Friday, December 1, 2023

Bente: How 30-day rule helps me save money, grow my Kenyan business

Bente Krogmann is the chief executive officer and director of mTek, a paperless insurance solution provider.

We started as a technology company in 2015 and ventured into the insuretech space in 2017. We saw a huge opportunity when we realized the extremely low market penetration. For us, insurance is a significant part of welfare planning and we were convinced that technology can act as an enabler to raise the penetration rate and be a significant part of the solution to get the uninsured insured.

We provided White Label solutions first before we launched our retail product. Today, mTek provides paperless insurance in less than five minutes – from set-up, payment and receipt of insurance documentation.

The services are priced from as low as Sh. 1,000 monthly for health cover and Sh. 500 for a monthly motor TPO cover from a portfolio of 35 Kenyan underwriters.

mTek is my third venture. Before I started mTek, I funded a Carwash business and also a company for project finance solutions. According to our current growth map and respecting the ongoing investments in our team and product, we are expecting mTek to break even by the third quarter of 2023.

As an insuretech, we are part of a business ecosystem which touches on numerous players. To keep processes fast-paced and raise the overall standards, we need to connect all players in the market. As we are transitioning a legacy industry this has been and is still challenging.

The first car I purchased was underinsured. Soon after I got it, I was involved in a minor accident. For several reasons, the repairs required were not covered by my insurance and the car got stranded for quite a while.

This was just motor insurance. It got me thinking about the effects of being underinsured with regards to health insurance. I fully understand many people don’t like to buy insurance because it means paying for something they hope to never use.

But the consequences of being un-or underinsured are so large that they can wipe you out financially. One medical emergency or accident on the job can change your financial trajectory.

My biggest business moment was when somebody bought a motor insurance on mTek on the 1st of January 2021 – just after midnight. We had just launched our retail solution a couple of weeks before this purchase.

When he made the purchase, the process was smooth and the client received his motor insurance sticker within seconds. I was aware that we had created a platform that put the power of the process in the hand of the consumer. But I could help and get that feeling of “This is working!”

Ups and downs are a part of an entrepreneurship journey. So I don’t want to wipe out any of them. I wish I had understood earlier to concentrate on the solution rather than being upset about what went wrong. This would have saved me from wasting my time on being upset about situations in business.

Rhina Namsia: What I’ve learned from saving in money market vs saving in bank

I believe in the 30-day rule. This means that you defer all non-essential purchases and impulse buys for 30 days. You are basically being forced to think about a purchase for 30 days. This way, you avoid spending money on something you might not need. Besides that, I ‘Spend to Save’.

I like engaging experts to audit expenses and advise how to optimize the same. While this method requires investment at first, it optimizes your spend in the long run. Lastly, I am overall conservative with my spending and I set myself saving goals.

To build a successful venture, you need to invest money but equally time. Be aware that this investment at first is speculative and risky. However, I believe that the biggest risk of all is not taking one. So go ahead, do your due diligence and be bold with your investments.

A version of this profile feature on Bente Krogmann appeared in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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