Exclusive Q&A With Walid Daniel Dib, CEO of Addenda

Addenda is a blockchain startup built on Hyperledger Fabric and uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) to streamline processes between insurance companies. Recently, the company successfully closed a SEED-funding round led by 500 Startups and MAGNiTT caught up with Addenda CEO, Walid Daniel Dib.

1) Tell us briefly about Addenda. In layman's terms, how exactly does it work? What is a blockchain consortium?

We help insurance companies pay each other for insurance claims that they owe one another. We're focusing mainly on car accident claims, which are valued at around ~5.5 billion AED per year in the UAE alone.

The blockchain consortium allows these insurance companies to reconcile the above-mentioned funds between each other in a digitized, transparent, and automated fashion.

2) What’s your vision for the future?

A fully digitized and automated insurance sector: from the moment you file a claim as a policyholder until you get paid back in full.

3) What were you looking for from your investors, beyond capital?

For a fledgling B2B startup, credibility is key to be able to network with the key insurance companies in the region. Strategic angel investors gave us a significant push to get to where we are today.

4) What's something or someone that really helped you fundraising?

Honesty.

At the very early stages of Addenda, when investors asked me what our "unit economics" were, I didn't know what that even meant. I told them I don't have any, and that I'll get back to them with a number. In a few days, I calculated our unit economics and secured them as our first investors. Until this day, if my answer is honest but does not make Addenda look good, I will still say it. The startup ecosystem is fragile and risky as it is, there's no need to embellish those risks to increase investor appetites. I'd rather have investors take a calculated risk in partnering with us than raise capital from angel investors who didn't know any better.

5) What are your biggest challenges to scale?

In the UAE: Convincing local insurance companies to collaborate rather than compete.

In every other region: As is the case with any B2B market/platform solution, penetrating every new local market means getting every insurance company in that country to agree to use the platform. If our traction in the UAE becomes explosive, we can consider a B2G angle as opposed to B2B down the line with other MENA countries.

6) What are the most exciting things happening in the insur-tech space right now?

Startups that automatically resolve your claims in seconds like Lemonade and Algofy.ai.

7) What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago? 

Learn fast, embrace rejection then move on to the next target, and most importantly: deploy faster and better than your competition.