Introduction to eLab Startup: Strauss

Strauss is disrupting the massive and outdated insurance industry. Over 41% of the United States’ population does not have a life insurance policy, a persistent problem. Life insurance is an extremely personal product and the Strauss team is creating an accessible algorithm and platform that customizes coverage policies for customers’ specific needs. The company’s primary goal is to benefit the customer and offer every individual an optimal policy for their lifestyle through the Strauss platform. Many individuals are currently unsure about where to start in the process, but the team hopes to educate as many people as possible through Strauss.

Founder, Benjamin Rashbaum’s (‘18; MBA ‘19), majored in Statistics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and then earned his MBA here at Cornell. Benjamin’s family works in the insurance business, and so watching their practices sparked the idea to develop Strauss. The name “Strauss” comes from Benjamin’s family: it is both his grandparents’ last name and the name of his family’s insurance agency. For the development of Strauss, Benjamin recruited the remainder of his team through the Cornell network: Jordyn Goldzweig (‘21), Sam Brickman (‘21), Rohan Lewis (‘21), all majoring in Computer Science in the College of Arts & Sciences, and William Scherr (‘21), majoring in Government and Near Eastern Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Strauss team applied to eLab for the opportunity to receive invaluable mentorship and advice from leaders in the entrepreneurship community at Cornell. They have gained great practical experience learning about a new industry and have challenged their coding skills as well. Working under the guidance of experts throughout the program, Strauss has been pushed to think critically through every step of the process, especially when fortifying the company’s infrastructure and strategizing their customer discovery plan.

Strauss’ primary goals are to identify the specific problem they are solving relating to life insurance coverage and education with their new technology, to build out their full solution and platform, and to receive funding by the end of the 2019 school year. There is a massive opportunity in the life insurance market for Strauss to both penetrate the insurance-tech market and have a meaningful impact on the lives of thousands throughout the United States who are currently left uninsured. Strauss is striving to become a middle-man between people seeking policies and big insurance companies who charge steep premiums. Ben emphasizes that his team is working to help people on a personal level by ensuring that a larger percentage of the United States population is getting the help they need and is covered by life insurance policies. While there are several other startups in the insurance-tech sector, not one company has solved this persistent problem that many individuals are not protected with life insurance or has streamlined the cumbersome process in the right way. Strauss is working to get it right. In the long term, Ben hopes that Strauss will aid his family’s business by providing an innovative and efficient process to write life insurance policies.

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