Company: What-if Collective
Founder and CEO: Lacrecia Cade
Year founded: 2022
What-if Collective is a startup supported by the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator® powered by gener8tor.
Lacrecia Cade has spent her entire career working in the insurance industry. First, as a lawyer, then as a marketing executive and most recently as a company president. Along the way, she learned first-hand how insurance can help protect a family and grow wealth. But in her work developing, distributing and marketing insurance products, she discovered that the strategies being used were missing the mark on reaching under-represented communities.
In 2022, seeing an opportunity to educate people about how the components of insurance work in ways that empower consumers to build not only their own wealth but also that of their families, Cade founded the What-If Collective Company, an insurtech collective focused on connecting multicultural buyers and insurance companies.
Below, Cade shares her perspective on the importance of shrinking the wealth gap, offers some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and explains why she believes creating generational wealth is a powerful game changer.
How did you settle on the name What-If Collective?
For insurance, “what-If” is the fundamental question: “What if I die?”, “What if I get hurt?”, “What if I have an accident?” are universal concerns that insurance addresses. Insurance companies create great products and services that are put into the marketplace, but just the word insurance is confusing to many people. The language and the vocabulary in the industry tends to be very opaque and, historically, they have not connected in any culturally relevant way to multicultural communities. So, we break down the concepts of insurance by using metaphors and situations that people can easily relate to themselves and their families.
What do you hope to accomplish?
We want to show people in underserved communities that insurance is less about risk and loss and more about building growth and a legacy. We want people to understand insurance doesn’t just exist to protect us against all the bad things that might happen: They should also think about it as a means of creating wealth for themselves and their families. Then we provide access to the actual products that can meet their needs and service their families and their communities. We encourage the companies that we partner with to reach out and demonstrate to these communities that they understand the value of their partnership and of their business.
So, we are a content and lead generation company. We use educational content to pull people in and then we connect them to a carrier and give them an opportunity to go buy a product. Our ultimate goal is to educate and empower multicultural buyers to use insurance to close the wealth gap. That’s why our company has set the audacious goal of helping to close the wealth gap in this country by $1 billion in one generation. That’s a big number, but we believe we can do it.
What advice would you give to Black entrepreneurs hoping to start their own businesses?
Dream big and get comfortable with taking on risk. If you see an opportunity to solve a problem, there’s a business that you can build around that. Don’t just build a small business that employs yourself and a couple other people; envision building something that has the name of your company on the side of the building.
You can do that by finding the right capital resources who will also commit to taking on risk while providing funding as well as time and education. There is so much ingenuity and entrepreneurship in Black communities and there are many resources out there that are available to help you. But you’ll have to learn to network so you can build relationships with those who can help you find the best way to navigate your industry.
Where do you see your business in the future?
I believe this is a pivotal moment in Black history because we’re currently seeing dedicated investment into Black founded businesses. And Black entrepreneurs are focused on building generational wealth — which is a powerful game changer. We are trying to solve this issue, which is why we’re focused as a company on the insurance industry. At What-If, we are building a company that has longevity. I’m not just trying to make a million dollars. I’m trying to make a billion dollars.
More than just a company, I’m really building something that’s about driving impact, bringing people together who are interested in solving something, and doing it at a level of scale that reaches the maximum number of people and that’s able to fundamentally shift an industry, a system, a current way that people do things to be able to change it for the long haul. And I’m looking to get that for myself as well: When I’m looking at the Atlanta skyline, I want to see that building that says What-If across the side.