EP 32 – From Physics to FinTech: Building an Urban Intelligence Platform for Insurers – Yuval Shafrir – co-Founder and CEO of Urbanico


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 130 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Physicist turned insurance geek. Like many tech entrepreneurs in Israel, Yuval comes from an intelligence background from his military service where he served as a PM in a highly classified intelligence unit, in charge of the entire product life cycle. After finishing his service Yuval studied Physics & Chemistry in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and prior to founding Urbanico worked as a strategic consultant and a hired-CEO of a young retail-tech startup.

This episode is brought to you by:

“What we’re building in Urbanico is an urban intelligence platform that is aimed to help carriers to understand, price, and underwrite risks in a much more granular fashion.” – Yuval Shafrir

In a compelling episode of the “InsurTech Amplified” podcast, Yuval Shafrir, co-founder and CEO of Urbanico, shared invaluable insights into the unique interplay of resilience and innovation that characterizes the Israeli tech ecosystem, often hailed as the “Startup Nation.” Drawing from his unconventional journey from studying physics and chemistry to embracing entrepreneurship, Yuval underscored the importance of diverse experiences in fostering innovation, particularly in the InsurTech space. His narrative illustrated how various career phases equipped him with a distinctive blend of skills, crucial for navigating the complex landscape of technology and strategic business development.

Yuval also delved into the inherent resilience embedded within Israeli culture, emphasizing its critical role in shaping entrepreneurial ventures capable of thriving amidst uncertainty. This resilience, as Yuval illustrated, is vital not only for individual startups like Urbanico, which operates in the challenging milieu of Israel’s geopolitical climate, but also for the broader ecosystem that supports collective growth and adaptability. 

Moreover, he highlighted how Urbanico leverages advanced large language models to transform disparate, unstructured data from local governments into actionable insights for the insurance industry, thus bridging significant data gaps and enhancing risk assessment. Yuval’s reflections provide a deep dive into the strategic thinking and adaptive strategies that are essential for startups aiming to leverage technology for scalable and sustainable solutions.

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