IBISA is a tech platform for insurance actors to unlock the agriculture micro-insurance market worldwide. IBISA designs innovative weather-based index products and provides a platform to distribute and manage them in a cost-efficient and automated way using Earth Observation and blockchain technologies.

As part of their journey on BlockStart’s Acceleration Programme, as a startup developer of blockchain technology, they were looking to further develop their solution and for new opportunities for collaboration with end-user SMEs that could validate and help them improve their “Minorka” blockchain solution.

We spoke with Co-founder Maria Mateo to know more about IBISA and their participation in BlockStart.


In one paragraph, what is IBISA?

IBISA is a tech platform for insurance actors that leverages blockchain and Earth Observation satellites’ data to enable next generation micro-insurance for agriculture that is digital, cost-efficient, simple and scalable.

Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?

It began with an ‘aha’ moment after working sometime in blockchain initiatives. Luxembourg is the HQ for Micro-insurance Network and, one day, I was reading their newsletter about barriers to insurance for agriculture. As my family comes from agriculture, I was well aware of the pains on not having revenue certainty and reading that article with all the barriers and pains… I could map each of them with a tech-based solution. After that I did a short memo and started socializing it until I meet IBISA co-founders!

What is IBISA passionate about achieving?

We are passionate about building the future of insurance, using disruptive technologies efficiently, to bring resilience and peace of mind to millions of people worldwide.

Who are the team members and what backgrounds do you have?

IBISA team comes from diverse professional backgrounds, from satellite communications to Earth Observation, blockchain and software development, to actuarial risk modelling and insurance and field deployment. Our team is composed by serial entrepreneurs and industry experts.

Maria Mateo (Telecom engineer), Annette Houtekamer (Agri-insurance expert), Jean-Baptiste Pleynet (Actuary), Antoine Detante (blockchain architect and full stack developer) and Konrad Jarocki (Earth observation specialist).

Can you tell us about the prototype you have developed with the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?

Minorka is an extension of IBISA, a platform for SMEs to easily identify, request and use actionable data for their businesses. It’s built on top of IBISA’s loss assessment proven platform. Transactions are recorded in blockchain for traceability and transparency, adding additional value to the data.

What were you most excited about in taking part of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?

The format.  To do a full product cycle fast from ideation to commercialisation with the involvement of potential customers.

Which were the major challenges you have faced during the development and market/fit validation of your prototype?

We focused on having a working prototype and did not iterate much on user interface improvements to make it more self-explanatory (the product, not the use of the prototype). Hence, we needed to spend time providing an intro about the product. We have now a finetuned intro that can be automated though an interface.

What unique aspects does your company and the prototype you have developed have to offer to the market sectors/type of companies you wish to enter/sell and to the blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as a whole?

We can leverage our knowledge and the technology we have developed for IBISA’s loss assessment platform to democratise the use of satellite data and open the access to all actors, even the smallest, to its benefits.

Minorka democratises the access and use of Earth Observation actionable data with a platform for SMEs to easily identify and use valuable data for the businesses.

IBISA platform enables next generation agriculture insurance through data and technology.

Is collaboration with SME adopters important for piloting your solution?

Absolutely, it helps us in finding the product market and channel fit earlier in the process.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

We see IBISA as a ‘must have’ platform for insurance companies to reach and fulfil current and future needs of their customers thanks to technology, product and channel models innovation.

Apply to our Open Call #3. 3 weeks left!

In our 3rd and final Open Call, we are looking for early and growth-stage blockchain/DLT startups from all over the EU and H2020 Associated Countries in the fields of fintech, ICT and retail and will provide startups with access to a variety of perks, including equity free funding of up to €20.000, access to piloting opportunities, mentorship, and exposure to investors and advisors.

Interested startups should fill in an online application form at F6S platform. Deadline for applications is 26 May at 5pm CET (Brussels Time).

For more information on application criteria and how to apply, interested applicants can go to blockstart.eu and consult the FAQ section. BlockStart will also organize a Q&A webinars for future applicant on 12 May 2021 at 11am CET (Brussels Time), and you can save your seat here (takeaways of the previous Q&A webinar available here).

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