December 13, 2006
If you happen to be in the Cleveland area this week (December 14-17 2006) and want to meet some of the Embrace gang, come join us at the Cleveland Crown Classic Dog Show at the IX Center out near the airport where we will have a booth.
The IX Center will host thousands of breeders and dogs all vying for the coveted Best in Show prizes for the various breeds. It's a great way to see pretty well all the purebred dog types in one spot. Be careful though - you might just come away with a puppy or two!
Look out for our booth close to the entrance. We'll be giving out Wysong dog biscuits to everyone who stops by and maybe even have some decent coffee for those of you arriving early.
We'll also be showing off our new online quoting system in beta mode so come and help us test it out to make it the best it can be.
How to get there: directions
Hours: 8am to 6:00pm Thursday Dec 14 - Sunday Dec 17 2006 (finishes at about 4pm on Sunday though)
Cost: $8 for adults, $4 for children 4 - 11. Free under 4. Parking is $8.00.
October 19, 2006
I've been so busy over the last couple of days, I didn't get a chance to tell you about an article that was written in the Plain Dealer, Cleveland's city newspaper on Tuesday, Oct 17 2006. It was titled "Pet insurer joins Lloyd's of London unit."
It also had a somewhat OK picture of me sitting beside an Embrace sign. The photo was definitely helped by the fact that I happened to wear a red sweater that matched our logo, which was complete luck! I must remember that trick again. We nearly snuck the hamsters in the photo but the photographer pulled them at the last minute.
This was my favorite quote from the article:
"Bennett grew up in England and immigrated to Canada with her family when she was 16.
She moved to Pennsylvania in the early 2000s to attend business school. She and her husband, John, have two daughters, Ellie and Erin. "In the time that it's taken to research and implement this business, I've had two children," Bennett laughed."
Thank goodness I didn't wait, is all I can say :)
October 19, 2006
Last week we were fortunate to get a mention in the Jumpstart biweekly ezine right after we launched, which helped kickstart some local awareness. Jumpstart now has 18 portfolio companies and has only just started to add portolio company news to the well-circulated newsletter so you have jump up and down pretty hard to get noticed.
As a result of their article, I was interviewed for an article in the Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer. Wall Street Journal, here we come :)
Every Dog Has Their Day
This week JumpStart announced an investment commitment in its 18th portfolio company - AnalizaDx. AnalizaDx is developing groundbreaking biomarker technology that could redefine early stage cancer diagnostics.
Cancer drugs are more effective when cancer is diagnosed in its very early stages. The AnalizaDx technology identifies cancer biomarkers based on changes in their structure and uses tests that are easy and relatively inexpensive to administer, thus enabling earlier stage detection.
And humans weren't the only ones getting great news this week. If you recall, in December of 2004, JumpStart announced an investment in Embrace Pet Insurance. Since making that commitment, founders Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik, along with JumpStart executive-in-residence Mark Smith, have worked very hard to build the business, secure an underwriting partner, attract follow-on funding, and hire some very talented people.
All of their hard work resulted in the company reaching several major milestones. For instance, they just concluded a $725,000 round of financing, the overwhelming majority of which was raised from the local Angel Investor community. With this round of financing, Embrace has raised in excess of one million dollars to support the continued growth of the company.
Ultimately, their ability to sell pet health insurance in the U.S. market depended upon securing an affiliation with an underwriter. Pet health insurance in other parts of the world is a multi-billion dollar industry but is only a fraction of that in the U.S. As underwriters surveyed the potential of the U.S. market, Embrace was selected to be underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyd's of London; their first foray into the U.S. market.
With these major milestones accomplished, it is my sincere pleasure to announce that cats and dogs from coast to coast can now breathe a sigh of relief; provided of course their owners call (800) 511-9172. As of this week, Embrace is now selling health insurance policies for your beloved cat or dog. For the moment, you can only buy a policy by calling the number above; however, by year's end you will be able to purchase policies online at Embrace's website.
Getting to the point that they are now "open for business" was no small task. In addition to the very early stage (critical) dollars we invest, our business model also provides thousands of hours of assistance to our portfolio companies to accomplish the many vital tasks that are required to build a high-potential organization.
Whether it is a sophisticated financial product like insurance or a promising new biomarker technology, JumpStart portfolio companies are doing the hard work that is laying the foundation for tomorrow's economy, one cat (or dog) at a time.
Chief Marketing Officer, JumpStart Inc.
phone: (216) 363-3400
October 10, 2006
Call Embrace Pet Insurance at (800) 511 9172 or (440) 484 2260 to learn about pet insurance, get a quote or buy a policy. Or just call us to talk about your pets.
Hours: 9am - 5pm EST Monday to Friday. Underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyd's of London.
I almost can't believe it myself but it's true - Embrace Pet Insurance is open for business through our call center- not a moment too soon I say! Our totally awesome new look website will come later in November and you will be able to quote online then.
This day has been in my dreams for more than 4 years and it has come and gone. I must admit, it's exhilerating and petrifying at the same time. Now is the time we bare all and let you take a look at the goods. Don't hold back - let us know what you think!
I'll be posting quite a bit about our products over the coming weeks. Any thoughts and questions are sincerely welcome.
Chief Embracer & Co-Founder
September 12, 2006
Given the positive response from my previous post on positions at Embrace, I thought I'd let you what else we are currently hiring for. We are based in Cleveland, Ohio.
Of course, if you just think you'll be perfect for Embrace, no matter what the postings, we also want to hear from you. There's a lot of work to do!
Director of Business Development: We want a highly resourceful individual to identify, build and implement channel relationships with companies and associations in the United States, probably pet-related but your imagination may lead you to unusual places to make some of these happen. This individual may have experience in a startup and will know how to prioritize efficiently, using limited resources for maximum gain.
Director of Operations: We need someone with the skills to implement, develop and run our operations, which includes our call center, back office systems, and an office location. Long term, your role as part of the exec team is to support the rapid growth of the company. This is not a technical IT role but requires a technically-oriented inquiring mind.
Web Programming: And while we are at it, if you are a clued-in web programmer, we have some contract work that's a sub project of our ongoing website development waiting for you. Here's a more techy posting for this position for those of you interested.
For all of these positions, email email@example.com using the code WOOF0912BL and the title of the position in the email title.
June 28, 2005
I just got my July issue of Cleveland Magazine and see that the feature article is on the best places to pamper your pooch, puss, or other family critters (of course, it's not online as of June 28 but should be in a week or two).
If they can devote the cover story of one of their monthly issues to the topic of pampering pets, it just goes to show you haw crazy people in Cleveland are about them.
BTW, the picture above is of a couple of Cavalier King Charles puppies that Maggie, a British friend of my mom's, bred earlier this summer. Aren't they gorgeous?!
June 15, 2005
When I first came to Cleveland, just over a year ago, people here often asked me why, as if coming here would be the last thing they would do. Long-time Clevelanders are often down about the place but as an outsider looking in, Cleveland has a lot to be proud of.
That's why I liked the article that Barbara posted on her site today. Check this out if you are looking for an interesting weekend away this summer. Travel article on Cleveland mentioned by Barbara Payne.
May 05, 2005
I think we picked a great place to start our pet insurance company, Embrace, because there are so many happy people with happy dogs here.
I am lucky enough to have my home office in my upstairs sun room (a bit cold in the winter but a great view) and every day, I see a parade of pet lovers with their dogs walking by on their daily constitutional. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and breeds, and have a variety of levels of attitude and energy. They all invariably pick up after their dogs. We don't have a dog park around here so people walk the suburb blocks under the leafy oak trees that grace Cleveland Heights. I occassionally see petworking in action too.
The picture is part of the view from my desk. It's a great vista to be inspired to work on Embrace, I tell you.