February 21, 2019

Nassau Re launches another insurtech incubator in downtown Hartford

HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Nassau Re is headquartered at Hartford's Boat Building, 1 American Row.
HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER
Connecticut Innovations CEO Matthew McCooe.

Another corporate-backed insurtech incubator is launching in downtown Hartford.

Hartford insurer Nassau Re on Wednesday announced its accepting applications for a new incubator program based in their headquarters at the Boat Building, 1 American Row. The incubator is dubbed as Nassau Re/Imagine.

Nassau Re is contributing up to 48,000 square feet of vacant office space over the next three years to support startups in the life insurance, annuity and reinsurance industries, providing them free working space, legal, human resources and business-development services.

The incubator has an initial shelf life of three years, but organizers plan on reassessing and expanding the program after that time.

"We hope it's such a great success that we do it for a lot longer than that," said Sam Caligiuri, the company's vice president and deputy general counsel. "We will eventually reassess how we can add value to make the program better."

Caligiuri said developing the program comes at no cost to the company, other than the potential lost revenue of leasing the incubator space to other paying tenants.

The size of each startup will determine how many can occupy the incubator space, but he estimated it has the capacity for at least 30 workers.

Nassau Re began developing the program with the city of Hartford and quasi-public Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state's venture capital arm, over the last year as a commitment to growing the city's insurance sector.

In a statement, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin called the new incubator launch "a major step forward" in making the city a "global destination for insurtech innovation."

CI CEO Matthew McCooe said the new program will help lure companies to the state and forge stronger partnerships between the corporate sector and startups.

Nassau Re/Imagine is joining a growing network of incubator, accelerator and tech training programs spawning in Hartford and across the state.

In Hartford, some include Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator, reSET Social Enterprise Trust and other tech programs ongoing at incubator and co-working space Upward Hartford at 20 Church St.

A state-backed, bioscience accelerator based in Branford, known as The Accelerator for Bioscience in Connecticut, is also entering its second year.

The company could have joined one of the city's existing incubator programs, but said it wanted to maximize its unused space to produce a program that will further the city's fledging incubator and innovation efforts.

"We are encouraged by the level of interest the program has already generated," Caligiuri said. "We are optimistic we will be able to help a number of fledgling companies and the city. We believe in hartford and we want to continue to see it grow and prosper."

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