Cameron Shearer is the co-founder and CEO of business insurance company Superscript.
Founded in 2015 by Shearer and Ben Rose, the London-based company, then known as Digital Risks, provides flexible subscription-based insurance cover to small and medium-sized businesses.
Superscript coverage includes policies such as employer’s liability, business interruption insurance and equipment insurance. It has been selected by Amazon as the UK’s only insurance partner.
The company has raised £20m in Series A funding and is backed by the likes of Concentric, Seedcamp and BHL Holdings. The company told UKTN that it has plans for a Series B round later this year.
Over the past year, it has doubled the number of active customers and tripled the number of employees.
This week Founder at Five Q&AShearer talks about what he wishes he’d done differently when starting Superscript, his burnout tools, and why he thinks blockchain is misunderstood.
1. What is one thing you would like to do differently when starting a company?
Cameron Shearer: I would start fundraising earlier, hire senior management sooner, and force myself to let go of the day-to-day.
However, all of these are definitely easier said than done, and are somewhat interconnected. Typically, your track record and experience are critical to getting the right buy-in from investors and talent at the right time. Sometimes you just have to take the journey and do it better next time.
2. How do you prevent burnout for yourself and your employees?
CS: When a company’s leadership values work-life balance, it flows naturally into the broader culture. Personally, I find that I’m less prone to burnout and more productive when I balance a healthy lifestyle. I really like my fitness and exercise regularly. I solved some of my biggest challenges while running!
As for our people, we actively invest in their well-being; for example, providing regular training and personal training, providing mental health services and many social initiatives. And this is only a small part of what we do.
3. What are the best and worst parts of your job?
CS: Scaling a fast-growing business is stressful, but can be equally rewarding for the people who are motivated by it. This provides an environment for true innovation. I love watching new initiatives ignite and come to life. I enjoy bringing people together, supporting their development and seeing them do work they are proud of. I love it when teams overcome adversity together. It is very useful.
However, as a rule, a commercial balance must be found. Having to manage people’s ambitions in line with the mission can often be a challenge, especially when you need to keep everyone motivated.
4. Tell me when you screwed up?
CS: Many years ago, I worked in the field of advertising and prepared the technical infrastructure for a nationwide promotion on the Internet. We guessed what the website’s traffic would be at launch and then tripled it – to make sure the system could handle the load. Totally wrong.
The company raised more than 20 times our best guess, so naturally everything collapsed instantly. With the customer standing over my shoulder and everyone in a frenzy, we were fortunately able to scale up and get everything back online relatively quickly. It was a difficult moment.
5. What is the most misunderstood technology?
CS: As we are particularly close to this at Superscript, I would say that blockchain, digital assets and distributed ledger technologies are very misunderstood.
Many people see this technology and think of Bitcoin, but it is much more than just digital currencies. The idea of ownership in a digital world and decentralization, where power lies on the Internet, has truly transformative potential.
Many brilliant companies based on this technology have developed useful products and are disrupting a whole range of sectors. I have no doubt that the technology is here for the long haul.
Founder at five – UKTN’s Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative startups, scale companies, unicorns and public tech companies – is published every Friday.