Clark analyses its clients’ insurance data and compares it with the offers available from other insurance companies. The insurtech company uses various tools, including an app aimed at making the topic of insurance more interesting for young people.
Marco Adelt, Chris Lodde, Steffen Glomb and Christopher Oster (from left to right) set up Clark in 2015.clark.de
In 2021, digital technology can be found at the heart of most cutting-edge young businesses, like Clark, a digital insurance broker, for instance. The Clark app provides its users with an analysis of their insurance situation, so that they are able to optimise it by comparing offers of more than 160 insurance companies. The system was developed by CEO and co-founder Christopher Oster and his three co-founders Marco Adelt, Steffen Glomb and Chris Lodde. Today, Clark employs more than 300 people.
The Clark app provides clients with a reliable summary of their insurance situation: are all their individual contracts and policies well coordinated with one another? Are they covered for all their individual risks? How much value are they getting for their money? Are there cheaper offers out there? If the insurance situation is too complicated, one of more than 100 independent insurance experts can be consulted via chat, email or phone. The service is free for customers to use. There is no obligation to sign up for alternative offers.
The insurtech company has its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main. The team works in an open-plan office on the fourth to seventh floor of a fancy building: open-plan offices, table islands, lots of computers, surrounded by blue walls covered in colourful post-its full of ideas, strategies and deadlines. Meanwhile, the insurtech company has three locations in Germany (Frankfurt, Berlin and Püttlingen) and one office in Austria (Vienna). The young, international team’s qualifications are based on the digital business model. Many members of the team are software engineers, while others are insurance sales specialists and marketing experts. One of the main aspects of their work is the ongoing development of the app, which is "fed" with new data and equipped with new features on a continuous basis.
Insurance companies have long been aware that providers like Clark – businesses that didn’t exist in the analogue world – offer an interesting route for new customers. As Christopher Oster explains, the majority of Clark app users have been young people so far. They are already well-practised at using their smartphones to organise their friendships, banking transactions and holidays. So why should it be different for insurances? If you’re lounging on the sofa or sitting in a café, this somewhat heavy-sounding topic can seem a lot less daunting. Clark is currently working with more than 160 insurance companies. Clark has set itself the goal to become Europe’s leading digital insurance manager.
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While older generations still place their trust in door-to-door representatives, young people are moving increasingly towards digital services when it comes to finding out about insurance.
Six years after the company was set up by Christopher Oster, Steffen Glomb, Marco Adelt and Chris Lodde, Clark is almost a prototype for a fast-growing digital company, which launched at exactly the right time. The technical opportunities offered by digitalisation are already advanced enough and yet still offer huge potential for development.
Every fifth business founder in Germany describes themselves as a “digital entrepreneur”. The financing opportunities needed for investment have also significantly improved for start-ups and entrepreneurs – not least thanks to the KfW Digitalisation Programme, which is a direct response to this group’s particular needs. In most cases, these businesses don’t need machinery or material assets, just funds to finance their development and programming costs.
In Clark’s case, the business initially grew out of Christopher Oster’s sheer determination to work for himself. After completing his PhD, carving a career for himself at a management consultancy firm just wasn’t an option for him. After a lot of in-depth research, he finally homed in on an idea for a business. He then carefully selected his colleagues to join him on the board. “In Germany, the insurance market is still largely untouched by the digital revolution, with 95 percent of business still taking place offline. This is where we spotted our opportunity and where it remains to this day,” says Christopher Oster. The next job was to seek out suitable sources of funding. An initial round of seed capital was provided by Finleap, a Berlin-based company, which supports fintech firms or, in this case, insurtech companies during their start-up phase.
In 2016, Clark came across the Coparion fund, in which – along with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the European Investment Bank (since 2018) – KfW Capital, the venture capital subsidiary of KfW, is invested. Since then, the fund has invested a seven-digit sum in Clark as part of a larger consortium, which has ploughed a total of EUR 13 million into the company to date. Coparion’s CEO David Zimmer is in regular contact with Christopher Oster and his team. “We were not only won over by the business idea, but also by the people behind it,” says Zimmer.
With its solid financial foundation coupled with courage, a willingness to take risks, and strategic vision, Clark has so far succeeded in developing its business concept at a fast pace. Further growth is on the horizon: “Only a third of all Germans are happy with their insurance,” says Oster. TV, online and newspaper advertising is expected to increase awareness, so that more and more people can get to know the Clark app. “In addition, we have numerous ideas for the further development of our products and services. Among other things, we want to provide users with even more transparency about their old-age provision," promises Oster.
Published on KfW Stories: 12 July 2021
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