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Reimagining insurance for social good

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Entrepreneurship in New York City is vibrant, feeding from and fueling the energy of the City’s streets. Students, professionals, and existing business owners congregate in spaces throughout the city to share ideas, to launch new ventures, and to reshape the world. This network of thinkers and doers produces a reverberating and compounding effect across geographic areas far beyond the five boroughs.

Two New Yorkers, Kate Woska and Shane Fuhrman, recently presented an innovative new global insurance company, called Atikus Insurance, at the NYU Berkley Center’s $200K Entrepreneurship Challenge finalist pitch-off.

The event was held in NYU Stern’s Paulson Auditorium on April 25, 2014 and included 12 finalists selected from an original pool of 212 entrants. Kate is an NYU Stern alumnus, and Shane is a Skidmore College alumnus, who later earned his J.D. at Brooklyn Law School.

Kate shares a segment of her research: “Approximately 2.5 billion low-income individuals lack access to formal financial services. Microcredit is a powerful tool to fight against poverty reduction, but the global microcredit industry only reaches 200 million clients, leaving 93 out of 100 still without access to capital.”

“Women,” Kate reveals, “have shown to be equally as enterprising as men, and across multiple studies have been statistically proven to be safer borrowers than men. Atikus seeks to empower these women, along with other qualified yet underserved demographics.”

Atikus enables tablet technology on the front-end, and takes advantage of data analytics on the back-end, creating an efficient ecosystem for both the lenders’ and its own operation.

Atikus taps into financial education and women’s empowerment networks in order to create a safer, more educated borrowing class. Atikus is quickly moving towards a Q1/Q2 2015 launch date in East Africa.

Atikus was built with the desire to create tools rooted in insurance, as opposed to margin-driven insurance products, returning to the idea that insurance is meant to be a market lubricant as opposed to a burden on industry.

This sentiment, paired with a dedicated focus on underserved demographics, has culminated into a venture worthy of its namesake and representative of the powerful forces at play in NYC’s entrepreneurship community.

Atikus Insurance is well positioned on a small business success path for 2015. Stay tuned.

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