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May 13, 2019

Interview: Richard Thornton, Hokodo

Co-founder on delivering insurtech solutions to small businesses

Oliver Wyman Partner Matt Leonard connects with Richard Thornton, Co-Founder of Hokodo on building solid partnerships and delivering insurtech solutions to small businesses.

A lot of small and medium sized businesses struggle with receivables. But what if small and medium sized companies could insure their invoices, so payments were guaranteed?

That’s what insurtech newcomer Hokodo seeks to do. Co-founded by Richard Thornton and Louis Carbonnier, Oliver Wyman alumni, Hokodo is a business-to-business company that allows its clients to ask their clients a very important question: “Would you like to receive a quote to protect this invoice against non-payment?”

This year Hokodo just scored big wins: It successfully secured €1.9 million through its latest seed funding round, which was led by European venture capital firm Anthemis, and finalized a partnership with SCOR Global P&C, a Lloyd’s syndicate, to back their products. In his interview with Oliver Wyman partner Matt Leonard, Richard discussed the company’s plans for 2019, including expanding the business into continental Europe. Currently, Hokodo is based in the UK, but Richard says Hokodo’s “DNA is international.” Its other co-founders are from France and Belgium and a founding advisor is from Germany. 

Recently, Hokodo announced another new partnership with Countingup, the UK’s number one small business banking and accounting app. Within its app, Countingup has created a link to Hokodo's Invoice Protection solution to help small business owners from running into cash flow problems through missed or late payments. It's the essence of why Hokodo was created—to put financial solutions within reach of all companies, regardless of their size.

But what about the name?  Turns out the name has a pretty exotic origin.  According to Richard, “The first challenge for any start up is getting a domain address. Our business is all about helping our clients to trade safely, so we started exploring what the word ‘trade’ is in different languages. In Maori the word for trade is hokohoko.  We weren’t going to go with Hokohoko.co, but Hokodo had a nice ring.”

That’s a nice start to an insurtech company with some real promise.

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