Meet Cachet co-founder and CEO Hedi Mardisoo
Insurance is about risk assessment. But you saw rapid changes in the world of work, technology, and mobility, that weren’t properly addressed by the industry. What made you enter the fray?
I studied Information Sciences, so data and knowledge management has been my passion for a long time. My interest in how personal and behavioral data can benefit people in digital services exploded in 2014 when I did my first startup run. We worked on connecting satellite data with personal IoT data.
When I met Kalle we discussed how human-centric data and emerging tech are changing the way digital services should be built. We chose insurance as even well-behaving customers are often treated unfairly. It may be one the most data-rich industries, but easily-accessible behavioral data is rarely used to benefit the customer.
In 2018, there was a huge problem with ride-hailing insurance. Insurers jacked up their margins 5x-20x compared to regular insurance, claiming that taxi service was very risky. Our human-centric logic clicked well here. We agreed to become the middleman that aggregates data on how much and how the car is used, thus being fair to drivers and insurers alike.
This model can be applied in other places where technology coupled with critical data can make insurance more flexible and fair.
How have work and mobility changed in the last five years?
Covid accelerated the trend for more flexible hours, freelancing, and the nomadic lifestyle that had begun earlier. Companies that had said it was impossible to let people work from home somehow made it happen. Another factor is a generational change, with Millennials and Gen Z now accounting for more than half of the workforce.
In terms of mobility, municipalities across Europe had a goal to cut CO2 by reducing the number of cars. For example, Stockholm seeks to push all vehicular traffic out of the city center by 2025. This is a huge opportunity for the micromobility sector. Not just for private mobility, but for business transport, from mail delivery to garbage disposal.
Cachet is in a great position to become the enabler to build new and smarter ways of insuring the entire platform/sharing economy.
What do you know now that you wish you’d have known five years ago?
Even if our math checks out, the appetite for risk and innovation is low among large insurers, despite beautiful slogans. Regulations, too, are built to maintain the status quo.
The second challenge has been to build a team that can keep up with or even outrun the founders. Today, we’re largely there, even if we still need to fill a few positions.
If you could swap roles with a colleague for a day, who would it be and why?
Probably with Kalle, my cofounder, to better understand his challenges. This would help us run even faster as a team.
What´s your advice for newcomers who are considering joining Cachet?
You’d be joining a team that is both caring and competitive (especially in sports). We’re seeking people who are great at what they do, but curious and eager to keep learning and developing.
Early on I was told that fintech is for kids, insurtech is for grownups. Many theories that work well in SaaS or regular ecommerce may not fit well in this space.
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How many insurance policies do you have and which one is the most important or unusual?
My favourite is still City Rider… as I travel a lot and prefer to use micro-mobility I feel safe, if anything happens with whichever city in Europe. But otherwise I have 7 policies.
What type of vehicle do you use most often to commute? And how many kilometers do you clock each week/month/year?
Probably the car, since I drive to Muhu island during weekends. But on weekdays I tend to rely on my bike or public transport. Exact kilometers I don´t know, but on average 250km a month.
Which type of vehicle do you love to use the most?
Bicycle. I have a hybrid Ampler bike that I bought when I sold my personal car.
Has your vehicle ever had a nickname?
My first car was a frog-green Ford Ka, so you can imagine the nick name: Froggy. These days I don´t have any more nicknames for our vehicles.
What’s your go-to happy song while commuting?
I love to listen to podcasts when cycling, not music. But when I drive a car, I can sing along to music very loudly. A couple of artists that come to mind are Master KG (Jerusalema Remix feat. Burna Boy and Nomcebo), and Stromae.