6:30 am, April 17, 2022
False arias by Guillaume Canet and good appetite for recognition. The similarities between the director of Les Petits Mouchoirs and Olivier Jaillon, founder of the insurer Wakam, end there. Although … like Canet, Jaillon, 53, talks cash, collects tattoos, and runs at a hundred miles per hour. “I had a great breakdown and it took me over two years to recover,” he says by way of introduction. But I learned two essential things: success is 10% strategy and 90% execution, and leadership is first of all knowing yourself well and knowing how to listen to others. “ And the result is there.
Renamed Wakam in 2020 (“wake up” in Swahili), his company, founded in twenty years by La Parisienne Assurances, is now halfway between a traditional insurer and a fintech. “We will raise between 150 and 200 million euros to change the scale”, announces its CEO, who hopes to become the world’s number one insurtech, to the JDD. By then, this capital increase should value the company at several billion euros and could place it among the top three unlisted French companies worth over 1 billion euros, the famous unicorns.
Platforms’ preferred insurer
And investors are pushing the gate. According to our information, Wakam has received more than 30 expressions of interest. Never seen ! There are American giants, industry industrialists, European growth funds and even SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), these publicly traded investment vehicles looking for nuggets. “Olivier Jaillon prefers to have a partner who is committed to supporting him in the long term, closes the file, even if it means having a lower immediate rating. “ Enough to buy a life and borrower insurance company, future playgrounds for Wakam, develop a new technology platform and “putting talent in five or six countries” where the company is present.
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It is far from the spotlight that this entrepreneur has brought out the oldest of the French young offspring by lending it to the family holding company Opéra Finance of the Beaufour family (of the Ipsen pharmaceutical group), holder of 70% of the capital. Owner of the balance with the executives, Jaillon began to do so “swing” in 2015 by distributing fonts that cover all digital uses. “I bet on the rise of platforms and the change in insurance needs”, He explains. A niche positioning that today makes Wakam the insurer, in a dozen countries in Europe, of delivery workers and drivers of the Deliveroo, Uber, Getir or fintech Revolut platforms, but also of fragmented uses, such as travel by scooter or by bike. “UK, he points, we insure over 40% of Deliveroo’s suppliers. “
Already approved in about thirty European countries
Wakam’s policies are customized or distributed as a white label to insurance companies or digital players using a software interface (API) and the blockchain. The result: the company currently collects 500 million premiums and records a growth rate of almost 30% per year. “We have been profitable since the beginning, observes Olivier Jaillon. The challenge for us today is to go from half a billion euros to several billion with our 160 employees, Wakamiz. “
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It’s hard to see what might stand in the insurance race car right now, other than a collision with another … unicorn. Wakam is already approved in around thirty European countries as an insurer. Another advantage: its credit / reward ratio is better than market standards. The company also reviewed its governance from top to bottom: “I have separated the management functions and I have put the collective intelligence from the board of directors to the comex”, emphasizes the founder. Wakam has also just won, after Maif, the label of a company with a mission. “Lot of work”, recognizes Olivier Jaillon. The former son of a broker who grew up in Monaco and got mad at his parents by refusing to take over the family business, now lives between Paris and Ibiza. And he admits a penchant for boats and motorcycles. He is also very active in the ecosystem of blockchain and cryptocurrency players. But that’s the geek side of him.