Can you start out by telling me a little bit about yourself?
Elisabeth: I’m a California native and was a freelance writer for a long time before migrating over to corporate communications and social media.
David: I’m also a California native, and come from a long line of insurance professionals. After working for multiple insurance companies, I thought about starting my own business. Insurance seemed like a natural fit, so I launched a third-party administrator (similar to an insurance company) about 20 years ago. After I sold that, I was thinking of new challenges to try—so Elisabeth and I put our heads together and came up wit InsuranceSocial.Media.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting off?
Elisabeth: When we were accepted into the Global Insurance Accelerator for last year’s cohort, one of the first things I remember hearing is “fail fast.” It was a whole new concept for me—I mean, who wants to fail?? But when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s great advice: try new things, find out if they don’t work, and move on to something that does.
David: Make sure that there’s a demand for your product, and that people are willing to pay for it!
What is your favorite thing about your team?
Elisabeth: It’s incredible to have an engaged team to brainstorm with and to make progress with!
David: Their devotion to being experts at creating experts.
What really sets Insurance Social Media apart from other companies?
Elisabeth: We really focus on the content—and on writing it well, and designing stellar images to go along with the text.
David: There aren’t really any other companies in our space. There are social media consultants, and some companies that facilitate social media marketing—but none (that we’re aware of!) that combine our level of sophisticated, results-oriented automation and individual personalization.
Why did you choose to be a part of Gravitate?
Elisabeth: We’re a startup, and our staff is pretty small. We wanted to feel a part of something larger, part of a community—and Gravitate is a great place to start putting down roots!
David: When we were at the Accelerator last year, we made a field trip over to Gravitate for one of the open co-working days. I immediately liked the look and feel of the place, and had it in the back of my mind as a possible location for our first Des Moines office. We feel very fortunate that we’re able to be a part of it!
What is your favorite memory at Gravitate?
Elisabeth: Turker’s tutorial on how to use his espresso machine.
David: Moving from a temporary conference room to our dedicated space. (Elisabeth: I do sorta miss those purple walls sometimes, though.)
Where would you like to see the Des Moines startup/tech community in five years? Ten years?
Elisabeth: I feel like Des Moines has a very active, supportive startup community, so just keeping on in the same direction seems like a great way to go! Other than that, I’d love to see its reputation spread beyond the Silicon Prairie.
David: The Des Moines startup/tech community is gaining momentum every day. Five years from now, it would be great to see more the agtech, fintech, and insurtech startups of today gain national recognition, and to see even more capital. Ten years from now it would be great to see the Des Moines startup/tech community with their own version of the Des Moines Social Club.
If you could give any advice to someone looking to get into this industry, what would it be
Elisabeth: Know your field. Know your customers’ needs. Know where to turn for advice and support.
David: Seek outside advice early on.
What are your top 3 favorite things about Des Moines right now?
Elisabeth: Great restaurants, great beer, great coffee. In no particular order. David: Great people, vibrant downtown, wonderful insurance community. What event are you most looking forward to this year?
Elisabeth: We’ve gotten our first invitation to speak at an Insurtech conference (InsurTech Silicon Valley Summit March 29-30! Ask us if you want a discount on your registration!), so that’s going to be a fun way to round out Q1.
David: V2 of our software. We have some really big things in the works and are customers are going to love us (even more than they do already!).
Where can we get in contact with you?
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Also the office immediately inside Gravitate’s front door.