Inaki Berenguer – CEO and Co-Founder of CoverWallet

I bring ideas to life in two ways:
Identifying customer needs
Surrounding myself with the best talent

Inaki Berenguer is CEO and co-founder of CoverWallet, the first online insurance manager. Inaki holds a master’s and a Ph.D. in engineering from Cambridge University, as well as an MBA from MIT Sloan. He spent two years at Columbia University as a Fulbright Scholar. Before founding CoverWallet, he worked at McKinsey, Microsoft, Intel, NEC and HP. Inaki is a serial-entrepreneur and is the founder and former CEO of Pixable and Contactive.

Where did the idea for CoverWallet come from?

The idea came from a person painpoint. I had already founded 2 other startups and getting insurance felt painful, time consuming (especially the back and forth with a broker), frustrating and analog (PDFs instead of an online experience). There was nothing online to educate me, so I had to go through a traditional broker to understand what I needed, why, and in the end buy the insurance. It felt worse than doing my taxes.

So, I started to research and I learned that 99% of small business insurance is distributed offline via traditional brokers, which made me think. Why hadn’t anyone thought of a way to solve this painpoint yet? If small business owners wear so many hats and can do accounting, HR and banking online, why not get and manage their insurance there, too?

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Ideally, I wake up early for a run, although there are days where I stop the alarm and go back to bed, but when I run I can feel the endorphins pumping which helps me start the day off on the right foot.

I get into the office by 8:15a and at 8:30 we do a 10 minute company-wide stand-up meeting. It’s a great way to synchronize the cross-functional teams and set priorities for the rest of the day.

As a CEO, I have a lot of distractions, but I know I have to stay focused on these three things:

  • Attracting the best talent for the company
  • Setting the vision and making sure the rest of the team stays focused and that we’re all moving in the same direction
  • Making sure there is always money in the bank

The rest of the time I try to contribute as much as possible to the product, this includes anything from doing wireframes to testing the product.

I usually head home around 8:30p and from home I try hard to get away from my computer, but I do catch-up on emails from my phone after spending time with my family.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life in two ways:
Identifying customer needs
Surrounding myself with the best talent

I know that I can’t possibly do everything myself, so I need talent that can do certain things as well or better than I can. I really rely on the talent I have hired to get the job done.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

More than a trend, is the convergence of multiple new technologies: virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and AI, genomics and editing, 3D printing, etc.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Networking with other entrepreneurs, many of which have become my trusted advisors. I try to cherry-pick events, instead focusing on maintaining relations with a selected group of entrepreneurs that have been in similar situations to mine.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

More than a job, it would be an environment in which I didn’t work with motivated, driven and smart people. I want to be surrounded by people that encourage me to be better.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Staying more focused on the what we’re building instead of the exploration.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Understanding the competition inside and out. This includes trying their products, reading their press, checking out the website, etc. It’s important to stay on top of that, so you don’t fall behind.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Not building everything by ourselves, which means partnering with other companies that have built products with similar functionality and who have industry experience.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m really into the idea of fixing any need you have on a daily basis. What have you been complaining about? How can you solve it? There’s your idea for a product.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought a running baby stroller, which allows me to get in my workouts while getting some quality time in with my daughter.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Twitter: Which helps me stay on top of what’s going on in the world (tech and outside of)
SnapChat: It’s just a fun way to stay in touch with people
Pocket: Saving articles and videos for later is essential for me and helps me remember to check certain things out that I might miss otherwise.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’m a rule-breaker, so I have two:

Predictably Irrational– Gives you an idea of the effect you may have on the world around you. It brings to light that while everyone makes mistakes, people are prone to making the same types of mistakes over and over again.

Wisdom of Crowds– This book will remind you that a crowd will always be smarter than a select few.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I’m from Spain and there was a generation of tech entrepreneurs there that acted as role models for me, including:
Martin Varsavsky
Jesus Encinar
Javier Perez Tenessa


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