The ability to learn, unlearn and relearn is the skill that every successful CEO should have
4 April 2022
Please tell us about your entrepreneurial journey before you founded Insly.
In 2000, I founded an online insurance broker to start selling insurance on the internet. This grew to be the biggest insurance broker in Baltic states and today trades under the name www.iizi.ee. I sold that business in 2014 and, without taking a week off, plunged into a new venture that was, of course, Insly.
What gave you the idea to start Insly?
There were several nudges to start Insly. The first nudge was that I did not see the possibility of growing an insurance broker business geographically, it was still very localised; the second was that I noticed the insurance industry in 2014 was stuck in the stone age compared to what we had built at IIZI. And then my restless soul just had to do something about it.
Where would you like Insly to be in five years?
I would like to see hundreds of millions of insurance policies seamlessly sold and administered on our platform and hundreds of new products launched every day by insurers, MGAs, brokers or their IT consultants. I want Insly to be the company that facilitates innovation in the insurance market because building insurance products and selling policies to customers will be easy and fun.
What qualities should a CEO have in 2022 to be successful?
In my opinion, there are no common qualities for CEOs. Everyone has their own management style and way of achieving success. However, in general, the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn is the skill that every successful CEO should have to survive in a fast-changing environment.
What are some of the factors you believe led to your success so far?
I would say common sense, perseverance and the ability not to burn out. I am also humble enough not to underestimate the role that luck has played in my success so far.
What has been the most challenging and enjoyable part of your career to date?
The most enjoyable are the times, are those which arrive right after a very challenging period. It is in the moments when you feel like everything and everyone is against you that you become stronger than you ever thought possible. These are the payoff times for me. This is the main reason why I am an entrepreneur – to get excitement in life, and variability in life brings excitement.
What invention do you hope to see in your lifetime?
Moving away from the insurance and entrepreneurial topic, I think one of the most significant innovations that we will see in our lives and environment is the disappearance of central banks and the move to sound money. For me, this is such an important topic that we should do another interview in the future.
Which entrepreneurs do you respect and why?
Being an investor in 20+ startups and a very active member of the Estonian startup community, I have a deep respect for all entrepreneurs. It is challenging and often a lonely place to be, especially in hard times. In the past there have been monuments erected for unknown soldiers; I would therefore like to show my respect to all unknown entrepreneurs who do not make it to the front pages.