Eric Mignot has built an impressive and profitable business by doing what others wouldn’t or couldn’t. Not only has that meant billions in revenues, but acquiring many other companies along the way too.
On the Dealmakers Show Mignot talked about finding global opportunities, developing the adaptability to capitalize on them, using M&A for growth, mastering integration, and insurtech. Plus, why keeping your business idea secret is a newbie mistake you should avoid.
Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.
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Developing Your Adaptability
Adaptability is one of the essential superpowers it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
It is a skill that many often develop during childhood through travel. In Eric Mignot’s case it came from working in different industries, in different countries around the world.
He was born in France. Yet, reading books inspired him to want to travel to the Americas. Initially, that dream was to go to Chile. The closest thing he could find at the time was a job in the telecom industry in Mexico. So, he seized on that. He joined the business at a transformative time when things were really changing there.
One of the big things that stuck out to him in this move was how Latin America embraced entrepreneurship and innovation more than back in Europe.
Back home society was a little more rigid and entrenched. Breaking the status quo wasn’t nearly as common or embraced. In Latin America he found people didn’t care about who you are or where you are from as much as what you can do, and how you can do it. Which he says certainly gave him more confidence in becoming an entrepreneur.
Mignot tells us that he went on to develop his adaptability working in different roles, from business development, to CFO, and CEO. He worked across the telecommunication, banking and insurance industries. Which he says provided him a good framework for understanding new spaces, identifying opportunities.
He went on to take his first leap into entrepreneurship by going from working at Accenture to launching a consulting business with one of his colleagues from Harvard Business School.
They created digital firsts in Latin America, and worked with clients from Mexico to Argentina, to Brazil. The company grew to a team of 70 strong while he was there, and is still in business today.
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Eric Mignot says that the right time to launch a startup comes when you are confident in it, and the right people, right funding, and partners all come together. It was a number of years before all the stars aligned again for him to take another leap.
At the time he was CEO of an insurance company. To really transform the industry he saw the need to start from scratch with a blank sheet of paper.
Specifically, he saw a huge need for smaller commercial insurance customers. For example, your taxi drivers, pharmacists, or tattoo shops. A neglected part of the market which few wanted to insure, but which make up 40% of the commercial insurance market.
Those that could get insured would have to jump through a lot of hoops, take out multiple policies, and sign a ton of paperwork.
To transform this space Eric saw it would take developing and implementing new technology. He did that with his company, +Simple. An online insurance platform which digitizes the full chain, making getting insurance much faster and simpler.
+Simple takes a commission on these policies which funds their business. He forecasts they will close this year with 35M Euros in commissions on around 120M Euros in premiums.
Looking forward Eric’s vision includes not just making insurance valuable again for entrepreneurs, but easing entry into business for many would be entrepreneurs and independent workers, who may otherwise see it as too risky and daunting.
Having come through the dot com bubble, and 2008 Great recession, Mignot has seen a lot of the mistakes being made out there. Including some big plays in the insurance space which may lack sustainability due to lack of long term value.
With this in mind he set out to get his company profitable. Even though that may not have been a trendy thing to do in recent years. Within six years they broke even, and have stayed profitable.
M&A For Funding Your Growth
+Simple has raised equity capital through a Series B round. They’ve also utilized debt financing too.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Eric Mignot was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.
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Eric told the Dealmakers Podcast audience that he sees the best use of equity capital as being for R&D, and building your assets. Once you’ve done that he says that they should be producing revenues for you. Once you break even you can use debt to leverage the assets that you’ve built. Use the debt financing to invest and grow your business.
In +Simple’s case they’ve used this funding strategy to engage in a lot of M&A to spur their growth. Buying up smaller insurers, onboarding them to their platform, and improving efficiency.
In many cases, this is a much needed exit for smaller companies, which far larger acquirers overlook.
While integration is often the achilles heel of M&A transactions, they’ve been very intentional about systemizing this, and shortening the time frames of integrating new companies to reduce risk.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- How to successfully integrate companies you acquire
- Eric Mignot’s top advice when launching a business of your own
- Why you shouldn’t try to keep your new business idea a secret