Earlier this week blockchain firm Next Big Thing (NBT) announced that industrial insurer HDI Global has joined its €12 million Series A funding round. The German companies aim to collaborate on the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain projects.
The quoted Talanx insurance group is investing via its subsidiary HDI. Talanx has a market capitalization of €8.9 billion and owns 50.2% of the world’s number four reinsurer, Hannover Re. The German reinsurer is an investor in blockchain insurance company B3i and part of the Chinese reinsurance consortium.
NBT’s announcement claims that this cooperation between blockchain / IoT venture builder and industrial insurer “is considered a novelty in the industry”. A leading investor in this round, HDI plans to further their data-driven models by actively taking part in Machine Economy focused tech ventures.
Founded in 1903, HDI began as a liability association for the iron and steel industry. Today, the firm operates via various subsidiaries and affiliates in over 150 countries. Its insurance products are used by small and medium enterprises, large corporations, and heavy industry. HDI prides itself on being a digitally-focused firm which provides solutions tailored to the client.
“The IoT and blockchain are the technologies that will determine the future of industries in Germany and Europe”, says NBT’s founder and CEO Harald Zapp.
“The further development of the insurance industry on the basis of the IoT and blockchain will take place in several phases. On the one hand, it is necessary to obtain more information from physical objects in order to be able to better assess risks,” said Zapp.
“On the other hand, many more customized offers can be made via condition-dependent insurances. However, the development of completely new machine economy services, in which smart contracting and artificial intelligence are used to create completely new insurance products without interpersonal interaction, will be exciting.”
This collaboration has the potential to build upon HDI’s aims in industrial insurance. Physical objects could form an online and entirely traceable network, and policies could be automated.
HDI’s Dr. Thomas Kuhnt is also optimistic about their investment: “With NBT, we are taking the next step towards the machine economy in order to be able to offer our customers integrated solutions and services even after the conclusion of policies.”
Next Big Thing positions itself as a startup incubator at the intersection of IOT and blockchain. In essence, it’s an operational venture capital company and has a team of technology and business experts. One of its aims is joint ventures with enterprises. To date, its startups target health, housing, energy, global supply chains and industrial. For example, Weeve network enables the autonomous trading of IoT data as a digital asset in many of these sectors.
Other investors in this funding round include Finlab EOS VC, which is Block.one’s funding program. The blockchain solution provider invests in companies that integrate distributed ledger technology with their current business models. Block.one’s decentralized EOSIO infrastructure is “a perfect expansion” of NBT’s current portfolio, claims the announcement.