Swiss Startup in Talks with Allianz over Luxury Goods Blockchain Platform

Swiss startup TEND, which is led by former Credit Suisse banker Marco Abele, is negotiating with Allianz Group to secure backing for its blockchain platform.

Marco Abele, once the digital chief at Credit Suisse, told Bloomberg News he was negotiating with German insurance giant Allianz over a future collaboration on his new investment platform. Called TEND and built on blockchain technology, it will seek to insure traded assets, which are mostly luxury goods.

Working on a model similar to that of Uber and Airbnb, TEND will allow rich investors to share luxury assets such as paintings, race cars, or vineyards. Abele’s company will have UBS former IT chief Oliver Bussman as a strategic consultant.

Abele said that blockchain permits transparent and prompt processing of insurance payments. He said:

"We want all the assets traded to be insured and we want to work with Allianz on this. Our goal would be a ’pay-as-you-use’ solution - the insurer sees how often the luxury car leaves the garage, for example, and can use that information to set the premiums.”

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) confirmed the talks with TEND.

“At AGCS we are exploring the potential impact of blockchain to combine traditional corporate insurance solutions with innovative technology-backed services,” said Alan Cabello, innovation and blockchain manager at AGCS.

“Engaging with startups such as TEND allows us to develop new models of business and respond more quickly to our customer’s current and future needs.”

In November last year, AGCS successfully tested blockchain for a captive insurance program involving cross-border fund transfers.

TEND participants will be able to look for potential investments on the platform. They can put their own assets there, notifying the share they would like to sell and the maximum number of accepted co-owners.

When listing and holding assets, the company will deal with their assessment, administration, and maintenance by working with local partners like car dealerships.

TEND is slated for launch in Switzerland, where its first customers are already experimenting with the platform. By end-2018, everyone in Switzerland will have access to it. Clients will have to pay an annual fee of 500 Swiss francs ($530).

This month, Abele is selling company shares, hoping to raise up to 30 million Swiss francs.