Startup Spotlight is an ongoing series which profiles Canadian wireless and mobile technology startups.
This month, we spoke with Brayden York, Founder & CEO of Base Portfolio. The company is an insurance platform that provides a simple way to purchase and manage insurance online. As one of Canada’s first insurance innovators the company is looking forward to improving the insurance experience.
Tell us about your background and what inspired you to create Base Portfolio?
I had a few bad experience’s trying to purchase insurance for startups I was working on in University and thought, “well that’s not right.” These experiences accompanied with my dad’s involvement in property management made me realize there was a big market opportunity for innovation within insurance.
I graduated with a commerce degree from to the University of Saskatchewan and upon graduation started working for SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software, after finishing an internship opportunity with them. I worked for SAP doing business one integration until I transitioned into insurance and never looked back. Now I am a licensed insurance broker with a tech background attempting to innovate within the industry.
Can you explain the essence of your product and what benefits it provides?
Our platform is designed for property owners who need to get a better understanding and lower the overall cost of insurance. We digitize buildings which allows us to insure property virtually and in real time. Unlike legacy insurance processes that are expensive and have long applications cycles, our service is cost effective and easy to use.
We’ve set out to address the complexity and high cost of insurance. We are on a mission to bring collaborative “insurtech” products to the insurance industry and modernize in this space that has seen very few changes over the decades. As one of Canada’s first insurance innovators we look forward to improving the insurance experience. Our goal is to create a platform that is truly insurance made easy.
What role has Wavefront played in your journey to date?
Wavefront has been integral to our success thus far. Participating in the Venture Acceleration Program has been great. We have been pleased to find immediate use for much of the information we’ve been exposed to via Wavefront. For example, during market validation training (MVT) we covered a lot of the key details that Venture Capitalists and Angels often request. Anticipating these questions has allowed us to stay ahead of the curve and come prepared for these discussions.
During market validation training (MVT) we covered a lot of the key details that Venture Capitalists and Angels often request. Anticipating these questions has allowed us to stay ahead of the curve and come prepared for these discussions.
From where you stand now, what developments do you see in the next 5-10 years?
When I started in the insurance industry we were still using a DOS (Disk Operating System). While there has been some modernization since then, I think we are poised to see dramatic changes take place in the industry over the next 3-5 years. With the introduction of “insurtech” we are finally getting smart creatives interested in the industry and it is bound to shape the way companies offer their products and consumers obtain insurance coverage. I think the biggest changes with come through blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. Developments in this area will help reduce a lot of the inefficiencies and allow insurance professionals to assist consumers with far more insight than ever before.
From your time leading the company, is there any advice you would share in the face of challenge?
When you are making the decision to leave a comfortable salary it can be hard, so I think one of the biggest challenges I faced was taking the step outside of full-time employment. In order to overcome that fear, I spent as much time as I could focused on building my support network and “side-hustling” on my idea.
I’ve read that more than sixty-percent of twenty-somethings want to start their own business. My best advice would be to start exploring any new endeavor on the side first. There are a number of resources available that allow you to pick up work on the side and build up a project portfolio. Some of the resources I tapped into were freelancer, guru, upwork and fiverr.
When starting your own business or taking on a side-job, you may find yourself working for less than minimum wage for a while, don’t let this discourage you. Once you build up a reputation you can start increasing your price. Always remember, no one will be able to take away your knowledge and experience from you.
Why did you select BC for the home of your company?
I moved to BC from Saskatchewan, where there is not much of a technology scene yet. Relocating to Vancouver was an easy decision as I knew the booming technology space here would be a great place for me to start a tech endeavor. I knew if I wanted to succeed I would have to surround myself with other passionate people within the industry and I’m glad I made the move. I’ve met so many driven and innovative people here and have been exposed to numerous resources and programs that have made starting Base Portfolio possible.
Brayden and his team have recently starting working with Base Portfolio’s first Beta users and are having a lot of fun working with these early adopters. Stay up to date on the platform’s developments by visiting their website: www.baseportfolio.com.