I am inspired by our vision and the fact that everything at Coya is driven by that vision.
Karim is a bridge builder. In many ways. He built the first one, a really long one, between Cairo and Berlin. Originally from Egypt, Karim lived in London for a few years, before eventually moving to Berlin. To be exact: he moved here twice. After the first time, he returned to his home country, where he founded his own start-up – Berlin’s spirit of optimism and revolution still running through his veins.
This is Karim!
In his words, Karim was tired of London’s corporate culture – he wanted to do his own thing and leave the dog-eat-dog society of corporate business behind him. So, once more, he packed his freshly gained experience in a suitcase, unpacked in Cairo and mixed it with the culture of his young Egyptian peers. There he realized that many people were eager to find smart ways to save money but were downright afraid of the world of investments. Too complex, too opaque, too big. Therefore Karim built a second bridge, to enable people of his age to easily take their first steps towards financial independence. Because he himself had enough of it – enough of intransparency, enough of inflexibility, enough of industry jargon.
Though in Cairo, he couldn’t quite forget Berlin. He missed the spirit of new beginnings that spreads around Germany’s Capital, which today is home to expats from all over the world. Once more he packed a suitcase, stuffed with an even broader skill set, and found himself an apartment in Berlin. There he not only found a new home, but also Andrew, Coya’s founder and father of a vision who today unites more than 80 people from numerous nations, within a single office in Kreuzberg. It did not take Andrew long to convince Karim to take part in his journey into an unknown and exciting future. By the way, Karim also brought Joey along with him, a Beagle and Coya’s first office dog in tow, who has been followed by another eight dogs to this day. We call him “Chief Wooficer” because he behaves like he owns the place, but that’s something he needs to settle with Andrew in private.
Anyhow, at Coya, Karim can do exactly what he is good at: simplifying and visualizing complicated matters. “What should I say? I’m totally into it,” he reveals in our conversation before turning a little red. It’s like this professional passion is something he doesn’t like to admit. Typically Karim – humble to his core. Without a doubt, he has his finger on the pulse of the needs of the Millennial generation. Complex matters become simpler, difficult choices become easy, boring tasks become exciting. This starts with Car-Sharing and certainly doesn’t end with insurance companies.
What can I say? I’m just into simplifying and visualizing complicated things.
Now we come to the third bridge: With his experience from London’s financial world, Cairo’s company culture and the Berlin start-up spirit, Karim brings light into the darkness of the traditional insurance world, to simplify everything that is typically difficult for the customer. After starting out as a Business Developer, he spent some time in charge of Product Development, which basically ensures that products are planned, programmed and ultimately visible to our customers. Today, Karim is responsible for Strategy & Analytics, combining our vision with realistic feasibility.
It brings together people with very different skills and CVs who have decided together to turn a very traditional industry upside down. That’s what I’m here for.
Huh? What does that actually mean?: Through analysis and strategy, Karim focuses on making our overriding goals achievable at every step along the way, bringing together the long-term goal - the vision - with the now - the implementation. This applies to every area: from product development, to creative orientation, to corporate culture. Karim sums up his thoughts: “I always try to improve my skills and enjoy working with people who think differently from me. This is the only way to develop an effective culture that, like a technical strategy, is a guideline for our daily work”. As one of the first employees to join Coya three years ago, Karim experienced what it means when a vision grows wings. This may sound kitschy at first glance, but it’s an emotion that we all understand and have partly felt ourselves: Two years later, when an idea that was eventually captured on a whiteboard finally became a product that makes life easier for people - that’s simply … Wow! Or as we say here: Coyeah!
A strong corporate culture makes it possible to react quickly to change and, above all, to know how to react. As a young and modern company, we want to be able to keep up with the volatility of life and assure our policyholders that we have their backs - we are flexible and professional. “Companies like Coya also need people from the insurance industry”, Karim adds. “People who know all the structures and sometimes pull the brakes when we lean too far out of the window. It is important that we maintain a balance between people from outside the industry and insurance experts. If we were all experts, we would probably end up going round in circles overlooking the things that don’t work in insurance for millennials.”
In my job at Coya, I see it as an advantage that I have no insurance background. So I approach each new product and all related challenges like people who integrate our products into their lives. I ask myself the same questions, I see the same gaps, but in the end I think the same things are great.
And here’s the point: We, the Coya team, want to rethink exactly these things - not reinvent them, but adapt them to our new times. With the digitization of the entire process and the possibility to buy products directly and without a broker in just a few clicks, we have set the basis for our entire business. From here it will continue to grow, with Karim, with Karim’s bridge-building art and - above all - with Joey.