Welcoming our newest team member
We’re thrilled to welcome Esther Eller, as our new head of Avanta Studios! In this role, Esther will work to accelerate the next generation of innovative startups within the Insurtech, Mobility, and Insurance-Adjacent markets. She is passionate about working hands-on with early-stage founders while advocating for inclusivity in the startup ecosystem.
Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, Esther co-founded the Corporate Innovation arm of Techstars, building and launching product offerings for global corporations. Esther recently launched and led the Venture Studio Department at Techstars as a spin-off of the Corporate Innovation Department, offering corporate venture building and IP commercialization for corporate partners. Esther has created curriculums for founders who are now part of the Techstars Accelerator Program globally. Esther also angel invests in early-stage startups and is an advisor on several boards. Before Techstars, Esther worked with foreign public sector organizations to design and lead an expansion accelerator program to help selected startups from foreign countries test, launch, and expand their companies and products in the US. At her core, Esther is an entrepreneur. She’s founded several companies, mainly in the FinTech and LegalTech spaces, two of which exited through acquisitions. Before her startup journey, Esther worked in financial and legal services focused on real estate investment.
Esther holds a Bachelor of Science from Columbia University and an Executive Education in Corporate Innovation and Strategic Ecosystem Development from MIT Sloan School of Management. Esther enjoys cooking, watching sunsets, and experiencing other cultures through traveling in her free time.
Things to know about Esther
What is an interesting technology trend you’re keeping an eye on?
One trend I’ve been following and am interested in is embedded insurance. What excites me about the space is how it has the potential to help insurers better deliver products tailored to customers’ needs at the right place and at the right time.
Not a trend per se, but another growing area that I am following closely is the progression of insurance offerings. Take insuring commercial fleets for example. Disruptive business models like those from Uber and Lyft have caught insurers’ attention to deploy offerings that were curated to meet their needs. It’s still far out, but there is another upcoming progression in commercial fleets that will ultimately need to be insured. As technology continues to lessen the gap between “smart autos” and AVs, figuring out how to properly insure commercial fleets of AVs could be an interesting problem to solve.
What is one business book (or podcast) you would recommend to a startup founder?
Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I appreciated the tangible solutions Ries has to offer and how well-structured the “how-tos” in getting from startup ideation to execution were.
If you could travel to one place this year, where would it be?
Now that we will be moving to California from Germany, I would love to take advantage of the short-distance travel to countries like Mexico. Oaxaca is on the top of that list for us.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
As it relates to product development — “don’t get stuck in your own head but talk to customers for decisions based on actual data points.” Building a successful startup is not just around building some cool tech, but also getting the timing of the market right too. Talking to actual customers to validate that this is not just a “nice to have” but a “hair on fire” type of problem should be a critical checkpoint in any startup’s journey.
Please help us in welcoming Esther to the Avanta Ventures family!