Nearly everyone has been there - reaching that point in your career when the time comes for a new challenge.

After spending over a decade with Tesla, helping to grow the org from fewer than 100 employees to upwards of 40,000, deciding what was next, wasn’t an easy decision,  but certainly an important one. After working at a company as exciting and disruptive as Tesla, what could possibly come next? Some of the thoughts that were rolling through my mind:

  • Work for a major OEM?
  • Jump into another early-stage electric vehicle start-up?
  • Micromobility?
  • Check out for a while and sail around the world? (one of my other life goals)

The more I considered the options, the more I contemplated continuing the mission forward toward transitioning society to sustainable transportation.

Then out of the blue, I got a call from a former Tesla executive recruiter who connected me with a mutual friend at Avinew.  
My first impression: great founders and team, but insurance was not an industry I had ever considered. It felt boring, slow paced, not interesting or transformative, especially after Tesla.

Then when I opened my mind and really started thinking about it, I was reminded that insurance was a problem we had been trying to solve at Tesla for quite some time.  The Tesla team had been trying to negotiate better rates for the many active and passive safety features included in the vehicles in an effort to provide consumers with greater incentives to get safer, cleaner vehicles on the road.  Unfortunately, traditional insurance companies were unable to pave the road to better insurance rates, primarily due to the fact that they relied on risk models that didn’t align with the latest auto-tech space.

The insurance industry currently relies on historical data to make future predictions around risk, typically reaching back from 5 to 20 years. When one signs up for insurance, you’re not asked about safety features on your vehicle, but rather, age, gender, marital status, and zip code.  As we move into the next phase of automotive disruption, when data is being generated and risk assessed in real time, the game has to change.

A moment in time is created where the value of historical data decreases and real-time data holds more value in assessing risk. Avinew is developing a number of technologies today that leverage this real-time data. Distracted driving has been contributing to an increase in accident rates over the past several years. Autonomous vehicles never get distracted, even in the event that the driver does. Imagine the concept – the more the driver allows their car to navigate roads using autonomous technology, the less one pays for insurance.

Avinew’s foundational belief that driving a fundamentally safer car should yield better insurance rates, as validated by Tesla’s recent announcement, is necessary for making progress toward a sustainable, semi-autonomous and autonomous future.

The more I researched, the more excited I became about the opportunity to create a unique auto insurance product for connected and autonomous vehicles that would offer superior value to consumers.

As I weighed these considerations, it became clear that Avinew is in a prime position to offer solutions that will not only transform an industry that hasn't changed much in the last hundred years (insurance), but also to enable technology that will help drive the transition to an electric/autonomous future.  That was a problem I could get on board with solving!