Startups Urged to Enter Zurich Innovation Championship

21 October 2019

Isle of Man start-ups have a chance to win a massive boost for their business in a competition run by the Zurich Insurance Group.

The company has launched the second edition of its Innovation Championship, offering the opportunity to work with the global insurer to grow their business. Start-ups here on the Island are being urged to enter before the closing date on December 17, 2019 – simply go to for more information.

Peter Huber, CEO, Zurich International, said: “We’re looking for established start-ups with commercially viable technologies and innovative business models that tackle challenges around climate, health, automation and other issues expected to put a strain on the next generation. We’re seeking bold thinking and groundbreaking ideas that can help make a lasting impact in a changing world. In addition, there is a ‘wildcard’ category for start-ups with other fresh, new solutions that have the potential to help Zurich push the boundaries of transformation and explore new frontiers of innovation. We know there are some fantastic start-ups here on the Island, and we would urge them to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity which could enable them to take their business to another level.”

Department Minister Laurence Skelly MHK commented: “The Isle of Man is truly a unique and special place to live, work and do business, as evidenced by our many number of startup businesses and natural entrepreneurial ethos. This competition is a fantastic way for Isle of Man based companies to be represented on a global scale and to work with an industry leading organisation to grow their businesses. I strongly urge any interested parties to take part in this exciting opportunity, and I look forward to seeing the range of ideas and business models that are generated and developed as a result of this initiative.”

The 2020 competition was launched recently at the InsureTech Connect event in Las Vegas by Giovanni Giuliani, Zurich Insurance Group’s Head of Strategy, Innovation and Business Development. He said: “The competition is part of our mission to help customers become more sustainable and resilient, while fostering the growth of start-ups that bring innovative new approaches to that work. The Zurich Innovation Championship creates a perfect match – a global insurer with nearly 150 years of experience and newly minted start-ups with bold ideas that can help millions of people.” 

Each of Zurich’s participating country businesses will select one start-up and develop a use case together over a five-month period. The field will then be narrowed to eight for the final round in August 2020. Three winners will have the chance to work with Zurich on a local pilot with the goal to scale it globally.

Zurich’s inaugural Innovation Championship in 2018/2019 received more than 450 entries from 49 countries. The company is working with all the winners and several of the finalists on ideas that range from improving mental and physical well-being to cutting water waste to simplifying and accelerating processes for customers.

The Gold award in the tournament went to Chisel AI, which uses artificial intelligence to extract, identify and classify data from unstructured digital data sources, such as insurance documents. Chisel founder and CEO Ron Glozman said: “Zurich takes innovation seriously and it shows. They are looking for real business value from the technologies they are evaluating. The Zurich Innovation Championship provides a global stage to showcase your solution and get invaluable feedback from an insurance industry leader.”