The start-up dacadoo is capturing the spirit of our times: with its individual health index, it has found an entirely new way to connect insurance companies around the world with their customers. And the Greater Zurich Area ecosystem is key to its success, says founder Peter Ohnemus.
Why is a company from Zurich, and not New York, doing something completely new in the healthcare sector?
Peter Ohnemus: According to UBS, healthcare makes up 41 percent of the Swiss Market Index (SMI), whereas it is only 8.5 percent for DAX and 13.2 percent for the Dow Jones. Switzerland is extremely strong in the healthcare sector, just as it is in insurance and data sciences. At dacadoo we benefit from these strengths and bring them all together. With our solution, life or health insurance providers can offer their customers a healthier lifestyle and make it visible through a health index so they can ultimately profit from it.
Does this mean that the experts needed for this are here?
Yes. ETH Zurich is making enormous investments in the field of data sciences. Companies like Google might be snapping up good graduates in Zurich, but they also act as a magnet. Zurich University Hospital and the University of Zurich are also top class. In addition, we have been focusing on blockchain-capable infrastructure from the very start – and the Greater Zurich Area is a global leader in this.
But experts don’t just come from the region – they also like the region because of its one-of-a-kind quality of life. Our team of around 80 staff is rapidly growing and now comprises 8 nationalities. We have experienced professionals from London, for example, who are tired of big-city living and enjoy life here very much
How important is the local insurance industry for an international player like dacadoo?
The Greater Zurich Area is increasingly developing into a global insurance hub. It has large, established companies but also a few startups that are shaking up the insurance market – and both groups are open to innovation and cooperation.
Where are the insurance growth markets for you these days?
Asia is the absolute growth market, and things there are still very much at the beginning. The US is also important, but in fact Americans are looking to Asia these days. In this sense, our success in Asia benefits us twice over. Ultimately, we are growing on all continents: our services are now available to some 200 million people through our customers, who provide insurance all around the world.
To what extent does your ‘Swissness’ help you internationally?
Our business is data, and our business model has always focused on respecting people and their privacy. We are a Swiss startup, which means that people also trust us to take data security very seriously.
Interview: Yvonne von Hunnius
Peter Ohnemus has been the CEO of dacadoo since he founded the company in 2010. He is also an investor in several startups in the high-tech, medical and ICT sectors. Prior to dacadoo, Ohnemus had already co-founded a number of companies in Switzerland. The dacadoo platform motivates its users with a playful approach to a healthy lifestyle and makes health individually measurable. It offers digital solutions for companies in the healthcare sector as well as for corporate health promotion and wellness.