Daniel Wypler, partner and global head of investments, QBE Ventures, is one of our emerging leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.
Daniel Wypler was a founding member of QBE Ventures, the investment arm of Australian insurer QBE, when it was set up in 2020. Having worked at National Australia Bank and ANZ in the same kind
of role, he had seen what did and didn’t work.
With an opportunity to start with a blank slate he and cofounder James Orchard were determined to
do one thing: set up a proper “partnerships” team to connect portfolio startups to QBE’s business
unit. Of the team of 12, only four are investors with the rest working on the partnerships side.
“It’s within our mandate that each one of our companies work with QBE in some way within the first
year. If you don’t have a connection to the mothership you are just dumb money,’ he says.
The approach is paying off. One of the portfolio companies saved QBE an estimated $5m in the first
year of partnership. Wypler expects another to create a cost saving of double or triple that.
These success stories are helping Wypler with his greatest challenge in setting up the investment
unit — earning the trust of a naturally risk-adverse insurance business.
“When you go to them and say: ‘We are going to make this investment and I don’t know if it is going
to work,’ it is pretty jarring. You are asking the CFO to suspend disbelief,” Wypler says. “Getting that
trust and having executives see that these investments can really add to their bottom line, that has
been the most rewarding thing.”
Wypler, once a currency trader, is something of an entrepreneur at heart, having set up several
businesses, including one of Australia’s early wave of fintech companies.
“I do think that it’s made me a better investor having that lens of having been on the other side,”
says Wypler. “But I have learned a lot on [the corporate investor] side as well, how to work in the
boardroom, and to not just be a megaphone, but something that amplifies.”
See the full list of Emerging Leaders 2023 here.