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Mutual builder secures NSW start-up grant

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Sydney-based insurtech Picnic Labs says $25,000 it received from the NSW Government will support the growth of its first customer-owned offering, Our Ark Mutual.

The funding comes from the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) grant program, which is designed for pre-revenue technology start-ups to help them engage with a potential business customer, or channel to market, to achieve market validation and first sale.

MVP grants are available for the development of scalable technology solutions, the NSW Government website says.

“It’s fantastic to have the NSW Government support Picnic and Our Ark,” Picnic Labs CEO Charles Pollack said. “We want community-focused organisations to find the right protection at a fair price.

“Organisations should not just accept a price increase of their insurance when there is an alternative.”

Picnic Labs, a mutual designer that creates and supports digital self-insurance pools, launched Our Ark Mutual in December last year.

The offering provides risk protection products as an alternative to traditional insurance for organisations connecting communities. Customers include Indigenous businesses, land councils, community groups, childcare providers, churches, and faith-based organisations.

Mr Pollack says Our Ark Mutual “continues to go from strength to strength” since its launch.

“We now have defined products for specific segments like childcare, churches, disability and aged care providers and schools,” Mr Pollack told today. “Plus, our broad, general product remains suitable for a wide range of organisations including land councils, Indigenous businesses, and community groups.”

NSW’s Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO David Kernick says the organisation has achieved savings through using Our Ark Mutual.

“Normally we expect annual price increases for insurance,” Mr Kernick said. “Yet, we have saved more than 20% compared to 2020 with Our Ark.

“Plus, we have broader protection, which gives us peace of mind.”

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres says MVP grants are open to start-ups with a technology focus which have scalable business models.

“It’s great to see businesses like Picnic Labs leverage the program to develop new opportunities like Our Ark, which will introduce more choice and in this case, help to deliver a saving to its customers,” Mr Ayres said.