Our guest in this 32nd interview episode with a unicorn start-up leader is the CEO and Co-founder of Coalition, Joshua Motta.
Coalition is the world’s first Active Insurance company, designed to prevent digital risk before it strikes. The company combines the power of technology and insurance to help organisations identify, mitigate and respond to digital risks.
Coalition was co-founded in 2017 by Joshua Motta and John Hering and has since raised over $700M from leading global technology investors. Coalition reached unicorn status in 2021 with a current valuation of $5 billion, trusted by over 104,000 customers worldwide.
Joshua started his cybersecurity journey in two of the world’s most prolific companies and organisations, Microsoft and the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Insurance, he jokes, is a very dangerous field and known for being ‘technologically adept’. But in some ways, this was the perfect preparation. Coalition is “what would happen if you combined a financial service – insurance – with a technology company and an intelligence community mindset.” His previous experiences, including positions at companies like Cloudflare and Goldman Sachs, helped him bring disciplines together to tackle a problem in a novel way.
Coalition has reached unicorn status thanks to its focus on its customers. Joshua states “we’re really partnering with them to improve their cybersecurity to mitigate the risks that they face before the event happens,” he also mentions that they are not “just paying out a claim” but rather, they are “on the ground helping them to recover.”
The commitment to client protection further extends to Coalition’s communication, where Joshua believes that effective communication comes from ‘putting yourself in the shoes of the customer’ and simplifying the message to make it as accessible to the customer as possible. Joshua also explores leadership and hiring at Coalition, with their recruitment process being that of a “stars attract stars” philosophy – hiring talented, ambitious people who want to work with other talented and ambitious people. The second stage of this approach is embracing a ‘tribal’ philosophy, which means getting these top performers and talented individuals to work together in harmony. Loyalty, a sense of shared purpose and an egalitarian ethos are embedded into Coalition’s tribal culture and have helped them succeed.
Being deliberate about culture is incredibly important, states Coalition’s CEO. At the end of the day, “culture is not what you write down, it is what you practice.”
The interview, as usual, was co-hosted with Russell Goldsmith of the csuite podcast. Alongside Holly Justice, Senior Partner at Tyto PR.
We have distilled the most valuable, actionable insights from our first 15 interviews with leaders of unicorn companies and bottled them in our book ‘Growing without borders: The unicorn CEO guide to communication and culture’. You can download it here.
Russ: [00:00:01] Thanks for downloading the 32nd in our series of episodes of the c-suite podcast that we’re recording in partnership with the European PR Agency Tyto and their own Without Borders podcast, where we are interviewing leaders of unicorn companies to find out about the key issues, pain points and challenges that start-ups face and how they can address them with a strategic approach to marketing and communications. My name is Russell Goldsmith and my co-host for this episode is Tytos senior partner Holly Justice. And today we are thrilled to be joined online from San Francisco by Joshua Motta, Co-founder and CEO of leading provider of cyber insurance and security, Coalition. Founded in 2017, the company reached unicorn status in March 2021 and now has a valuation of $5 billion. Welcome to the show, Joshua. Can we start by you giving us a bit of background to your company, but also the area of business that you are seeking to disrupt?
Joshua: [00:00:53] Of course, yeah. Let me start by saying it’s great to be here. So, thank you for having me on. As for Coalition, you captured it. We’re one of the largest providers of cyber insurance globally, given our scale. Of course, we’re not just any ordinary insurance provider. We’ve really pioneered something new that we call active insurance. And so not only do we pay a claim should one happen after some sort of disruption in a business, we’re actively protecting our customers. We’re really partnering with them to improve their cybersecurity to mitigate the risks that they face before the event happens. And then should something happen. It’s not just paying out a claim. We are on the ground helping them recover. We’re performing the instant response work. We’re performing the forensic work. For all intents and purposes, we are the emergency services, the police and the fire department all rolled into one. As you can imagine, calling the police or the fire department aren’t terribly helpful when there’s a fire inside your network. So that’s really where we’ve gained prominence. It’s in that field. It’s helping businesses of all sizes manage cyber risk and importantly, providing that insurance to them should something come to pass.
Holly: [00:02:06] Joshua, can you tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey? How did working at Microsoft as a teenager and then the CIA prepare you for a career in cyber insurance?
Joshua: [00:02:18] Insurance is a very dangerous field and known for being very technologically adept. Of course, I jest! But in many respects, it was the perfect preparation. Sometimes I describe Coalition is what would happen if you combined a financial service of course in this case insurance with a technology company and an intelligence community mindset when it comes to data collection and analysis. Interestingly enough, that really is my background. Microsoft, later Cloudflare, now a large publicly traded company in the technology sector, time at Goldman Sachs in the financial services and of course at CIA and the intelligence world, and really bringing all of these disciplines together to tackle a problem in a novel way. For most businesses, when they think of cybersecurity, it’s really a technology problem. Go out and buy antivirus or do X, Y or Z, and all of a sudden, the problem is solved. You’re secure. I think the epiphany for me and certainly for Coalition is that actually this is really a risk management problem. No amount of technology can make this go away. Technology can certainly be good at mitigating risk, like reducing it, but it can never eliminate it. And so as an organization or even as an individual, when it comes to taking risks, you kind of have three options. You can accept the risk; you can mitigate it or you can transfer it. And so that’s kind of a fancy way of saying, while technology can mitigate the risk, it doesn’t eliminate it. The only way to eliminate a risk is to eliminate the cost of it, which you can get by transferring it to a third party like an insurance company. And of course, the math is very simple. Whatever you haven’t transferred or mitigated, you have accepted. And of course, many businesses today have accepted quite a bit of cyber risk without knowing it, either because they haven’t invested in the right mitigation, or they don’t have insurance. So, as I mentioned, a long way from CIA or Microsoft. But I think these are sort of formative experiences that have really allowed me and the company to really approach this really societal problem in a novel way.
Russ: [00:04:24] Just talking about those risks there, is part of the issue as well that as businesses grow there’s obviously increased risk, but also every day there’s new cyber risks appearing. It’s never ending, is it?
Joshua: [00:04:37] The way I think about it is if you use a computer or an Internet connection in your business, you have cyber risk. And so, it’s difficult today to think of a single for-profit enterprise, much less not for profit or even place of worship that isn’t reliant on a functioning computer or Internet connection. And of course, there are all sorts of risks to these businesses. There’s, of course, a flourishing criminal marketplace, if you will, of defrauding businesses. That’s really what we are poised to help businesses address. You don’t have to be a tech company. You could be a not-for-profit, you could be a church. And all organizations are facing very similar cyber risks.
Russ: [00:05:18] Let’s talk about Coalition a little bit then. I mentioned in my intro your valuation is now at $5 billion. That’s come off the back of your latest funding round, which was last July. So if I’ve got all these numbers right, you raised a further $250 million in your series F round. So that’s followed a combined $380 million raise in 2021. What we’re keen to understand really is, with all that cash coming into the business, where’s that going to be invested? And also, what’s the focus, let’s say, for the next 12 months now?
Joshua: [00:05:49] It is hard to keep track of all of the numbers. You said the $380 million in 2021, just over three-quarters of a billion dollars since the company was founded. And really, it’s been invested to grow. Of course, we’ve gone from no customers and no revenue, as all start-ups humbly do at the beginning to today, over $1,000,000,000 run rate, over 100,000 customers, etc. We maintain a very large balance sheet because we are taking and sharing in some of the risks that we take. So, all of these things are very important to be able to support our growth, which from our perspective is somewhat limitless. You know, by my way of thinking that I just mentioned, every organization should purchase cyber insurance. And if we take just the markets that we’re currently present in the United States, Canada, in the United Kingdom, there are tens of millions of businesses, and yet we only have 100,000 customers. So, there’s a lot of growth to be had. Of course, we see an international opportunity. So, we’ve been investing significantly against that. We hope to launch in Australia in the not-too-distant future. And of course, there’s plenty of plans to move across the pond as well into continental Europe. So very large opportunity. A lot of the capital is just invest, invest, invest, which ultimately comes down to just hiring a great team of people.
Russ: [00:07:15] And of those customers. Do you have a breakdown in terms of the size of business that you work with? I’m guessing from the way you’re describing it; no business is too small to have cyber insurance
Joshua: [00:07:29] No business is too small, yeh.
Russ: [00:07:31] But in terms of who you’re working with, is there a typical kind of customer to you guys?
Joshua: [00:07:36] We focus on businesses that are start-ups, you know, mom-and-pop businesses, even sole proprietors, all the way up to publicly listed multibillion-dollar corporations. So, we have customers that include professional sports teams that many people would recognize, all the way down to. I think we have over 300 bouncy castle operators, believe it or not and everything in between. So, it’s every industry class. It’s hospitals, it’s law firms, it’s restaurants, it’s places of worship, as I mentioned, temples, synagogues, churches, not for profits. We have the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of our customers. So, there’s just quite a few folks that we’re working with across the spectrum. In terms of just the concentration, as you might expect it mirrors sort of the distribution of businesses and the economy. So, the vast majority of our customers by number are, of course, small businesses because they’re just simply many smaller businesses than there are larger ones. So, I think something like about 85% of our customers have less than $25 million in revenue, 75% have less than $10 million in revenue and about 35% have less than $1,000,000 in revenue. So, it really is the entire gamut.
Holly: [00:08:51] And you mentioned a minute or two ago, Joshua, about the importance of hiring a great team. So, it would be interesting just to come on to the topic of leadership for a minute. I imagine leading a successful $5 billion valued company requires exceptional skills and an exceptional team, as you’ve already mentioned. So, what would you say are your greatest strengths of being a leader and what are the main strengths that you’ve got of the Coalition management team around you?
Joshua: [00:09:19] Of course, the team, the people who are single greatest asset as a company is, of course, our people. And of course, the data, the technology we build, etc., which is like all businesses, we’re becoming truly a digital business. The most significant assets we have are really intangible ones. And so, when it comes to people, I try to have sort of simple philosophies like around hiring. And one is, look, stars attract stars like, talented people, motivated people, ambitious people, people of high integrity. Think of all the qualities of the folks that you would want to hire. They want to work with other people who share those same strengths. Talented people want to work with other very talented people. And so, the simple thing for me is like, well, let’s get some, and then we can build on top of that. And so that whole ‘stars attract stars’ philosophy has been really core to how we’ve built the team. For the most part, the people who do come work here come here because they want to work with the other people they know are already at the company. But of course, attracting top performers is one thing, but getting them to work together collaboratively in harmony is another. And that’s kind of really where the second philosophy has come in in terms of leadership and company building and that’s really to be tribal. I’ve always thought of start-ups as tribes, at least the successful ones anyway, and who are really only oriented to hire people that want to be part of our tribe. And so, I think various other companies and successful leaders have described this in different ways, whether it’s hiring for mission orientation or maybe famously at Amazon, it was angels versus mercenaries. But whatever you call it, it’s really been the philosophy behind our hiring process, how we structure offers, how we think about building a team.
Holly: [00:11:04] One of the things that we like to focus on in these discussions in this Unicorn Leader series is communication and culture. So, I guess one of the first questions we wanted to ask is how has become has becoming a unicorn company changed the perception of Coalition?
Joshua: [00:11:19] Yeah, it’s really a great question. I mean, undoubtedly it has. I think certainly from a candidate perspective, there’s a perception that there’s less risk. Of course, in working, we started as a start-up and there’s always risk in one’s career and livelihood in doing so, because just statistically there’s very few that survive, much less that go on to become unicorns, if you will. And so, once you hit that status, I think you sort of have that escape velocity that many people are looking for when they consider investing their most valuable asset, which is, of course, their time and working with you. Of course, there’s the prestige that comes along with it and really the environment to learn, because it tends to be that the companies that achieve unicorn status have typically done a lot of things really, really, really well. And so, they tend to be great areas or great places to just learn, learn best practices how to do things and there’s a lot of entrepreneurial people who get their start in start-ups and then of course go on to start many other businesses, PayPal and the PayPal Mafia, of course, a famous example of that. I think it’s certainly made hiring easier. Of course, it comes with the cachet with customers and other stakeholders and partners, but there can also be negative, I think, consequences of it. I’ve always believed that in the David versus Goliath story. It’s always good to be David. You always want to be an underdog. And certainly, the unicorn moniker makes it more difficult. But certainly, as a company, culturally and how we operate, we do believe we’re underdogs. And despite the fact that we’re a successful unicorn business, there are many multinational insurance companies that are considerably larger than we are, and we still believe we are very much the David fighting against the Goliath, trying to create a better outcome for our customers and in society. So being a unicorn can occasionally get to your head if you take it too seriously. But, for us we’re unapologetically happy that we’re successful. But at the end of the day, one of my business heroes, Walt Disney, said, we’re not looking to make movies to make money. We’re looking to make money to make great movies. So, the more successful we are, the more we can invest really behind our mission, which is to protect the unprotected and help these organizations embrace this digital future.
Russ: [00:13:46] Just building on that one of the challenges that a lot of companies like yours has, is it’s quite difficult to stand out. You mentioned how many others are in your space. What’s been at the heart of your strategy in terms of differentiating yourself?
Joshua: [00:14:01] At the end of the day, it’s all about solving a problem and doing it better and more efficiently and with less friction than anyone else. I think the problem we identified is that every business is becoming a digital business, whether they want it or not. We’re all being dragged kicking and screaming into the future. And so, it’s like, how do we offer just a better and a novel solution that solves this issue? And especially for a topic as complicated as cyber risk. Most businesses, I would imagine, are thinking more about the economy and how to make payroll next week than they are about how to protect their networks and all their digital assets. Many may not even realize how dependent they are on all the computer systems and information technology working around them. So, if we can just make that remarkably easy, if we can make it affordable and truly deliver value, then we’ll grow. That’s been a simple strategy. It’s that customer obsession. And then behind it, as I mentioned, it’s getting the right people together that can help us solve this problem and help build something new.
Holly: [00:15:02] You mentioned it a little bit earlier on, Joshua, about the philosophies inside Coalition. I’d love to hear how you would describe the culture at the company and particularly some of the things that you’ve done to nurture that culture and build it.
Joshua: [00:15:15] It’s funny, this is not my first start-up. I’ve been in others and occasionally you, of course, learn the wonderful things to do, and in other cases you learn what to never do again. And certainly, I’ve realized the importance of culture and being deliberate about what you want to build from the start because otherwise it just takes a path of its own and it becomes very difficult to control. And so, the first document ever written in Coalition history was actually our culture document where, it wasn’t so much espousing, like what is the philosophy of Coalition as a company? It was more defining what are the values we want people on the team to hold? Things like humility, things like purpose, authenticity. And so, there was a list of things that were very important. And we described in detail why we thought they were important and why we wanted to build the team around them. So just being deliberate about what the culture is, is incredibly important. Of course, at the end of the day, culture is not what you write down. It is what you practice. And so, what’s had to accompany that are different rituals and things within the company where we continuously reassert that culture or recognize those cultural attributes. So, for example, we had one that was around sort of sweeping the floors that no one was too big to do the job to be done. And so, every single week since the company was founded all the way to today with hundreds and hundreds of employees, every week, we have a golden dustpan with a Coalition embossed logo, which it was not gold when it started off. It was a simple rubber made dustpan that the individual who receives it gets to recognize someone who’s held one of our cultural values. So those are all really built in. And then in terms of culture, as I mentioned, it’s really this how do we create this tribal culture? I’ve always believed that as humans, we have this strong instinct to belong to small groups which are defined by a clear purpose and a sense of understanding. And tribe members would live in close quarters. They’d support one another. They’d hold each other accountable. Status was respected, based on the value that people brought as opposed to a title or a name of someone. And tribalism can breed really intense loyalty, a sense of shared purpose and really an egalitarian ethos. And simply put, when people belong to a tribe, their lives have more meaning. And when that tribe is a start-up, they will really move mountains for the company. And I think whether it’s us or any other unicorn, you just simply can’t accomplish as much as we have in five years if we weren’t a really high-functioning tribe. But of course, tribalism should not be confused with politics. Politics has had really no room at Coalition, but I think tribalism has run rampant as a result of kind of that culture that we built.
Holly: [00:18:05] I love the idea of trying to get the golden dustpan. That’s brilliant. And you’ve already talked about the fact that any company or organization could be a Coalition customer. So, thinking about communicating the complex areas around cyber insurance to all those different types of businesses, it must be quite a tricky thing to try and do. How do you go about approaching and educating people from huge organizations to the medium to those small mom-and-pop businesses, as you say, about cyber insurance and what coalition does?
Joshua: [00:18:43] Yeah, by far it’s the single greatest challenge we have is that that educational challenge. Helping organizations understand what cyber risk is, that they have it, how to address it, how to manage it. It’s a complex topic. As I mentioned, most business owners are not going to be experts in information technology, much less cybersecurity or whatnot. And, of course, we have decades of people thinking of it as a technology problem, which itself is difficult because many businesses and organizations believe that if I just do these things, whether it’s antivirus or whatnot, then I’m secure. You know, security is I think in many respects it’s an illusion. It’s almost theatre to some degree. And so, overcoming the belief that you can be secure just by doing these things is a real challenge. Risk isn’t this linear line that goes to zero and you have no risk whatsoever. Like nothing bad can happen. It looks a lot more like a diminishing returns curve where certainly doing all the things that are conventional wisdom today, like using antivirus or using multifactor authentication and strong passwords and password managers and all this, those are all things that help you climb down the curve. But you could have an infinite security budget and have all the people in the world trying to protect your network and things can still fail. That’s where it goes back to re-educating people that this is this risk management process. And if that’s not hard enough now, we have to tell them about insurance, which has made many people’s eyes glaze over, I’m sure, over time and help them understand what it covers and that it will cover things because at some level they’re purchasing a promise that in the future that they’ll get value out of this policy should something happen. So that’s something that we’ve had to overcome, and we’ve had to really embed education into every facet of our business. So, any time someone gets a quote from us, it comes with a free cyber risk assessment for that organization where in plain English, in dollars and cents, we can use all of our claims data and we can help them understand what the risk is to their organization, what the likelihood is that an organization that looks like them will experience a loss and how much it would cost them. And oftentimes that’s eye-opening. For a small business, an unforeseen $100,000 cost can be the difference between making payroll or not. But even with the large organizations where you have highly sophisticated views and capabilities, there’s also a challenge because oftentimes cybersecurity is owned by someone in the technology organization, whereas insurance is owned by the finance team, and very often those worlds do not collide. And so, it really helping CISOs and technical folks understand how insurance can play a role in their information security strategies is something that we also spend a lot of time. So, education, communication is paramount. We do a lot of that.
Russ: [00:21:50] And just switching from external comms to internal. How much of your role is involved in the internal communications and also as a business, is there anything that’s worked really well for you guys?
Joshua: [00:22:03] I almost consider it my primary role. At this point, I’m just one person and an increasingly irrelevant one in terms of actually getting things done. So, I see my main job is really communicating and making sure people understand what our mission is, what our purpose is, what the problems are. A lot of companies don’t want to talk about their problems. It’s uncomfortable. And so, I very much see my job as to do almost exclusively that. And, sure, we have to pat ourselves in the back every so often. We’ve made great accomplishments as a team. But we have to stay focused on asking the question, how can we do this better? And that is the question I ask more than any other from a day-to-day basis. It’s what I encourage everyone to do in terms of what’s worked, there’s a couple of things. I see communication as a continuous activity that happens over time that can be built upon. And so, to this day, I do an orientation for every single person that walks through the doors of Coalition. So, I have an opportunity to really set the tone. Why we found the company, why we’re all spending our lives and our time doing this and why it’s important and why we believe it’s important. The culture, like why we made the decisions that we made and what we value. It’s really an opportunity to level set with everyone. And I’ve done it all the way up to this day. And we’ll continue doing it for so long as I am physically capable. So that’s been one, I think the other. We have a greater ability to do this as a private company. It’s being radically transparent with our employees and trusting them. It used to be that the way a company was built was very hierarchical. The folks at the bottom of the hierarchy, you didn’t want them to think because if you have a 30,000-person organization and everyone is off doing their own thing, that’s chaotic. But I think the Internet, 24/7 news cycles, competitive forces, they’ve changed this. Companies have to be much more agile than they were before, and they have to be flat. And so our strategy has been to build a very flat organizational structure where information gets pushed to the absolute edge so that people can make decisions. One of the first things I tell people during those orientation sessions is that you are being paid to think, we want you to think, we want you to ask the question again, how can you do it? How can we do this better? And we empower them with the data, the visibility, all the way down to financial data or otherwise that can help them measure that. We’ve also had a tradition of after every board meeting, walking the entire company through the board deck, unredacted, with the exception of something that was in a closed session to where they can see the business exactly as we’re presenting it with the board, they have the opportunity to understand sort of how our board is thinking about the business, the questions they’re asking, the concerns they have so that we can hit them head on. Because at the end of the day, if people don’t know what needs to be solved, they won’t solve it. So internal comms, has been incredibly important and for both external and internal. I’ve always loved that expression of tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them again. And I think that’s been attributed to everyone from Aristotle to Dale Carnegie. But whomever said it, I’m very much a fan of.
Russ: [00:25:16] And just on that orientation, how many people are you at now in the team?
Joshua: [00:25:21] I think we’re around 700.
Russ: [00:25:23] And in how many offices, and do you have remote workers as well?
Joshua: [00:25:28] Yes. The company has been sort of remote first from the beginning. Which doesn’t mean that everyone is remote. It just means that the working experience at Coalition has to be amazing if you’re working from home, because that’s sort of the lowest common denominator. And so, we have offices in San Francisco, Denver, Provo, Utah, London, New York. But we have folks in, I think every single state in the US, in every single province and territory in Canada, and six or seven other countries at this point in time, ranging from Japan to Switzerland. So, it’s definitely a global workforce at this point, kind of working from all corners of the planet.
Russ: [00:26:07] I was just intrigued to understand how that orientation works then, in terms of how many people you are bringing on each month and how often do you do these sessions with everyone, and I guess what you’re doing them remotely, I assume them.
Joshua: [00:26:21] They’re absolutely done remotely. Zoom and other platforms have been a godsend to us, as I’m sure they have been to so many others over the past few years. And so, we’ve been able to use those virtual forums to host these on typically it’s every two weeks to every month, just depending on scheduling. And I’m just one. So, we have a full-blown orientation session that goes through a lot of the leaders in the company where we actually expect them to invest the time and actually help train the folks coming in. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the CEO or the Chief Revenue Officer or what not, like people are very much involved in education at the company.
Holly: [00:27:01] And you talked about the fact that communications is one of the key parts of your role at the moment.
Joshua: [00:27:07] Right
Holly: [00:27:07] Would you consider yourself as a natural communicator? Is it something you’ve had to work on over time?
Joshua: [00:27:13] I don’t know that I would have considered myself necessarily a natural communicator. There’s been a lot of work that’s gone into it, and we all have our styles. I think certainly my preferred form of communication is written, although I’ve certainly, as I’ve become the public face of the company both internally and externally, it’s required myself to overcome a lot of public speaking whatever, even fears or unease or what not. And having done it now for four or five years, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it to some degree. But definitely, I wouldn’t say was a natural thing, but it can be developed. So that’s certainly, I think, the lesson I’ve learned and it’s a big part too of what we train our employees on.
Holly: [00:27:55] And what would you say been the biggest communications challenge that you’ve faced in your career and journey, and how did you overcome it?
Joshua: [00:28:03] Yeah, it’s like at some level I feel like almost all problems in humanity are communications problems. So, it’s almost like where to start. I could go back and mention just that, that education piece in terms of how to address cyber risk and what it is. It’s still a challenge for us. If I just looked at how many businesses purchase cyber insurance today, I would say even in just the developed markets we’re in, maybe it’s 30% or 40%. And even those who do purchase it, they probably don’t purchase enough. And just the educational gap there is massive, particularly when we believe that everyone should have this, given the risks that they face. At some level, cyber risk is one of the greatest risks facing our society and the greatest risk facing a business because they’re accepting it all and they don’t realize it in that equation. So that’s a big one. But even in just the day-to-day, we have quite a few communications challenges. Like, as you might imagine, our interactions with our customers, tend to be after something very bad has happened to them that they oftentimes are not entirely prepared for, certainly more prepared than someone who did not have a policy with us. It can be a tense time. And so that’s a real opportunity for us to create a lasting connection with our policyholder where we can really hold their hand through something that could be a company ending event. I’m proud to say that to my knowledge, there’s not a single organization that has gone out of business that has experienced a claim with us. In many cases we were able to help them recover very, very quickly, given the capabilities that we bring to bear. But with that said, there are a lot of people at Coalition have to be phenomenal communicators because those can be very stressful moments to have interactions with your customers.
Russ: [00:29:48] I can imagine. Joshua, we’re recording this interview at the start of 2023. It’s a time when there’s plenty of uncertainty at the moment in the economy. Before we finish, I thought it would be good just to get your assessment of last year of 2022, but also what your outlook is for the year ahead.
Joshua: [00:30:05] As we enter into 2023, I think we see and feel the economic uncertainty that many organizations, large and small, see. I think at this point, cyber insurance more or less is a compulsory purchase, like many companies just have to buy it, given how big the risk is. But of course, the smaller the organization gets, the more tempting it is to obviously make compromises. I think that’s something that’s weighing on us is how do we continue to make the product more and more accessible to people. I think one of the greatest risks to the industry is just that the product just becomes too expensive to purchase. That’s why a big part of our investment is actually in improving the defences of our customers. That way we can make insurance a much more affordable purchase. But with that said, while there’s uncertainty in the economy, it means more opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of businesses. We saw that during the pandemic, like these certain changes that happen, are just fodder for criminals to use and drive as wedges, as businesses are changing their operations or doing things like criminals are very smart and will piggyback on them. I also think that cybersecurity, cyber risks are only going to continue to grow. By many accounts, if you think about it from the criminal’s perspective, cybercrime is actually more lucrative than even international drug trafficking. It is a higher return on investment for the resources that you put into it. And so, it’s unsurprising that cybercrime is exploding, and particularly with things like ransomware where the breach of a company can now turn into $1,000,000 pay out or tens of million dollars pay out, we’re only going to see the problem worsen. So, these are we continue to see the growth of that. Of course, businesses, we expect businesses in 2023 to continue to adopt technology of course because they have to, they need to stay competitive. They want to be more productive, especially in an uncertain economy. These are also things that can potentially increase risk. But certainly, the outlook for our business, I sort of view Coalition as I guess how one of my investors would describe it as a pro entropic business, meaning that we just sort of thrive in chaos. It can be chaos in a positive way. It can be chaos in a negative way. It’s just the more volatility there is, the more uncertainty there is at some level, that’s something that we can benefit off of with, of course, very much a caveat of if we get it right because as an insurance company, we’re in the unique position where at the time we sell our product, we don’t actually know what our cost of goods is. We don’t know what it will cost us. We only learn that in the future when claims come in. And of course, I tell people the only crystal ball I’ve ever opened or owned arrived, broken. We do our best to try and think about what the future looks like and anticipate that. I think overall outlook for us is very positive, including through a difficult economic environment. And we’re as focused as ever on helping our customers navigate that, whether it’s removing the operational burden, or reducing unforeseen costs, which certainly they don’t need during this time period.
Russ: [00:33:14] That’s great. We’ve got one final question for you. We’ve asked all our unicorn leaders this who have appeared on the series. And obviously, a key part of what we’ve been talking about is communications. So, if you could go back in time and speak to your old self, what guidance would you give to yourself about communications?
Joshua: [00:33:33] Oh, that’s a great question. I think in my case, it would be put yourself in the person’s shoes that you’re wanting to communicate to. It’s very tempting, particularly when you’re a subject matter expert in an area like insurance or cybersecurity to just go out with all the nerd speak, so to speak. You’ve got to cut that out. You have to simplify your message. You have to understand who you’re communicating to put themselves in their shoes and really find a way to make a topic accessible to them. That’s something that I’ve not always done well over the course of my career. So, I suppose if I could go back in time, it would be to shake myself and tell myself to put myself in the shoes of the other person that I was communicating to.
Russ: [00:34:21] Great answer. Joshua Motta, thank you so much for joining us. Really enjoyed it.
Joshua: [00:34:25] Yeah. Lovely to be here. Thank you so much.
Russ: [00:34:27] Holly thoughts on what Joshua had to say today.
Holly: [00:34:30] It was a fascinating chat, wasn’t it? I think the thing that really struck me is Coalition as a business have got such an interesting communications opportunity and challenge on their hands in terms of trying to communicate cyber insurance, which is, as Joshua said, dry complex often not on the top of someone’s radar to such a plethora of different audiences. I thought it was just great to hear how they’ve approached that as a company. Clearly have been very successful with it, haven’t they?
Russ: [00:35:02] Yeah. Well, that was a great episode to kick 2023 off, so that is actually it for this episode with Tyto. If you want to find out more about Coalition, then their website is simply coalitioninc.com. We’d love to hear your comments on today’s chat. You can do that by sharing them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter feeds, or you can do it in the comments of the YouTube version of this podcast. Those are all linked from the top of our website at csuitepodcast.com, where you’ll also find all the previous shows and supporting show notes plus links to where you can follow us for automatic downloads of each episode via the likes of Spotify and Apple. And if you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please do give us a positive rating and review. We’re of course available on all podcast apps. Just search for the c-suite podcast and hit, follow, or subscribe. And don’t forget, you can also subscribe to the Without Borders podcast from our partners at Tyto. All the details for that are on their website. So just head to Tytopr.com and click on the podcast link in the top nav bar. You can also download a copy of ‘Growing Without Borders, the Unicorn CEO Guide to Communications and Culture’ from the Tyto website. That is an overview of the first 15 of our unicorn interviews. If you are a unicorn leader yourself and you’d like to be part of the series, please do get in touch via the contact form on the website at csuitepodcast.com. Plus, of course, anyone can get in touch with any feedback you may have. And finally, you can also reach me via Twitter using @RussGoldsmith. Or you can find me on LinkedIn. But for now, thanks for listening and goodbye.
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