How She Got There: Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO of Tapoly

Janthana Kaenprakhamroy
We spoke to Janthana Kaenprakhamroy to discuss the twists and turns of her career, that’s led her to be the successful CEO and co-founder that she is today

Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is the co-founder and CEO of Tapoly, an award-winning digital managing general agent (MGA) that specializes in providing a comprehensive range of commercial lines insurance exclusively for SMEs and freelancers operating in the gig economy. 

The company distinguishes itself from its competitors by offering SaaS solution that facilitates communication, data transfer, and automation between insurers and their distribution partners. Tapoly is the only business in this market that sells directly to customers and assists brokers in doing so, thanks to its unique insight from both perspectives. 

We spoke to Janthana to find out more about the twists and turns of her career that lead her to where she is now.

Early career and education

Janthana was born into an agricultural family in one of the most remote areas of Thailand, where access to education was limited. Despite the challenging circumstances, Janthana exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. She went on to become the first person in her family to earn a university degree.

“I first moved from Thailand to Sweden when I was 13 as an immigrant,” Janthana explains. “I was fortunate enough to come to London to study English when I turned 18. I didn’t think for a minute my English would eventually be good enough for me to go to University. But, to my surprise, I actually managed to pass my English exams within six months and decided to apply for university at the last minute. It was like a dream come true when I got accepted. 

“I was always driven and ambitious right from childhood, but of course success didn’t come without putting in the hard work and breaking down barriers. I had to overcome cultural, social and financial challenges on top of my studies. 

After graduating from University Janthana trained as a chartered accountant and had a successful career in investment banking, holding positions at top-tier banks including UBS, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase.

“I enjoyed working in banking, but starting Tapoly gave me the opportunity to stay in the wider financial services sector while seizing the chance to start my own business, something I’d always been attracted to doing,” Janthana shares.

Like many of the best business ideas, Janthana spotted a gap in the market for Tapoly through her own personal experience. In 2016, she was looking for an insurance policy that would cover her for renting out her flat, but she couldn’t find one to suit her needs. Janthana wanted protection for her property, herself and her guests against any potential risks, but I couldn’t find a policy that covered the short-term flexibility she needed. 

The rest, as they say, is history and Tapoly was born! 

“I was fortunate enough to find a great co-founder, Sam Hopkins, who is a software developer,” Janthana says. “We soon realised the problem I’d faced was far from unique. In fact, the ‘gig economy’ in all its forms was being completely under-served by the insurance industry. With 4.4 million freelancers and micro-SMEs making up the UK’s gig economy alone and Forbes estimating the market to be worth 1.1 billion globally we knew we were onto something.”

The path to Janthana's current role

During Janthana's tenure in investment banking, she gained a solid understanding of the financial regulations necessary to operate a regulated business. She also became well-versed in the necessary risk and control frameworks, as well as the operational aspects of running a business, such as financing, managing people and processes, and utilising technology.

“My co-founder Sam and I didn’t have backgrounds in the insurance industry, so we needed to learn it inside out if we wanted to make Tapoly a success,” she explains. “Luckily, we found a really good accelerator programme focussed on the insurance industry. By the end of it, we’d gained a much deeper understanding of the insurance market and were able to refine and strengthen our business proposition.  

“Of course, the other great thing about being on an industry-specific accelerator is all the precious contacts you make. One such relationship meant that as we came out of the programme, we launched one of the first on-demand insurance platforms for gig workers in partnership with Beazley, one of the largest syndicates within Lloyd’s of London. 

Challenges, successes and advice to her past self

Tapoly’s insurance platform lets freelancers and micro-SMEs buy ‘on-demand’ insurance, which suits gig-economy workers perfectly. However, this ‘on-demand’ concept wasn’t widely understood by investors and customers when they first started up, which proved challenging. 

“Fortunately, the on-demand insurance concept has become more familiar to investors, insurers, and customers and Tapoly has now been recognised as a pioneer in the insurance industry,” Janthana explains. “As a result of this, these days we are able to have much more fruitful discussions with investors and other stakeholders!  

“Likewise, when I take a step back and look at all we’ve achieved to date, I am incredibly proud that we’ve stuck at it, even when it was difficult in the early days to convince people what our difference and value was. Now, as well as being recognised as leading experts on insurance for the gig economy, we’ve had recognition from our peers too, receiving several industry awards.”

These accolades include being a finalist in the MGA Initiative of the Year and Technology Service Provider of the Year at the Insurance Times Awards in 2021 and in the Broker category in 2022. Tapoly has also recently been shortlisted in the 2023 Modern Insurance Magazine awards for best Customer Experience in a Crisis. 

Finally, if Janthana could give her past self one piece of advice, it would simply be: “Believe in yourself! 

“You simply cannot become successful without a success mindset. It’s encouraging to hear that this is actually spoken about at UK primary schools now as it really is something I think should be instilled in children from a young age 

It all starts in your mind, and this needs to be aligned with your actions to engage others in your vision truly. Being able to communicate positively, clearly and concisely will help you share your thoughts and values with your team and stakeholders and take them with you on your path to success.”


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