply for our program here.
  • Request office hours with me here.
  • Register for our live Ask Me Anything (AMA) virtual session on Feb 5th here.
  • Send me those update emails!


Announcing the 2018 Class of the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars

We are excited to announce Techstars Class 140, the 10 companies that are joining the 2018 MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars in Cary, North Carolina. We spent the past six months searching the globe to look for the best Insurtech entrepreneurs to invite into our inaugural class. Our 10 companies are joining us from all corners of the United States and the globe including Boulder, London, Los Angeles, Richmond, San Jose and Singapore. Our entrepreneurs have diverse backgrounds as game developers, data scientists, insurance veterans, and more.

All 10 companies have relocated to Raleigh-Durham for the program. We kicked things off on July 16th, 2018 and will be working closely with these teams to help them accelerate their businesses during the next three months. Our program will cap off with Demo Day on Thursday, October 18th, 2018. We love Raleigh-Durham and know that 2018 is going to be an amazing year for Techstars, our companies, and the Triangle! Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and strong partners and mentors help make this happen. We’re grateful for your generosity in giving your time and expertise to help our companies. We couldn’t do it without you.

Without further ado, here are the companies for the 2018 MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars:

Aligned Business (Singapore)

An end-to-end digital platform that enables carriers to rapidly create, define, underwrite and distribute any category of insurance product to any market.

AnswersNOW (Richmond, VA)

Platform that supports parents of children on the autism spectrum by pairing them with their own personal certified expert and providing clinical interventions.

Buddy (Richmond, VA)

On-demand accident insurance to enable people to explore the world and have adventures.

Enroll Hero (Santa Monica, CA)

Personalized recommendation tool that helps seniors pick the perfect Medicare plan in seconds. 

FitBliss (San Jose, CA)

Digital wellbeing platform to optimize health and productivity for the global workforce.

FIX: Fitness Interactive Experience (Atlanta, GA)

Pioneer in Health Entertainment, delivering a unique blend of gameplay and health behavior change.

Halos Insurance (Washington, D.C.)

World’s first consumer insurance platform exclusively designed for nearly accident-free, low-risk consumers.

MamaMend (Boulder, CO)

Digital health platform and postpartum guide that informs, empowers and improves health outcomes for new moms.

Portabl (London, UK)

A comprehensive subscription service that protects freelancers and gig workers with personalized insurance and savings products and other benefits.

Safely (Atlanta, GA)

Through data analytics, background checks, and a contributory database, Safely provides $1M of commercial insurance for property managers and homeowners who rent on Airbnb and HomeAway.

MetLife Digital Accelerator Office Hours in Tel Aviv

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MetLife Digital Accelerator Info Session in Tel Aviv


MetLife Digital Accelerator Info Session in Chicago


MetLife Digital Accelerator Office Hours in Chicago

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AMA: MetLife Digital Accelerator

Save your spot: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/metlife_mar26

MetLife Digital Accelerator Fireside Chat + Office Hours in London


MetLife Digital Accelerator Office Hours in Sydney

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MetLife Digital Accelerator Fireside Chat in Sydney