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Anish Sinha’s upcover: one of Australia’s fastest growing tech start-ups

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For the average migrant to Australia, even one with a successful business background, a logical first step might be joining a local company to learn the ropes of a new business ecosystem. But as Anish Sinha admits, he’s never been one to pause or hesitate.

Instead, he decided to take a chance on himself, and co-founded a start-up within a year of moving to Australia in 2019.

Today, insurance tech start-up upcover is Australia’s fastest insurance for small business owners, and recently announced a successful $4.7 million raise with the support of early-stage venture capital firms Antler Australia and Betterlabs.

“We’re growing 30 per cent month-on-month and have smashed the 1 million sales number,” he tells Indian Link with a grin.

It seems his entrepreneurial gut instincts were right, if recent figures are anything to go by, as the insurtech space remains an emerging market in Australia. Compared to global investments of around $15.8 billion, around $200 million went into Australian insurtech last year – and a fraction of this into the SMB commercial insurance sector.

upcover co-founders Anish Sinha and Skye Theodorou. Source: supplied

With backing from industry heavyweights, upcover’s mission is to simplify and democratise this heavily regulated yet stagnant industry. Their quick, jargon-free insurance is intended to be affordable and accessible and is specifically tailored for Australian small business.

Following major hacks on Optus and Medibank in the last few months, they also recently announced the launch of Cyber & Privacy Liability Insurance to protect small businesses from cybercrime, which has been well-received.

Amid all this success, Anish is quick to credit the talent and experience of his co-founder and upcover CEO Skye Theodorou.

“We met as entrepreneurs-in-residence at early stage VC Antler in Sydney. Skye had immense knowledge about the Australian insurance space while I came to the table with experience in building and scaling a business. In India, I was part of the leadership team of Nearbuy, that expanded into eight Indian cities and grew to 10 million users, and led product development, analytics, and operations to onboard more than 80,000 partners,” he elaborates.

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Source: supplied

An alum of one of India’s most prestigious engineering schools BITS Pilani and India’s oldest business school XLRI Jamshedpur, Anish’s resume also includes three years in the equities division of Goldman Sachs.

He still recalls an interesting interaction with friend and mentor Ankur Warikoo on the beauty of his ‘blank slate’ in moving to Australia.

“One thing that stood out from that conversation was being reminded we focus too much on how other people perceive us. Moving to Sydney, I could be anything I wanted to be, beyond labels of an engineer or a businessman. He reminded me that’s my superpower,” Anish grinned.

In fact, he’s found the Australian tech ecosystem has only welcomed these superpowers, and upcover’s own team boasts of diverse talent across countries like Iran, Nigeria, Italy, and India, which he views as “an immense tech talent pool.”

For Anish, whose family hails from Delhi, the ties to India have remained close over the years.

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anchal goel and anish sinha
With wife Anchal Goel. Source: LinkedIn

During the brutal COVID wave in 2021, he launched Medical Oxygen for All (MOFA) with his wife Anchal Goel to fly out oxygen cylinders to India.

“We were a volunteer group of 25 people across India, Australia, and the UK, and we were able to raise $2 million through friends and networks,” he recalled.

“It was an incredible effort! We delivered Oxygen Concentrators and BiPaP ventilators to around 80 districts in India, including many parts of the northeast that were facing logistical issues in getting supplies. This was only possible because of generous donors who backed us.”

Recently announced as a finalist in the 2022 Young Entrepreneur Awards along with Skye, Anish remains a firm believer that “where everything is uncertain, anything’s possible.”

“As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be open to all possibilities. I’m not saying not to be prepared, but to embrace the fact that there is also a massive amount of luck in this process. Just look at the way I was able to meet Skye, and how we were able to put our talents together to create something like upcover,” he smiled.

Quick bytes

Who are some of your role models or inspirations? As a massive fan of history, I’m quite inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, and in more recent times, by the leadership and communication style of Barack Obama. In the field of business, I look up to figures like J. R. D Tata and Steve Jobs.

Currently reading? Return of a King by William Dalrymple

Currently listening to? The History of Persia podcast by Trevor Culley

Any advice for young Asian Australians making their way in the corporate world? There’s no quick recipe for success but it’s important to always put yourself out there. I find there’s a lot of value in seeking out people who are dissimilar to you because there’s a lot of perspective to be gained from different, even uncomfortable, conversations.

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Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer and editor based in Sydney. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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