Leading the InsurTech Revolution: Harprem Doowa of Eazy Digital
by Seven Peaks on Nov 15, 2023 6:16:09 PM
Harprem started his first company in 2012, and after only a few years of mergers and acquisitions became Moxy/Orami, one of the largest startups in the e-commerce industry back in its infancy. He became a true serial entrepreneur who fully understands the power that e-commerce has to take any brick-and-mortar business and open it up to new revenue streams, customer bases, and added value by selling online. A few years later (2016), Harprem mastered his expertise in taking any product to the digital realm and subsequently applied it to his traditional base of operations: the Insurance industry. Here is his story, from entrepreneur to corporate disruption officer and back.
In the beginning of e-commerce, the digitization of retail was the first phase. I started Frank.co.th in 2016, widely considered a pioneer in the InsurTech industry and then I sold that to BoltTech in 2020” - they used our platform to roll out to their entire global market and it is still in use today.
Then came e-commerce 2.0, which was the company that enabled the sales of the first guys. It’s like “selling the shovels,” which is what Levi Strauss did during the gold rush. I didn’t bother to compete with absolutely everyone who was fighting for the gold - I wanted success from selling the tools (in this case, Blue Jeans) these people needed to mine the gold. When I looked at the previous market, I jumped over to phase 2 of the insurtech industry, which was to enable the sales of a platform in a digital manner. I then went on to found Eazy Digital in 2022. It didn’t really matter what platform, as long as they had something to sell.
“I don’t care what the product is – all I know is that I can sell it online.”
I already had 7 years of experience in insurance, and I saw the industry moving in the same direction as e-commerce, where a lot of startups are competing just to sell policies. I knew I had the experience, and it was clear that for insurance, nobody had tried to do it before. The gap and opportunity was there so I went ahead and started to build.
“Just do it, go ahead and try - what’s the worst that could happen? You’re not going to get the answer by not asking.”
I’ve had almost-failures, should I have stayed and fought for it a little bit more? Hindsight is always 20-20.
You don’t have to wait until you have a lot of money, there are always ways to do a series of market tests, and so if it’s a real problem everybody probably already knows about it.
“If you find yourself having to sell your idea, convincing people that something will work - then something isn’t right. Instead of spending all of your time selling people on the idea, you should be convincing them why your solution is the best solution for a problem they already have!”
You can never implement products in a silo, and it has to work on multiple levels before you can make it work. We are still very early, developing our platform still. Product-market fit is not as big of an issue, because I know the industry and that helps a lot.
“I’m not building something out of hope, I’m building something out of experience. And trust.”
Another validating point was that whenever I spoke about the product or idea, it was obvious how it would add value - everyone instantly understood what I was trying to do, and they also understood that it was a need that was necessary to solve a pain point in the market.
Eazy Digital is designed to be scalable, not monolithic - it’s more like the way you use salesforce.com. Other people can integrate their own products and plug-ins with your platform, making it possible for customers to get exactly what they need.
D2C needs you to spend a fortune to become the number one in the industry, before you can actually start to make great profits. This time I wanted to try a different approach, one that would be able to scale faster and become more profitable. In B2B sales however, closing clients is the biggest challenge - there’s a much longer sales cycle, and you have to pay attention to your client’s budget planning and accounting periods. But it is also much more lucrative.
By next year we should have a good pipeline, and we’ll be looking to go regional in countries such as Malaysia, Japan, and Hong Kong after that. Launching the platform regionally, I envision myself revolutionizing the industry - we already have the model for how to sell online.
“Anywhere I go, they’re like yeah we know Frank and BoltTech, you guys pretty much pioneered the industry! So this time it’s going to be for the insurance agency-side.”
Over the years, what has actually changed is my level of patience. Things take time, you can’t always expect everything to happen overnight. What is very important is not wasting time on working on lots of things, all at the same time.
“It’s so important to focus on one thing, and get deep into that so you really understand how it’s going to provide value to a specific group of people.”
It’s a mistake to try to please everyone, because you’re not going to be able to - or at least, you’re not going to be able to do it very well. And this is one of the biggest lessons to learn that comes with experience.
One of the most important things for me was learning when to stand up and speak up and learning when to shut up. Nobody ever teaches you this stuff. Tom Srivorakul, one of the founders and Group CEO of aCommerce, taught me a lot of things about how to run a business. I also got a professional mentor later in my career in order to learn how to work with BoltTech. Everyone talks about the exit, but nobody ever talks about what happens after the exit; it is pretty challenging and quite difficult - you become part of someone else’s corporate machine, they start telling you what to do with your own product, etc.
The most rewarding part of my work is actually achieving what I had set out to achieve. People in corporate environments might get the same feeling, but for me there’s no boss that gets the pat on the back. You get the pat on the back, then you get to go and pat other people’s backs. And that feels great.
Harprem was featured in TrueLancer’s blog, “50 Founders Start-up Talk: How to Save Your Startup from Failure.” as well as AsiaTechDaily, after successfully raising $1.8m in seed funding earlier this year. The funding round was led by Wavemaker Partners, M-Venture Partners, and One Degree, with participation from Seedstars International Ventures, Wing Vasiksiri, and Sasin Bangkok Venture Club.
Founder & CEO of Eazy Digital
Harprem was the former Co-Founder & CEO of Frank Insurance, an online digital broker based out of Thailand that innovated the way insurance was bought and sold. The company was funded by Nova Founders and Pacific Century Group before being successfully acquired by BoltTech, where Harprem continued as Chief Disruption Officer & Head of InsurTech Exchange for two years before returning to his entrepreneurial roots.