Gig economy CEO is a Thai-Swede

Janthana Kaenprakhamroy came from Thailand to Sweden when she was 13 and finished her school education there. Later, she moved to London to study.

Here, in 2016, she co-founded a business with Sam Hopkins in 2016 with the idea to provide tailored business insurance for SMEs and freelancers in the gig economy.  Their unique Business Insurance solution for the GIG economy is called Tapoly.

This year, Tapoly made it to the coveted list of the 50 most promising private insurtech companies in the world compiled by CB Insights.

In a recent interview with https://businesscloud.co.uk, Janthana Kaenprakamroy said, she intends to boost the company’s workforce to 50 by 2024.

“I currently have a team of 10 employees across technology, business, finance and marketing, but we’re looking to increase our headcount to 50 by 2024 in line with our business growth plans,” she tells BusinessCloud.

According to the interview, Kaenprakhamroy grew up in an agricultural family in Thailand “where education was difficult to access and women were not particularly encouraged into entrepreneurship”. Despite this, it was always her dream to get a good education and eventually go to university.

“I moved from Thailand to Sweden when I was 13 to finish school, then I came to London, initially for a holiday, but I fell in love with the city and stayed to go to university,” she explains.

“One of the main challenges I had to overcome was learning new languages and navigating working in different countries with different cultures. I’m very proud to be the first person in my family to graduate from university and to have worked hard to build my career to where I am today.”

Prior to founding Tapoly, she had a successful career in investment banking with Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase, rising to become internal audit director at UBS.

“I always knew I wanted to run my own business as I really liked the idea of being my own boss and building my own elite team,” she says.

“The idea for Tapoly came to me in 2016 when I decided to rent out my flat through Airbnb. I needed an insurance policy that would protect my property, my guests, and myself against the risks of doing business, while providing the kind of short-term flexibility the sharing economy thrives on, but I couldn’t find one anywhere.”

The experience motivated her to use technology to bring tailored insurance products to the then 2.2 million freelancers and micro-SMEs in the UK, providing cover that encompasses their unique activities at a fair price.

The number of gig economy workers has since risen to 4.4m in the UK, which is an increase of 2.5 times since 2016.

Janthana has now also made it into the Top 100 Women Founders to Watch – a listing established by Listed by Forbes – and is currently No.6 on the list. She says, she has had to fight for success in a male-dominated industry and still finds herself something of a rarity in boardrooms.

“I constantly see just how few women there are in our offices and boardrooms. The insurance business is built on relationships so it has not always been easy to break in as a newcomer,” she says. “Once I gained recognition and trust, I have been made to feel very welcome.

“I am thankful that I never felt I should avoid becoming an InsurTech entrepreneur because of my gender. This is a mindset that I want to instil in the next generation of female tech leaders.

“However, structural changes still need to be made to break down the barriers and diversify the workforce, including increasing the amount of funding available, more mentoring opportunities and better access to education and training.”

You may read the whole interview here: https://businesscloud.co.uk/news/rare-tapoly-ceo-plans-to-boost-headcount-fivefold/

From a Thai perspective, it is amusing, that a “Gig”  in Thai slang is a on-the-side boyfriend or girlfriend. The main girlfriend or boyfriend is called a “Fan” regardless whether they are actually married, while the second relation is called a “Gig”.

It is entirely possible that the Thai slang word has its origin in the emergence of the Gig Economy.

The Gig economy is characterized by a free market system where organizations and independent workers engage in short-term work arrangements. Data suggest that in 2017 the US gig economy had 55 million participants. It’s estimated that 36% of US workers take part in the gig economy and 33% of companies extensively use gig workers.

Over the past couple of years, technology has lowered barriers to entry so much that “gigs” have become easily accessible to an unprecedented number of people. What was perceived as a side hustle only a couple of years ago, turned into a trillion-dollar industry with millions of participants.

What they all need is what Tapoly is offering in the insurance business that used to be solely for corporate customers.  The two main  areas are Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance.

Professional Indemnity Insurance protects the Gig against claims made by a client for any financial losses they suffered as a result of the Gig’s advice or services. Public Liability Insurance offers protection if a customer or member of the public injures themselves or damages one of their possessions while they are on the property of the Gig.

It is not clear if Tapoly accepts customers located in South East Asia.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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