CASE 15 Supporting a French Tech company providing an insurance fraud detection solution based on AI to start business activities in Tokyo

Peter Haslebacher

Shift Technology is a French Company reinventing insurance claims processing with AI. Its fraud detection solution Force™ provides a decision-making platform specifically designed for insurance fraud and claim handlers to scale their capacity to detect a wide spectrum of fraudulent and suspicious claim behaviors. Since launching its technology in 2014, the company has raised over $40M, opened offices in Tokyo, Singapore, London, Madrid, Zurich, and Hong Kong, and has already signed contracts with more than 50 insurers throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas covering P&C, travel, life, and health business lines.

BDCT's Support

  • Information of incorporation in Japan
  • Providing necessary contacts in Japan
  • Introduction of office space
  • Hiring of local employee

Expand a Business to Japan

In 2017, we saw a business chance in Japan when we met a Japanese insurance company in Singapore launching an InsurTech initiative which ended with a delivery project in Japan. In parallel we applied for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) accelerator initiative, and Shift Technology was chosen as one of 8 finalists for TMG's Fintech Business Camp.

The program by TMG was very attractive in many senses. First, the program had a very powerful group of mentors, and gave us good exposure to our prime target group, Japanese Insurance Companies. The program was extremely helpful in supporting appointments with these insurance companies, providing opportunities to introduce our solution to the mentor companies, and potential customers. The TMG program helped us to position Shift Technology in Japan and worked as a good accelerator for us to start business activities in Japan.

Think global act local. Before arriving in Japan, we took the decision to prepare for localizing the solution. The time we spent in Tokyo and the money we invested was well justified. It took us the bigger part of 6 months to prepare for the business activities in Japan.

Just like we prefer to work in English or French, Japanese localization is important for the Japanese market. We had invested money to localize our solution before coming to Japan. I personally spent the majority of the last six months in Tokyo. The time investment helped to establish relationship in insurance Industry in Japan. On the other hand, TMG connected us with the right mentors and provided the right level of support, including billboard advertising, news releases, video clips etc. all to get us the necessary exposures in the market. The TMG activities generated more awareness than we could ever have done by ourselves and that was another key element which contributed to our success.

Comments on BDCT's Support

In December 2017, when we were convinced our technology was ready for the Japanese market, TMG provided us all the necessary information and contacts through the Business Development Center Tokyo (BDCT) to incorporate Shift Technology in Japan. For example, BDCT provided us with information and contacts to help with the legal process, administration, finance, office lease and the incorporation of the company. For newly established foreign companies in Japan, recruiting local talents is a challenging task. TMG helped us with the recruitment process as well. And finally, we also qualified for the TMG subsidy program.

We will get support from TMG to offset cost for incorporation and recruitment. Working with TMG and with the help of BDCT expedited the set-up of Shift Technology Japan and made us more attractive for local talents interested to work with us in the InsurTech space. Effective first of June, we are going to have a full team of Japanese speaking experts, from business development, solution delivery to data scientists. We are growing fast and currently we are looking for more talents and bigger office space.

What TMG and BDCT provided was a very good support package for a foreign start-up company to open door to the Japanese market. BDCT understands how international companies are working and helped us to understand how to do business in Japan.

With the help of BDCT the process was fast and efficient. It was a pleasant experience, and we might not be as established as we are now, without the program led by TMG and BDCT.

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