Head of New York Life Ventures Joel Albarella recently connected with Insurance Innovation Reporter to discuss the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic from a corporate venture capital viewpoint. In “The Pandemic and InsurTech: Joel Albarella, New York Life Ventures,” Joel explains:
- In the early days of Covid-19, there was a fast focus inward to reassess the strength of startups in the context of the pandemic—specifically around the survivability of startups amidst a potentially challenging fundraising environment. Additionally, there were questions around how the absence of in-person engagement would impact startup diligence.
- Where we are today, though, is a rapid reversion to longer-term venture investment trends, with a seamless transition to today’s virtual environment.
- New York Life’s commitment to testing and investing in startups within the “LifeTech” ecosystem well-positioned the company to respond to the pandemic as trends that were on the team’s radar have increasingly become front-and-center for the industry.
- In fact, New York Life Ventures saw multiple portfolio exits in 2020 and an acceleration of New York Life’s “proof-of-concept” testing despite the realities of the year’s virtual environment.
- An additional focus area for the team in response to today’s virtual world is technology that better recreates the culture and community that comes from teams being physically in the same location.
- A recent output of this effort is the introduction of Together to expand New York Life’s mentorship programs thanks to a partnership between New York Life Ventures and the company’s Learning & Development and Diversity & Inclusion teams.
"It’s the idea of the rising tide lifting all boats, and with that sort of a mindset it becomes a lot less about specific disruption. It’s more about a broader enablement which will be inherently digital.”
- Joel Albarella, Senior Vice President, New York Life Ventures.
As Albarella explains, “At a high level, LifeTech represents our singular focus on the opportunity at the intersection of technology and life insurance. We define that very broadly to encapsulate front-, middle- and back-office technologies. That’s served us really well right now because it’s been more of a philosophy about the whole industry being better enabled. It’s the idea of the rising tide lifting all boats, and with that sort of a mindset it becomes a lot less about specific disruption. It’s more about a broader enablement which will be inherently digital.”
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