It all began with company pension schemes (which is known as betriebliche Altersvorsorge in German and abbreviated to bAV). Xempus founder Martin Bockelmann wanted to digitize it with his startup, which at that time still operated under the name xbAV. To do so, the Munich startup developed a digital platform that connects insurance companies, agents, employers and employees with each other. Up to that point, the four parties had communicated predominantly in paper form, which wasn’t just time-consuming, but also extremely slow: It could take up to six months to conclude a contract.
The cross-provider approach of the Xempus platform changed this while also bringing along other digital features. For example, it makes it possible to take care of common administrative tasks digitally, such as change of address, applying for parental leave and premium changes. Throughout, the focus is always on the smooth exchange of information. The aim is to have informed and educated customers who can make better and more sound decisions.
This formed the foundation for the startup’s success. Several financing rounds followed over the years, with the most recent Series D round in March 2022. In this round, Xempus received 70 million dollars (roughly 63.5 million euros) from its investors, including Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), HPE Growth and Cinco Capital. This increased the total financing for the startup to 125 million dollars (roughly 113.5 million euros).
From company pension schemes to holistic pension and life insurance
Of course, the platform has also developed over time. After digitizing company pension schemes, the startup set itself a new goal: To make pension schemes and life insurance easy for everyone. To do so, Xempus expanded its platform and now covers not just company pension schemes but also disability insurance. In the future, the aim is to offer further services, such as company health insurance (in German, betriebliche Krankenversicherung, which is abbreviated to bKV). It was also this development that prompted the company to change its name. In April 2021, xbAV became Xempus to more clearly communicate its market orientation. Xempus founder Martin Bockelmann explained at the time:
“We started with company pension schemes. Our platform is designed so that product providers and other products can be easily connected technologically. We want to become the first point of contact when it comes to pensions and life insurance.”
According to the insurtech company, they now connect 18,000 insurance agents with 60,000 companies and Germany’s leading life insurance companies with their digital platform.
Xempus: “We see ourselves as a scaleup”
We asked Xempus CEO Tobias Wann to tell us more about the milestones that have shaped the development of the company, what makes Xempus successful and what plans the company is pursuing for the future.
Munich Startup: Xempus was founded in 2007. What three milestones have changed your company the most since then?
Tobias Wann, Xempus: We started as a service provider for company pension schemes with our founder Martin Bockelmann’s vision to create structures that make pension schemes simple and efficient for everyone involved. This vision is now backed by a Software-as-a-Service platform. The biggest milestones include the introduction of digital pension scheme management in 2015, which was followed by digital pension scheme consulting a year later, and then by employee access in 2020. We now digitize all of the processes that take place between agents, insurance companies and employers.
Munich Startup: Do you still consider yourselves a startup?
Tobias Wann: We see ourselves as a scaleup. We’ve found our place in the market and have established our pension scheme solutions. We’re building on that and are developing the technology further in the corporate realm. 170 colleagues, some of them remotely, but also in Munich, Berlin and Saarbrücken, are now working on developing our platform further, on connecting insurance companies and on making new company insurance products simple and digital.
Munich Startup: If you could only name one thing: What was the most important factor for your success?
Tobias Wann: Expanding usability for our users.
Munich Startup: Your founder, Martin Bockelmann, joined the Supervisory Board last year and handed over leadership to you as the new CEO. What tips can you give other startups for this type of handover?
Tobias Wann: Listen. That’s how you get a good impression of the company. Personal conversations provide valuable context from the very start. And this should be built upon by using and developing existing formats or by creating new and meaningful ones. What works for us is a combination of regular meetings, weekly company meetings and open spaces.
“2020 demonstrated how important digital communication is”
Munich Startup: What is the most challenging issue for Xempus at the moment?
Tobias Wann: We’re growing. We’re stepping up our search for new colleagues to develop our SaaS platform into Europe’s leading pension & insurtech company.
Munich Startup: What impact did the corona pandemic have on you?
Tobias Wann: 2020 demonstrated how important digital communication is. What that means in our context is: insurers-agents-companies. Digital communication makes consulting, contract conclusion and administration simple, efficient and, of course, possible from any location. In the last two years, there has been a steep increase in digital consultation. The same is true for digital administration. Added to that was a growing demand from both sides – agents and insurance companies – for digital company health insurance. Companies want to retain and attract employees. Benefits are a major topic and both company health insurance and pension schemes are attractive in the market. We’re working on that right now and will go live in the fall.
Munich Startup: How will your company become the next unicorn?
Tobias Wann: What interests us more than being a unicorn is setting standards in the corporate environment and extending them to Europe.
Munich Startup: In your opinion, what is the key factor for sustainable business development?
Tobias Wann: Supply and demand. And making a difference technologically.
Munich Startup: How would you as an “old hand” rate Munich as a startup location?
Tobias Wann: There is a lot of IT and insurance in Munich. As an insurtech company, we appreciate the local communication. But what I find more important than the location is flexibility and a sensible mobile work concept.
Munich Startup: What’s on top of your desk right now?
Tobias Wann: We just raised 70 million US dollars in Series D funding. With this fresh capital, we’re expanding our market position in Germany. We’re integrating digital health insurance into our platform and are launching the internationalization of our Xempus technology at the same.