Providing insurance cover for complex and challenging new tech-driven changemakers, reinventing the world of business insurance… Whatever you want to call it, Superscript does all that and more. The company creates custom, modern insurance solutions to meet the rapidly changing needs of scale-ups and offers a number of specialized covers. As senior account manager, Mark van Hout was one of the first people on board at their European headquarters in Rotterdam and talks passionately about his job there. “We have very big ambitions and it’s been amazing to see Superscript grow into the company it is today.”
How did the company start out?
“Superscript was actually founded in the United Kingdom in 2016 after the two co-founders noticed small businesses were underserved by the insurance market. There are two core sides to the business. One side of the business provides insurance for sole-traders, freelancers and small businesses – that is UK-only at the moment. The other side of the business, which I represent, is Superscript – we provide emerging, complex tech companies with insurance solutions in a way that’s fast, transparent and innovative both in the UK and Europe. Our solutions are designed to keep pace with evolving risks and are always shaped around the individual needs of the business. After Superscript launched a few years ago, things moved very fast. When it became clear there were ambitions to grow beyond the UK, the London office made plans for a European headquarters. Because of Brexit, they needed a European office to enter the European market, so Rotterdam became the entry point to Europe. Since then, the organization has grown a lot – more than fivefold over the last two years – has had some great fundraising rounds, raising 73 million euros, and had the honour of becoming Lloyd’s broker for Europe, which is amazing.”
How are you scaling the business and how do you envisage your growth path? If you continue growing like this, you’re likely to explode.
“We can only hope! But joking aside, we have big ambitions. We want to operate globally at some point, but right now we’re focusing on supporting start-ups and scale-ups in markets we’re already operating in. These businesses are struggling with insurance, so we really feel like we can support them. And since we’re a tech scale-up ourselves, we recognize our clients’ struggles and the challenges they face and can genuinely relate to them, which also adds value to our services. It’s a win-win, honestly.”
Do you see any challenges in this market?
“Of course, there are always going to be some challenges. That’s also what keeps it interesting. Aside from the tech market, in which both we and our clients have to work fast to keep up, we’re also seeing that many of our clients are finding it difficult to deal with regulations and authorities. That’s where we can come in and help out as a broker. We’re also seeing a lot of competition now. Fortunately, we’re still backed by the UK office, so we have strong odds of succeeding compared to competitors that are obviously popping up in the Netherlands as well. Sometimes we jokingly say that our Rotterdam office feels like a start-up within a scale-up, which actually gives us a lot of opportunity to thrive. It genuinely feels like the best of both worlds. And another great bonus is that because we were founded in 2016, there’s not much of a legacy to build on. It means we can figure things out as we go, which is the best approach in the current evolving tech ecosystem. Basically, we’re not leaning on anything from the past, but just doing what works best and moving forward from there.”
Why is Rotterdam, and more specifically CIC, the best location for your European headquarters?
“Rotterdam was sort of an easy choice because there’s a large insurance industry in the city as well as a flourishing start-up ecosystem. This is also our client focus, and we think there are loads of great networking opportunities to create partnerships with nearby businesses.”
And even though I have seen Superscript grow – and let me tell you, that’s been an experience unlike any other – and even though we have great plans, we would also love to stay in CIC for as long as possible, because we love the thriving community and the enthusiasm. The energy here is unique, so I hope we can go on growing and still be able to stay here. Fortunately, the CIC team has been very accommodating and welcoming. It’s really an amazing environment to be a part of.”
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Written by: Tessa Burger