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Pablow: Insurtech startup goes national


On Thursday Des Moines-based Insurtech startup Pablow announced a partnership that will make their product available in the United States.

Pablow currently offers a car rental comparison website and insurance site in Australia and New Zealand. And with the partnership announced Thursday in a news release, they will launch the same model in the United States.

The availability of Allianz Global Assistance Car Rental Damage Protector will be through the P’teet website across 50 states.

Pablow was a member of the Global Insurance Accelerator in 2015 and has been based in Des Moines since the Global Insurance Accelerator three years ago.

Founder Steve Sherlock said it was two and a half years from initial contact to the launch of

“To calculate in miles, just shy of 20,000,” Sherlock wrote in an email from Mexico.

Sherlock said he’s had several startups in the car rental aggregation market across the world and one reoccurring theme from customers he continued to hear was how annoying they found it when they found out the rental damage insurance charges often cost more than the rental itself.

“When I exited the car rental industry in 2011, I decided to see if we could offer consumers a specialized insurance to cover just the car rental deductible,” Sherlock said. “I had a close contact at Allianz Global Assistance in Brisbane, Australia and crunched the number and put a viability case to them, and low and behold they agreed to create a standalone car rental insurance product for us to sell to consumers.”

Sherlock said he credits the Global Insurance Accelerator for helping him understand the licensing requirement.

“Without it, we could not operate as we do today,” he said.

Sherlock said Pablow has raised capital in the Australian market and won’t need outside investors to grow the business.

“With additional resources, we aim to expand geographically with our existing car rental and vacation rental insurance models,” he said. “In time we ai to release a model that we believe will delight travelers and potentially disrupt aspects of the travel insurance distribution model.”


Pablow: Insurtech startup goes national | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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