MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Aureus Analytics CEO & Co-Founder Anurag Shah about how and why the InsurTech startup chose to create a presence in Hartford, CT.
NAN PRICE: You launched Aureus in 2014 in India. What brought you to the United States?
ANURAG SHAH: Two things brought us to Hartford last year, the Hartford InsurTech Hub accelerator, which is powered by Startupbootcamp, and VentureClash, which is run by Connecticut Innovations.
Aureus was in the first accelerator cohort, which is where we met Connecticut Innovations. They decided to invest in us, even before VentureClash 2018 began. Connecticut Innovations was interested in what we do, especially if we were willing to set up operations in Connecticut. So, we were preselected to participate in VentureClash. Given that our focus is insurance, it’s logical for us to be here in Hartford.
NAN: In “The Insurance Capital of the World.”
ANURAG: Exactly! To be honest, we explored other places to set up our operations in the United States. Hartford wasn’t initially our choice. But one of our potential customers encouraged us to visit and we figured we should follow the customer.
When we visited, we saw that we were probably going to engage with more insurance companies here than anywhere else. Another primary driver is the availability of people who understand insurance—whether it’s partners, consultants, or mentors. So, it made a lot sense for us to come to Hartford.
NAN: What did you gain from participating in the Hartford InsurTech Hub accelerator and VentureClash?
ANURAG: It was a very interesting experience. Through those programs, we met a lot of mentors, consultants, and investors—including Frank Sentner, David Bourque and Lalitha Shivaswamy. It was a huge value add.
NAN: Have you been involved with any other local resources?
ANURAG: In India, we already have a lot of patents and intellectual property filed. So, we’re working with local patent lawyers to get some of those registered here.
NAN: How have your past experiences launching other startups helped shape where you are now?
ANURAG: This is actually the second or third venture for all the founders. We all have had previous businesses and successfully exited.
When we started Aureus, we were very clear that if we couldn’t find the right people to take the technology to the customer, we were not going to succeed. That led to us building the kind of team we have built so far.
NAN: How many people does Aureus employ?
ANARUG: We have 30 total, with two of us here setting up our U.S. presence. We’re building our team here, hiring people who understand specific lines of businesses within insurance for positions in business development and sales. Initially, there will be more senior hires. Then, as we then build the next set of team members, we’ll probably tap into the local universities and colleges for talent.
NAN: What’s next?
ANURAG: We’ve built a very strong connection with customers in the last year and a half. Our immediate focus is to start capitalizing and getting some customer traction going. Then we’ll add team around it to implement it and support it.
In India, Aureus Analytics is a known brand. We want to duplicate that here in the United States. The idea is, if anyone thinks of insurance, analytics, and AI they will think of Aureus. Our goal is to develop that kind of visibility with the ecosystem.