Mental health startup eQuoo will be distributed by Unilever in new global youth campaign

Last December (yes, in the before-times) UK-based mental health startup eQuoo had a round of announcements, becoming the NHS approved mental health game, as well as signing Barmer, the largest insurance company in Germany, as a client.

It’s now been selected as the Mental Health App for Unilever’s new global initiative aimed at the mental health of young people. The move came after Unilever’s People Data Centre (PDC) selected eQuoo out of all the mental health games on the Google Playstore, being, as it is, one of the few backed by scientific research. Unilever’s new brand campaign, which will feature eQuoo app – will be marketed to over 70,000 18 to 35-year olds.

“eQuoo teaches important skills in a fun and engaging way,” said Unilever’s Global PDC Search and Social Analyst, Janelle Tomayo. “The game teaches you how to become a better communicator using fictional characters to navigate through difficult circumstances with skills and storylines empirically based on current psychological research.”

Silja Litvin, founder and CEO of eQuoo said: “1 in 3 young adults experience an anxiety disorder, crippling and harming too many people at the cusp of their adult lives. Together eQuoo and Unilever will equip thousands of people with the personal resilience to manage the pressures of today’s world.”

PsycApps, which makes eQuoo, is a Digital Mental Health startup that is using gamification, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology and AI to treat mental illness, using evidence-based features. It’s achieved a top rating at ORCHA, the leading health app assessment platform and is also available through the GP EMIS data bank, meaning that NHS doctors can now refer their patients to eQuoo to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The market for mental health-oriented games and apps is increasing considerably. AKILI, the first ADHD game for children, attained FDA approval. In June, the European Medicines Agency approved Akili’s digital therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which uses a video game to treat the underlying cause of the condition. The European Commission has granted a CE mark for the game called EndeavorRx, allowing the product to be marketed in Europe.

#apps, #articles, #artificial-intelligence, #ceo, #cognitive-behavioral-therapy, #equoo, #europe, #european-commission, #fda, #germany, #google, #insurance, #mental-health, #mental-illness, #nhs, #psychology, #silja-litvin, #tc


Skydio partners with EagleView for autonomous residential roof inspections via drone

Skydio only just recently announced its expansion into the enterprise and commercial market with hardware and software tools for its autonomous drone technology, and now it’s taking the lid off a brand new big partnership with one commercial partner. Skydio will work with EagleView to deploy automated residential roof inspection using Skydio drones, with service initially provide via EagleView’s Assess product, launching first in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas.

The plan is to expand coverage to additional metro areas starting next year, and then broaden to rural customers as well. The partners will use AI-based analysis, paired with Skydio’s high-resolution, precision imaging to provide roofing status information to insurance companies, claims adjustment companies and government agencies, providing a new level of quality and accuracy for property inspections that don’t even require an in-person roof inspection component.

Skydio announced its enterprise product expansion in July, alongside a new $100 million funding round. The startup, which has already delivered two generations of its groundbreaking fully autonomous consumer drone, also debuted the X2, a commercial drone that includes additional features like a thermal imaging camera. It’s also offering a suite of “enterprise skills,” software features that can provide its partners with automated workflows and AI analysis and processing, including a House Scan feature for residential roof inspection, which is core to this new partnership.

#articles, #business, #dallas, #drones, #emerging-technologies, #enterprise, #hardware, #inspection, #insurance, #robotics, #skydio, #tc, #texas, #workflow


EasySend raises $16M from Intel, more for its no-code approach to automating B2C interfaces

No-code and low-code software have become increasingly popular ways for companies — especially those that don’t count technology as part of their DNA — to bring in more updated IT processes without the heavy lifting needed to build and integrate services from the ground up.

As a mark of that trend, today, a company that has taken this approach to speeding up customer experience is announcing some funding. EasySend, an Israeli startup which has built a no-code platform for insurance companies and other regulated businesses to build out forms and other interfaces to take in customer information and subsequently use AI systems to process it more efficiently, is announcing that it has raised $16 million.

The funding has actually come in two tranches, a $5 million seed round from Vertex Ventures and Menora Insurance that it never disclosed, and another $11 million round that closed more recently, led by Hanaco with participation from Intel Capital. The company is already generating revenue, and did so from the start, enough that it was actually bootstrapped for the first three years of its life.

Tal Daskal, EasySend’s CEO and co-founder, said that the funding being announced today will be used to help it expand into more verticals: up to now its primary target has been insurance companies, although organically it’s picked up customers from a number of other verticals, such as telecoms carriers, banks and more.

The plan will be now to hone in on specifically marketing to and building solutions for the financial services sector, as well as hiring and expanding in Asia, Europe and the US.

Longer term, he said, that another area EasySend might like to look at more in the future is robotic process automation (RPA). RPA, and companies that deal in it like UIPath, Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism, is today focused on the back office, and EasySend’s focus on the “front office” integrates with leaders in that area. But over time, it would make sense for EasySend to cover this in a more holistic way, he added.

Menora was a strategic backer: it’s one of the largest insurance providers in Israel, Daskal said, and it used EasySend to build out better ways for consumers to submit data for claims and apply for insurance.

Intel, he said, is also strategic although how is still being worked out: what’s notable to mention here is that Intel has been building out a huge autonomous driving business in Israel, anchored by MobileEye, and not only will insurance (and overall risk management) play a big part in how that business develops, but longer term you can see how there will be a need for a lot of seamless customer interactions (and form filling) between would-be car owners, operators, and passengers in order for services to operate more efficiently.

“Intel Capital chose to invest in EasySend because of its intelligent and impactful approach to accelerating digital transformation to improve customer experiences,” said Nick Washburn, senior managing director, Intel Capital, in a statement. “EasySend’s no-code platform utilizes AI to digitize thousands of forms quickly and easily, reducing development time from months to days, and transforming customer journeys that have been paper-based, inefficient and frustrating. In today’s world, this is more critical than ever before.”

The rise and persistence of Covid-19 globally has had a big, multi-faceted impact how we all do business, and two of those ways have fed directly into the growth of EasySend.

First, the move to remote working has given organizations a giant fillip to work on digital transformation, refreshing and replacing legacy systems with processes that work faster and rely on newer technologies.

Second, consumers have really reassessed their use of insurance services, specifically health and home policies, respectively to make sure they are better equipped in the event of a Covid-19-precipitated scare, and to make sure that they are adequately covered for how they now use their homes all hours of the day.

EasySend’s platform for building and running interfaces for customer experience fall directly into the kinds of apps and services that are being identified and updated, precisely at a time when its initial target customers, insurers, are seeing a surge in business. It’s that “perfect storm” of circumstances that the startup wouldn’t have wished on the world, but which has definitely helped it along.

While there are a lot of companies on the market today that help organizations automate and run their customer interaction processes, the Daskal said that EasySend’s focus on using AI to process information is what makes the startup more unique, as it can be used not just to run things, but to help improve how things work.

It’s not just about taking in character recognition and organizing data, it’s “understanding the business logic,” he said. “We have a lot of data and we can understand [for example] where customers left the process [when filling out forms]. We can give insights into how to increase the conversion rates.”

It’s that balance of providing tools to do business better today, as well as to focus on how to build more business for tomorrow, that has caught the eye of investors.

“Hanaco is firmly invested in building a digital future. By bridging the gap between manual processes and digitization, EasySend is making this not only possible, but also easy, affordable, and practical,” said Hanaco founding partner Alon Lifshitz, in a statement.

#ai, #artificial-intelligence, #easysend, #enterprise, #forms, #insurance, #insurtech, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc


Building a white label tool for telemedicine services nabs OnCall Health $6 million

As medical providers across the world turn to digital delivery of consultations and services, OnCall Health a Toronto-based provider of back-end services for telemedicine is having a moment.

The company, which competes with services like Truepill to offer physicians, pharmacies and other potential point of care services a way to consult online, has grown exceptionally quickly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OnCall Health’s services include the ability to schedule a video or text appointment with a physician, hosting those video consultations on its secured servers, and the integration of back end billing systems so physicians can get paid.

Services like OnCall and TruePill’s have increased exponentially since the advent of lockdown orders put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In a sign of how hungry investors are for these kinds of deals, Truepill just raised $75 million to expand its own health services offerings.

“Since COVID-19, telemedicine has shifted from a nice-to-have revenue source for primary care, mental health, and home care and chronic conditions to a need-to-have,” said Base10 Partners principal Chris Zeoli, who led the investment into OnCall.

Joining Base10 in its $6 million investment into OnCall were several existing investors from the company’s $2 million seed round, including Ripple Ventures, Panache Ventures, and Stout Street Capital.

The bulk of the company’s customers come from small and medium-sized physician’s practices, according to Zeoli. Roughly 500 of the company’s existing customers consist of offices with less than ten practicing doctors.

Capturing this long tail is important because it actually represents a huge proportion of healthcare providers.

“OnCall provides everything that healthcare brands like pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and direct to consumer digital health startups need to get into the space and launch their own virtual care programs, often for the first time,” said Nicholas Chepesiuk, founder and CEO of OnCall Health. “Meanwhile, we are well positioned to help conventional healthcare clinics and systems adopt virtual care technology in the context of their operational processes. In the past year we have been able to roll out our technology with two global insurance companies, several leading pharmaceutical brands, and many rapidly growing digital health startups.”

OnCall now has over 30 employees and supports 7,000 primary care, mental health, and paramedical service providers across North America.

#articles, #base10-partners, #ceo, #digital-health, #insurance, #north-america, #pharmaceutical, #physician, #tc, #telehealth, #telemedicine, #toronto


Buying Wedding Insurance During the Pandemic

Some insurance carriers have made changes to their coverage since the coronavirus outbreak began.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #insurance, #weddings-and-engagements


Closing on $75 million in new cash, Truepill plans at-home testing service as it nears $175 million in annual revenue

Truepill, the white-label healthcare services company that provides telehealth and pharmacy fulfillment services, is adding at-home medical testing as the third branch of its services powering the offerings of companies like Hims and Hers, Ro, and other direct-to-consumer healthcare companies. 

Financing this expansion of services is a new $75 million round of financing from investors led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from Optum Ventures, TI Platform Management, Sound Ventures and Y Combinator.

“With the change in reimbursement for telemedicine, it changed the trajectory of the direct to consumer companies,” said Annie Lamot, the co-founder and managing director of new lead investors Oak HC/FT. “When we talked to every one of them they all seemed to be using Truepill .”

With its expansion into lab testing, Truepill can provide a full suite of services that used to be confined to the doctor’s office remotely. As more patients adjust to remote delivery of care, these kinds of options will become more attractive.

The move to telemedicine isn’t just something for new entrants either. Incumbents are also finding that they need to provide the same care as their direct to consumer competition, especially as the priority shifts to value-based care rather than fees for services on the reimbursement side — and consumers start demanding lower cost options on the direct pay side.

“I think it enables health plans to provide better care in targeted programs,” said Lamont, a longtime investor in healthcare.

Truepill’s executives certainly hope so.

The two co-founders, Umar Afridi and Sid Viswanathan met over LinkedIn where Viswanathan cold-emailed Afridi. At the time, Afridi was working as a pharmacist filling prescriptions at a Fred Meyer near Seattle).

Initially, Truepill’s growth came from acting as the pharmacist to companies like Hims, Ro, Nurx, and other direct-to-consumer healthcare companies focused on serving the elective health needs of people who wanted hair loss treatments, erectile dysfunction medication, and birth control.

Image Credits: Truepill

As the company has grown, so have its ambitions. By the end of the year, Truepill expects to book up to $175 million in revenue, according to Viswanathan, and that revenue will come from a more evenly distributed mix of customers among direct to consumer companies, insurance companies, and healthcare providers.

“Everything we do is white labeled from our pharmacy to the lab testing component. You can go to teladoc and use that service. What we like to think early. 80 percent of healthcare is going to happen on a digital channel.. We’re in a perfect position to build the platform company in that space,” Viswanathan said. 

At-home testing is a critical component of that platform. Expected to launch before the end of the year, Truepill is working with lab testing providers to offer hundreds of at-home tests. The company said it will focus on tests to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease. Incidentally these are areas which have attracted a lot of interest from investors who are backing companies that provide direct to consumer or digital therapeutic solutions to treat or help address these conditions.

“To create a comprehensive, effective digital healthcare experience, there are three essential pillars: pharmacy with extensive insurance coverage, at-home lab testing and telehealth,” said Viswanathan, in a statement. “By adding diagnostics to our suite of solutions, we’ll be able to deliver direct-to-patient healthcare at scale through one platform – Truepill. We envision a future where 80% of healthcare is digital. With diagnostics, telehealth and pharmacy built on our foundation of API-connected infrastructure, Truepill will power that reality.” 

#articles, #birth-control, #diabetes, #erectile-dysfunction, #heal, #healthcare, #hims, #insurance, #lamont, #linkedin, #nurx, #optum-ventures, #pharmacy, #ro, #seattle, #sound-ventures, #tc, #teladoc-health, #telehealth, #telemedicine, #truepill, #y-combinator


BIMA nabs $30M more for micro- health and life insurance aimed at emerging markets

The coronavirus global health pandemic — and the new emphasis on social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID-19 — has put healthcare and tech services used to enable healthcare remotely under the spotlight. Today a startup that’s building microinsurance and healthcare services specifically targeting emerging markets is announcing a round of funding to meet a surge in demand for its services.

BIMA, a startup that provides life and health insurance policies, along with telemedicine to support the latter, all via a mobile-first platform targeting consumers in emerging markets whose primary entry point to online services is via phones, not computers, is today announcing that it has raised $30 million in funding, a growth round that the Stockholm/London-based startup plans to use to double down on its health services in the wake increased demand around COVID-19.

The company currently provides telemedicine as a service connected to its health insurance, and it has expanded to include health programs for managing illnesses and offering discounts for pharmacies, and the plan seems to be to bring more services into the mix.

This is the same approach we’re seeing from other insurance startups targeting emerging economies, including China’s Waterdrop, which recently raised $230 million. Looking at the network of services Waterdrop is building, including crowdfunding, gives you an idea of what else BIMA might potentially look to add in, too.

The round is being led by a new investor — China’s CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund (CEFIF) — with previous backers LeapFrog Investments and insurance giant Allianz (who were in BIMA’s previous, $97 million round) also participating.

The startup is not disclosing its valuation this time around, but in its previous round the company was valued at $300 million, and it has grown considerably since then.

BIMA has now clocked up 2 million tele-doctor consultations and has some 35 million insurance and health policies on its books, growing its customer base by some 11 million people in the last two years. It’s now active in 10 countries — Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal in Africa; and Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka across Asia.

At a time when we have seen a number of insure tech startups emerge in the US and Europe — with some, like Lemonade, growing into publicly-listed companies — BIMA is very notable in part because of who it targets.

It’s not higher economic brackets, or necessarily segments with disposable income, or those in developed markets with stable economies. Rather, its focus is, in its words, underserved families that typically live on less than $10 per day and are at high risk of illness or injury, with 75% of its customers accessing insurance services for the very first time, BIMA notes.

“Telemedicine and insurance are needed more than ever and COVID accelerated awareness and acceptance for these types of products amongst emerging consumers and government. They’ve gone from ‘nice to have’ to a necessity,” said Mathilda Strom, who co-founded the company with CEO Gustaf Agartson, in an interview. “Utilisation nearly doubled in our telemedicine services.” BIMA covers COVID and pandemics in general in its policies, she added. “We have paid out COVID-related claims to families of people who suffered or passed away from the illness.”

It’s also working with health authorities that have been overwhelmed in the pandemic. Pakistani government and Indonesian government now use BIMA to off-load their health services by providing teledoctor consultations or doctors chats to customers.

Aiming at developing economies where middle classes are still only materialising, currencies are potentially unstable, and there is still a lack of infrastructure means that BIMA is contending with a combination of factors that makes the bar high for entry, but it’s also potentially more rewarding because of the lack of competition and tapping a demand that is still rapidly growing.

“The onset of COVID-19 has brought home the value of telemedicine, to help prevent the spread of disease, and the importance of insurance, for peace of mind,” said Agartson in a statement.

“Through digital solutions, and a human touch, we’ve been able to serve hard to reach communities with tools and services that bring them a sense of security at such a challenging time. The funds we have raised will allow us to expand our operations and further invest in our product offering that will help us scale quickly to meet the unprecedented demand for our services.”

It’s interesting to see CreditEase, a Chinese investor, as part of this round: the idea of all-in, full service health services companies banked around the insurance proposition has been one cultivated in the Chinese market. But even with the development of HMOs in the US, it’s interesting that there have been relatively few startups around the world trying to develop similar models. BIMA stands out in part because of that.

“We are very impressed by BIMA’s innovative integration of micro insurance and tele-doctor services, which provide critical coverage to meet large unmet demand in emerging markets, and whose value is accentuated further by the current pandemic,” said Dennis Cong, managing partner at CEFIF, in a statement. “We are very happy to have the opportunity to join this meaningful journey, along with the established leading shareholders, and support the company to grow its business and expand its leadership position in its served markets.”

“The market that BIMA is serving is vast and demand for health services is tremendous,” added Stewart Langdon, a partner at LeapFrog Investments. “BIMA’s unique digital capabilities empower emerging market consumers to access many health and insurance services on a single, easy to use platform. That includes protection for millions of first-time buyers of insurance who would otherwise remain unprotected and at risk.”

“We are happy to continue our partnership with BIMA and jointly deliver telemedicine and remote healthcare services in developing markets,” said Nazim Cetin, CEO at Allianz X, in a statement. “We believe the demand for these services will continue to increase and want to manifest BIMA’s leading position in the market by providing support with our experience and network.”

#bima, #covid-19, #emerging-markets, #health, #health-insurance, #insurance, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc


Wildfires Hasten Another Climate Crisis: Homeowners Who Can’t Get Insurance

Insurers, facing huge losses, have been pulling back from fire-prone areas across California. “The marketplace has largely collapsed,” an advocate for counties in the state said.

#california, #consumer-protection, #disasters-and-emergencies, #environment, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #insurance, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #wildfires


Mulberry, the warranty service for direct to consumer brands, approaches $10 million ARR

In the two years since Chinedu Eleanya founded Mulberry to be the warranty service for direct-to-consumer brands, business has boomed. 

Already riding a shakeup in consumer behavior brought by the emergence of startup brands selling just about everything to just about everyone, Mulberry brought a much-needed new spin on the warranty service that retailers had depended on for years to make consumers comfortable with big ticket purchases. Now the company is on its way to $10 million in ARR for 2020, thanks in no small part to the new shift to online shopping.

That’s why investors were wiling to invest $10 million into the company back in March before the pandemic hit. The round was led by the early stage New York-based investment firm, Pace Capital and included returning investors like Founder Collective.

Then the pandemic did hit. With COVID-19 pushing more shoppers (at least the ones that still have money to shop) out of stores and online, the need for warranty services has just ballooned, according to Eleanya.

A serial entrepreneur who moved from Nigeria to New York City and founded companies including Cognical and Zibby, Eleanya has found success with Mulberry and its online model.

To be sure, the company isn’t the only startup working in the e-commerce warranty space. There’s also, Clyde, which raised $14 million around the same time to offer similar services.

But the market for these kinds of online services is still growing rapidly, and Eleanya thinks there’s space fora few winners. “When you think of point of sale financial innovation, the extended warranty space is the most interesting,” he said.

From a retailer perspective, lending is good, but the bigger story is that the cost of customer acquisition continues to go up, Eleanya said. For him, retailers need to maximize the long term value by retaining customers and the way to do that, he contends, is to offer services programs.

“We’re democratizing access for small and medium sized retailers so they can compete in this really expensive environment,” he said.

Mulberry is already working with some big direct to consumer brands like Mirror, the smart workout mirror, the coffee maker Breville, and Nectar Sleep — a Casper mattress competitor.

So far, Mulberry has about $1 million in annual recurring revenue and is on pace to hit $10 million in ARR this year, Eleanya said.


#business, #coffee-maker, #e-commerce, #economy, #insurance, #kitchen, #new-york, #new-york-city, #nigeria, #pace-capital, #serial-entrepreneur, #tc, #warranty


Indonesian insurtech startup PasarPolis gets $54 million Series B from investors including LeapFrog and SBI

PasarPolis, the Indonesian-based startup focused on making insurance policies more accessible in Southeast Asia, announced today it has closed a Series B round totaling $54 million. Investors include LeapFrog Investments and SBI Investment, both firms that focus on financial services; AlphaJWC; Intudo Ventures; and Xiaomi.

Gojek’s venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, which participated in PasarPolis’ Series A two years ago, also returned for the new round.

Founded in 2015 by chief executive officer Cleosent Randing and chief operating officer Michael Saputra, PasarPolis operates in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The company says the number of insurance policies it issues monthly has grown 80 times since August 2018, when it closed its Series A, and that it now partners with more than 30 insurance providers.

Randing said the the insurance penetration rate in the ASEAN region is currently just 3.6%, and the startup’s goal is to reach people who have never purchased insurance before through products including inexpensive “micro-policies” that cover broken device screens.

In 2019, the company says PasarPolis issued more than 650 million policies to people buying insurance for the first time, including ride-hailing drivers, delivery couriers, and online merchants. Sales continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic because it increased demand for insurance, while also prompting people to make more purchases online (most of PasarPolis’ policies are sold through its mobile apps). In June alone, the company claims it served more than four million new customers, and has now provided policies to more than 35 million customers in total.

Nishant Kumar, PasarPolis’ chief technology officer, told TechCrunch that the new funding will be used on its AI-based claim automation platform, which allows the company to customize insurance products for different industries.

It also plans to invest in PasarPolis Mitra, an onboarding platform for agents. Soft-launched in May 2020, PasarPolis allows people to apply to become Mitra, or insurance agents, for the company. PasarPolis currently has a network of about 10,000 agents in Indonesia, who help customers chose policies and process claims.

“We plan to invest in infrastructure to help our Mitra be able to engage with our customers more,” said Kumar. “We believe it’s important for us to implement both online and offline strategies as an insurtech player.”

Kumar added that even though technology plays a “pivotal role” in making insurance products accessible to more people, PasarPolis does not “see digital as just a medium to sell insurance. We think that technology can be used to segment risk in real-time and provide more affordable insurance to the masses.”

Two of PasarPolis’ main competitors in Southeast Asia include Qoala, another Indonesia-based insurtech startup that recently raised funding, and Grab Financial Group, which launched a new portfolio of consumer financial services last month, including expanded insurance offerings.

Randing told TechCrunch that PasarPolis’ competitive advantage is its “ability to offer highly customized and modular insurance products that are integrated with partners’ systems,” including health and accident coverage for Gojek’s drivers and passengers; insurance for small- to medium-sized businesses that cover damaged products and missing items; and policies that protect e-commerce customers.

An example of the kind of customized insurance products PasarPolis can create is a policy for Gojek drivers that covers stolen vehicles and costs less than USD $4 a year.

The company is also a licensed insurance broker, which is why it was able to operate PasarPolis Mitra. “The platform is so unique to Indonesians, that it enables anyone, from professional insurance Mitra, Gojek drivers, stay-at-home moms, and furloughed employees, to earn additional income, especially during the new normal,” said Randing.

#asia, #financial-services, #fundings-exits, #indonesia, #insurance, #insurtech, #pasarpolis, #southeast-asia, #startups, #tc, #thailand, #vietnam


Nurx has $22.5 million in new money, a path to profitability, and new treatments for migraines on the way

As the COVID-19 epidemic spread across the US earlier this year, Nurx, like most other digital providers of healthcare and prescription services saw a huge spike in demand.

Now, with $22.5 million in new financing and a surging annual run rate that could see the company hit $150 million in revenue, the company is emerging as the largest digital practice for women’s health.

“We saw this tremendous surge in need for our contraception and sensitive health services,” says Nurx chief executive Varsha Rao .

The growth hasn’t come without controversy. Only last year, a New York Times article pointed to corner cutting at the startup which boasts Chelsea Clinton as an investor and advisor.

Undeterred Rao said that the company has now seen tremendous acceleration in all areas of its business. It’s now providing care to over 300,000 patients on a monthly basis, boasts that $150 million run rate and new investors like Comcast Ventures, Trustbridge and Wittington Ventures — the investment arm of one of the largest pharmacy chains in Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart.

The new $22.5 million is an extension on the company’s previous $32 million round and will take the company to profitability by 2021, according to Rao.

And while birth control and contraception are still the largest areas of the company’s business, Nurx is growing its range of services, seeing adoption of its testing for sexually transmitted infections including HPV and herpes and a new treatment area for migraines.

That focus on sexual health and what the company calls sensitive health is different from trying to be a primary care provider says Rao. “Our real focus right now is on our core demographic who are women between the ages of twenty and forty and really focusing on their needs,” she says. “That’s why migraines make a lot of sense. It’s not exclusively hormone related, but it often is… One-in-four women experience migraines and they’re largely from hormonal changes… This is a condition we’re well positioned to address.”

Another way that Nurx differentiates itself from competitors like Hims and Ro, which provide women’s health and contraceptive prescriptions as well, is through its ability to take insurance. “It’s actually pretty challenging to build the system to actually offer insurance,” says Rao. “And yet, we don’t think you can be a true healthcare company if you don’t accept insurance.”


#advisor, #canada, #chelsea-clinton, #comcast-ventures, #health-services, #healthcare, #hims, #insurance, #new-york-times, #nurx, #tc, #united-states, #varsha-rao, #wittington-ventures


Atomwise’s machine learning-based drug discovery service raises $123 million

With a slew of partnerships with large pharmaceutical companies under its belt and the successful spin out of at least one new company, Atomwise has already proved the value of its machine learning platform for discovering and commercializing potential small molecule therapies for a host of conditions.

Now the company has raised $123 million in new funding to accelerate its business.

“Scaling the technology and scaling the team and scaling what we’ve been doing with it,” says chief executive officer Abe Heifets when asked about what comes next for the eight year old business.

Atomwise has already signed contracts worth $5.5 billion with corporate partners that include Eli Lilly & Co., Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals, and Bridge Biotherapeutics. Smaller, earlier stage companies like StemoniX and SEngine Precision Medicine are also using Atomwise’s tech.

Now the company will look to capture more of the value of drug discovery for itself, looking to develop and commercialize its discoveries by taking over more of the development process and working with manufacturers at a later stage, according to Heifets.

Atomwise tipped its new strategy last year when it announced a partnership with Velocity Drug Development and a $14.5 million investment to create x-37, a spinoff that’s developing small molecule therapies for endodermal cancers, which include cancers of the liver, pancreas, colon, stomach, and bladder.

“We have something like 750 projects running today around the world,” says Heifets. “These comprise more than 600 unique targets and that’s with a vast range of partnerships.”

The power of Atomwise’s drug discovery platform is its ability to harness machine learning to structure new proteins that have never existed — and ensure that they’re able to reach precise target receptors to accomplish a desired task.

Here, the x-37 spinoff is especially illustrative. One line of research the company is conducting into molecules that can target the PIM3 protein receptor. If a drug can block PIM3, it can kill cancerous endodermal cells, according to Heifets. However, if the molecules bind to another, similar target, PIM1, the therapy can cause heart attacks and kill patients.

“This is a challenge and empirically was considered undruggable,” says Heifets. Atomwise’s company screened 11 billion potential molecules against the targets to come up with 500 potential therapies. They’re now working on refining the therapy to bring something to market.

And x-37 is only one of the companies that Atomwise has created to commercialize various new molecules. There’s also Atropos Therapeutics, Theia Biosciences and vAIrus.

Atomwise is far from the only company to think that the application of machine learning technologies to drug discovery is a winning combination. is a company that’s taken the new technology developments one step further and added quantum computing to the mix to come up with new drugs.

“The market opportunity we’re going after is four times the value of the entire pharma industry today,” said Heifets. “Here’s what that’s about. There’s 20,000 human genes and only 4% have ever been drugs. Another 16% have been evidenced. But the opportunity of drugging the undruggable is way bigger than the entire pharma industry.”

Unlocking that opportunity is going to take lots of capital. That’s why B Capital and Sanabil Investments combined to lead Atomwise’s Series B round. It’s also why companies like DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and two, undisclosed, insurance companies have invested in the company’s latest round.

 with a goal to commercialize high potential candidates through the drug development process. The company plans to continue to expand its work with corporate partners, which currently include major players in the biopharma space including Eli Lilly and Company, Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals, and Bridge Biotherapeutics, as well as emerging biotechnology companies like StemoniX and SEngine Precision Medicine. Atomwise has signed approximately $5.5 billion in deal value with corporate partners to date.

To date, Atomwise has worked with 750 academic research collaborations addressing over 600 disease targets, to model and screen over 16 billion new molecules for virtual screening. These molecules have generated 17 pending patent applications and several peer-reviewed publications. There are 285 active drug discovery partnerships with researchers at top universities around the world, and recently announced 15 research collaborations with global universities to explore broad-spectrum therapies for COVID-19, targeting 15 unique and novel mechanisms of action.

“New technologies are enabling better and faster R&D for the life science industry,” said Raj Ganguly, co-Founder and Managing Partner at B Capital Group . “The advancements Atomwise has made with its computational drug discovery platform have effectively cut months or even years off of the R&D lifecycle. More importantly, however, they are solving biology problems previously believed to be unsolvable by researchers and delivering that capability to everyone from academics to big pharma. We’re excited to continue to partner with the Atomwise team on its mission to develop new, more effective therapies.”

For lead investor, B Capital, the Atomwise investment is part of a thesis around lowering the cost of care and improving outcomes.

“Companies like Atomwise that are improving the cost curve are in the same vein of bringing therapies to market faster and cheaper. Which means you can improve access and improve costs and address things like rare diseases,” said Adam Seabrook, a principal at B Capital focused on healthcare.

#ame-cloud-ventures, #articles, #atomwise, #b-capital-group, #bayer, #biotechnology, #chief-executive-officer, #disease, #drug-development, #drug-discovery, #health, #healthcare, #insurance, #life-sciences, #machine-learning, #partner, #quantum-computing, #raj-ganguly, #series-b, #tc, #tencent, #y-combinator


Businesses Thought They Were Covered for the Pandemic. Insurers Say No.

The N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets and restaurants like Chez Panisse are among those suing their insurers for refusing to pay “business interruption” claims during the coronavirus outbreak.

#affiliated-fm-insurance, #chubb-corp, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #insurance, #law-and-legislation, #lloyds-of-london, #quarantines, #suits-and-litigation-civil


Amazon now sells auto insurance in India

Amazon’s India business said on Thursday it has begun offering auto insurance to cover two and four-wheeler in the country, marking American giant’s first foray into this financial services category globally.

The e-commerce giant said it had inked a deal with Mumbai-headquartered Acko General Insurance to offer customers car and motor-bike insurance. Amazon is also an investor in Acko.

Mahendra Nerurkar, chief executive and director of Amazon Pay in India, said on Wednesday evening at a fintech conference that the company was planning to expand its insurance service to offer coverage on health, flight, and cabs.

The auto insurance is available to customers through Amazon Pay on e-commerce giant’s website and app. The company said buying insurance will take less than two minutes and requires no paperwork.

“This coupled with services like hassle-free claims with zero paperwork, one-hour pick-up, 3-day assured claim servicing and 1 year repair warranty – in select cities, as well as an option for instant cash settlements for low value claims, making it beneficial for customers,” it added.

Customers who have subscribed to Amazon Prime, the company’s loyalty program that costs about $13 a year in India, will be able to access additional benefits and discounts, Amazon said without identifying those benefits.

India’s insurance market is the latest financial services sector that has attracted the attention of local and international tech giants. Paytm, India’s most valued startup, and its chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma, acquired insurance firm Raheja QBE for a sum of $76 million earlier this month.

In India only a fraction of the nation’s 1.3 billion people currently have access to insurance and some analysts say that digital firms could prove crucial in bringing these services to the masses.

According to rating agency ICRA, insurance products had reached less than 3% of the population as of 2017. An average Indian makes about $2,100 a year, according to the World Bank. Of those Indians who had purchased an insurance product they were spending less than $50 on it in 2017, ICRA estimated.

“Our vision is to make Amazon Pay the most, trusted, convenient and rewarding way to pay for our customers. Delighted by this experience, there has been a growing demand for more services. In line with this need, we are excited to launch an auto insurance product that is affordable, convenient, and provides a seamless claims experience,” said Vikas Bansal, director and head of financial services at Amazon Pay in India, in a statement.

Though Amazon Pay is available in several markets, the payments service’s offering in India remains unmatched. The company has used the world’s second largest internet market, where it has invested more than $6.5 billion to date, as testbed to explore various unique opportunities. Amazon Pay app in India, for instance, also sells movie and flight tickets.

#amazon, #amazon-india, #apps, #asia, #automotive, #finance, #flipkart, #india, #insurance, #paytm, #walmart


Don’t let VCs be the gatekeepers of your success

I have struggled for years about whether or not to write a piece like this.

Speaking out about racism goes against every lesson I have learned since I was the only Black kid in my first-grade class in the Boston suburbs:

Save candid conversations about race for Black people. You’re being a victim. People will think you’re whining or making excuses. They’re not interested. Don’t make white people feel uncomfortable.

In a professional environment, speaking up could be career suicide. But now is not the time to be silent.

The startup I founded, Indenseo, is a data and analytics software insurtech company that provides automated underwriting services, software and analytics services to the insurance industry.

Despite strong customer relationships and support from angel investors, we didn’t complete building solutions and moving the company forward until we stopped taking unproductive pitch meetings with VCs. Some of my [white] colleagues who attended those meetings characterized these encounters as disrespectful and dismissive, but for me, they were par for the course.

Black founders have a better chance playing pro sports than landing VC funding

I was raised by a single mother in West Medford, Massachusetts, and worked my way through Harvard, located about five miles away. Before starting Indenseo, I worked for @Road, a fleet management telematics company that was acquired by Trimble, a company that says it transforms “the way the world works by delivering products and services that connect the physical and digital worlds.” There, I led a team that pioneered the sale of telematics data, which started with using data for traffic predictions and expanded to other markets, including insurance.

At Trimble, I saw the difficulty legacy insurance carriers faced when they tried to incorporate new types of data into their underwriting and business processes; I started Indenseo to solve this problem by combining deep insurance industry experience with the nimbleness of a startup.

I knew fundraising would be a challenge: Commercial auto insurance has been unprofitable for years, and industry executives would be naturally skeptical that my solution would make it better. As my insurance industry friends said, “you sure picked a hard problem to solve.”

Even as a first-time founder, I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to raise venture funding, but the experience offered some insights into why so few Black entrepreneurs are funded by VCs.

Insurance is not the most mainstream venture category, though in recent years many insurtech companies have received funding. And VCs are not accustomed to seeing Black founders in this space. The overall scarcity of Black founders suggests that they’re not used to seeing many of us, period.

The odds of winning a venture round are low for everyone, but Black founders have a better chance playing pro sports than they do landing venture investments.

The odds of winning a venture round are low for everyone, but Black founders have a better chance playing pro sports than they do landing venture investments.

According to a Harvard study, between 1990 and 2016, just 0.4% of the entrepreneurs who received funding were Black. That’s 188 Black entrepreneurs, versus 34,000 white entrepreneurs in total, or about seven per year. In 2016, nine Black NFL quarterbacks started at least one game during the season. Should anyone wonder why ambitious young Black men pursue sports careers?

I got the meetings and pitched Indenseo to investors in Silicon Valley, New York City, Chicago and Boston. I expected that my experience, my best-in-class team, the compelling Indeseo proposition, market fit, and the financial and advisory backing of notable insurance executives would land the dollars, despite the odds. I was wrong.

One recurring phenomenon we frequently encountered were dismissive and disrespectful investors (in the words of a white colleague). When I had one disappointing meeting after another, people in my multiracial network — many with extensive fundraising experience — told me it didn’t make sense. I’d resisted getting distracted by race as a factor, but white colleagues were saying that something wasn’t adding up.

As Toni Morrison said, “The very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work.” My own lived experience is that it’s an added factor that Black entrepreneurs have to manage.

I assumed most investors were jerks, but my white colleagues were shocked

I followed advice given to many Black founders: take a white colleague to your pitch meeting. I brought colleagues who had done a lot of fundraising themselves; some of these meetings were with their contacts. I tried this strategy dozens of times, and my colleagues were repeatedly shocked at the treatment we received.

I assumed most investors were jerks in pitch meetings, but they told me the level of disrespect and dismissiveness I received was not typical.

But if I lose my temper, I’d likely be labeled as just another angry Black man.

I did let my frustration show once when I directed a VC’s attention to the milestones we’d met and industry support we had gathered.

“What does it take for us to get a check from you?” I asked. His response: There is nothing you can say or do to get me to invest, but if you get another VC to lead the round, call me.

In another conversation with a VC, I pointed out the lack of diversity in both the ranks of investors and the entrepreneurs they choose to fund. He replied that Silicon Valley has produced the greatest accumulation of wealth in human history in the last 25 years. Why do we need to change anything?

GW Chew is a friend and a Black founder who was also having difficulty getting VC funding for his vegan meat company, Something Better Foods. He approached investors to raise funds to meet the fast expanding demand for his products. Talk about traction.

A white investor told Chew that if the founder/CEO were white, the company would have raised millions already. My friend told me he’s no longer talking to VCs and is raising funds from alternative sources.

Then there are the grifters. I don’t think Black founders are the only ones whose ideas get stolen after pitch meetings, but it happened to me.

We pitched a VC firm that had a consultant with an insurance background on their team to help evaluate the Indenseo opportunity. VCs don’t sign NDAs, but we did sign one with the consultant, who said Black founders can’t get companies funded but white founders can. (Yes, he said it.)

He later tried to ingratiate himself by saying he was considering investing too. Instead, he founded a company that copied our ideas. (So much for our NDA.)

Eventually, he told me, “I like your team. Call me when the wheels fall off.” When he announced his new company, we saw that he was backed by the VC who brought him into our meeting. He has since gone on to raise more than $40 million.

So why didn’t I sue him for violating the NDA? I consulted with some of our angel investors and they said we would be better off fighting them in the marketplace, given our limited time and resources. It wasn’t the first time our ideas were stolen.

When another company we pitched appropriated some of our ideas, my contact there informed his executives that they’d signed an NDA with Indenseo. Their reply: Indenseo doesn’t have the money to sue us. But they weren’t domain experts and we had left out much about our plans: They announced their launch in The Wall Street Journal, but as I expected, they failed.

I’ve never pitched at a VC firm that had a Black person in the room

Am I calling VCs racists? I don’t know what’s in their hearts, but I do know what’s in their numbers. Dealing with unconscious bias is difficult because as a Black entrepreneur trying to build a company, you know it exists and you have to figure out a way to manage around it. But it’s a subtle problem.

I don’t think VCs wake up in the morning and consciously decide not to invest in Black entrepreneurs or businesses intentionally choose not to buy from companies founded by Black entrepreneurs. But, the results of who receives investment and who doesn’t are quantifiable: few VC funds have Black employees or invest in companies started by Black founders.

I have never pitched at a VC firm that had a Black person in the room. And the pipeline excuse doesn’t work. There are Black people with technical degrees who aren’t hired at VC firms and white VC investment partners who earned liberal arts degrees.

Sure, there are funds started by Black VCs, but they encounter unconscious bias too when raising money. While more Black VCs with more capital is a crucial element of addressing underrepresentation, does that mean VC firms that aren’t founded by Black investors don’t have to change anything?

Deciding to stop the time-consuming VC pitch process and go in another direction to fund and develop the company was quite liberating. Moving forward, we’re free to manage our startup without wondering how VCs will view our decisions in the future when we seek funding.

We raised money from angel investors (including the former CEO of one of the world’s leading analytics software companies and his wife). In addition to money, it expanded our knowledge and it improved our products. Another lesson learned: Angel investors may be more helpful to your company than VCs.

The ultimate judgment on Indenseo’s products and team will be rendered by customers, partners and domain experts. The insurance industry has unique metrics that determine a company’s profitability. If you’re selling analytics software and services, either your solution is helping improve those metrics or it isn’t. The insurance industry is validating our market fit and survival skills.

Don’t let VCs be the gatekeepers of your success

I was able to build Indenseo without VCs because the insurance industry operates differently from VCs. One of the keys to success in the insurance industry is developing trust. Insurance isn’t a tangible product. It offers the promise that when a customer pays its premiums the insurance company will be able to support them when they file a claim. Without trust, a company can’t succeed in the industry.

There is a process to get insurance industry trust, and many senior executives in the industry are reluctant to invest the time in startups that’s necessary for them to get that trust. That’s because they aren’t convinced the startup will persevere to get through the process of getting that trust. We are able to get time with those executives because they trust our team and they don’t doubt that it’s worth their time to talk to Indenseo. They know we won’t fold when times are difficult.

A change I’ve seen since I started Indenseo that works in our favor is insurers don’t rely on VCs to act as a de facto screen for which insurtechs have the best teams and solutions. That’s because they don’t have confidence in investors’ judgments about insurtech companies.

Another lesson I’ve learned from my experiences: Don’t let VCs be the gatekeepers of your success. There are other funding sources, such as angel investors, corporate strategic investors, crowdfunding and more. There is funding outside the United States. Don’t overlook international investors: There is wealth in African countries. I found a way of funding the company that works for Indenseo.

We’ve developed Indenseo with angel investors and sweat equity. The key to our success is the amazing team, our advisory board and using capital efficiently. They remind me that you’re not the only one with an emotional investment in this company. When I started this company the only people in the insurance industry I knew were the people I had interacted with when I worked at Trimble.

Most of the people on our advisory board and team with insurance industry backgrounds are people I’ve met since I started Indenseo. It takes time to build those relationships. Because of them there is no corner of the commercial property casualty insurance industry we can’t access. The head of insurtech at a global reinsurance company told me that ours is the best balanced team of any insurtech company they’ve seen.

We are in the early stages of showing our flagship product, and it isn’t available for general release yet. Our VP of Engineering is telling me about a new concern: that we don’t take on too many customers too quickly.

#auto-insurance, #column, #diversity, #entrepreneurship, #harvard, #insurance, #insurtech, #opinion, #racism, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch-include, #trimble


Russia’s BestDoctor attracts international investors for its $4.5M round

The private medical insurance market is expanding year on year by over 5%, and that includes in Russia where the insurance market – which grew by 4% in 2019 – has reached a value of almost $22 billion.

So it’s not that surprising that Russian insurtech startup BestDoctor has now closed its third round of financing for $4.5 million. Lead investors AddVenture, based out of Moscow, and Target Global, based out of Berlin, were joined by the London-based LVL1 fund, which had previously invested in the company.

BestDoctor is an online medical insurance platform offering private medical insurance for companies and their employees. As well as insurance, its also delivers 24/7 health support and medical consultations via its mobile app. Users can also get access to recommendations on preventive care and online support from BestDoctor physicians. The idea is that users save up to 23% on their annual medical expenses, and up to 95% of users renew the contract after a year.
Its clients largely consist of Russian corporates including Voximplant, Faberlic, Ivideon, Prisma Labs and Rambler Group, which add up to over 30,000 people. It also collaborates with 11,000 clinics across Russia.

Mark Sanevich, BestDoctor’s CEO and co-founder says the need for online medical services was amplified during the pandemic: “Our business received a strong boost. Now we are going to focus on establishing a comprehensive platform on the basis of medical insurance.”

Target Global Managing Partner Mikhail Lobanov said: “BestDoctor is a rare example of a company that combines medicine and high-tech, while directly connecting employers with medical clinics. High-tech private medical insurance, with the ability to consult a doctor 24/7 ensures transparency of all expenses.”

AddVenture managing partner Maxim Medvedev said: “By summer 2019, BestDoctor had a good head start: it had large enterprise clients, the company figured out the market’s problems and needs, and dozens of product ideas were tested.”

BestDoctor plans to spend the newly raised funds on developing its software and also plans to expand its sales activity, concentrating on new product segments.

#addventure, #berlin, #europe, #health-insurance, #insurance, #london, #managing-partner, #moscow, #prisma-labs, #russia, #target-global, #tc


Insurance data analytics platform Planck raises $16 million Series B

Planck, an AI-based data platform for insurance underwriting, announced today that it has raised a $16 million Series B led by Team8 Capital. All of the startup’s existing investors—Viola FinTech, Arbor Ventures and Eight Roads—also participated, while Nationwide and Hannover Digital Investments joined as strategic investors.

Based in New York, Planck provides large insurance companies with data analytics. The startup doesn’t disclose its exact number of customers, but co-founder and CEO Elad Tsur told TechCrunch it currently works with “dozens of commercial insurance companies in the U.S., and among them are more than half of the top-30 insurers.” Clients include Chubb, Great American Insurance Group’s Republic Indemnity and AIG’s Attune.

Planck provides insurance-related data analytics for more than 50 major business segments, including restaurants, construction and manufacturing, and insurances lines like workers compensation and general liability.

Its platform’s ability to provide real-time insights means can help insurance providers keep up with increased inquiries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tsur said. For example, Planck anticipates higher levels of submissions as business owners who need to cut costs shop around for less costly policies. On the renewal side, businesses are also making major changes to their operations, including the types of services they offer, or seeking additional coverage. This means insurance carriers are dealing with more volume at a time when many of their employees are still working from home.

Planck draws on a large range of sources for data, including online images, text, videos, reviews and public records, to generate risk-related insights for a business using its name and address.

“Take a healthcare business as an example. Planck will return simple insights such as having an ER operations, and well as more complex insights such as the type of NIV equipment, opioids and type of surgeries performed in the business,” said Tsur.

Planck was launched in 2016 by Tsur and Cohen, co-founders of data mining startup BlueTail, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2012 and rebranded as Salesforce Einstein, and David Schapiro, former CEO of banking and insurance pricing SaaS company Earnix. The company’s Series B brings its total raised so far to $28 million. The new funding earmarked for global expansion, starting with Germany next year.

Tsur said the company picked Germany because it “is one of the largest commercial insurance markets in the world, and has a very open and innovative state of mind. We also wish to demonstrate our strength and capabilities in non-English speaking countries, as our AI platform was built to be language agnostic, and prepare for further global expansion.”

#data-analytics, #fundings-exits, #insurance, #insurance-underwriting, #insurtech, #planck-re, #startups, #tc


Tictrac secures $7.5M to expand employee wellbeing platform as WFH baloons

“Employee Wellbeing” SaaS platforms have been around for some time. Both regulation and increasing stress levels and health problems in the workplace have fed the rise of this sector of tech, and with many corporates painting long-term contracts with providers, it’s a lucrative business. Furthermore, with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, large remote-workforces look here to stay for the foreseeable future and are likely to need these platforms more than ever. Notable players in the space include Rally Health, Dacadoo and Virgin Pulse.

Tictrac is a startup in this space that uses a combination of personalized content, lifestyle campaigns and incentivized challenges to motivate staff. It combines this with behavioral science to identify trigger points to egg-on staff to positive behaviors. Existing investors of Tictrac include world-class tennis champion, Andy Murray and American basketball player, Carmelo Anthony who has been named an NBA All-Star 10 times.

Today it secures a £6m ($7.5M) in a funding round led by London-based Puma Private Equity, bringing its total investment to date to £13.5m ($17M). The latest round will allow the company to expand its Employee Wellbeing platform for its thousand-plus customers. It will also now expand its Enterprise platform, which enables insurance companies and health providers to engage their customers in their health and tailor relevant products and services to them.

Tictrac relies heavily on content, contributed by well-known health and fitness influencers, covering fitness, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, recipes and blog posts which provide its users with inspiration and advice on how to improve their lifestyle.

Unlike a lot of other “Employee Welbeing” platforms, users can follow the content or experts that they can relate to (much like with Instagram, Calm or Glo Yoga) powered by a campaign engine that delivers creative themes across Tictrac features, like healthy habit-forming action plans and activity challenges.

Founded in 2010, the company has partnered with healthcare and insurance providers including Aviva, Allianz and Prudential.

In a statement Martin Blinder, CEO and founder of Tictrac, commented: “Now more than ever, companies have a greater role and responsibility in supporting the health of their workforce. And while businesses are focused on sustaining retention and productivity – particularly with so many people working remotely – they are now tasked with trying to navigate health issues such as burn-out and striking a healthy work-life balance.”

Rupert West, Managing Director at Puma Private Equity said: “We have been consistently impressed with Tictrac’s ability to heighten health and wellbeing engagement, which in turn will help alleviate some of the pressures our health services continue to face.”

#allianz, #aviva, #carmelo-anthony, #europe, #health-services, #healthcare, #instagram, #insurance, #london, #national-basketball-association, #nba, #puma-private-equity, #tc


Rivian is building an in-house insurance agency

Rivian is hiring an insurance agency data manager, a job posting that suggests the all-electric automaker is planning to offer its own insurance to customers.

The job was first posted by RivianForums, which also reached out to TechCrunch with the tip. Roadshow/CNET also reported about this new position. Rivian wouldn’t provide more details about its plans, but did confirm it has some job postings in the area of insurance.

The job is to lead Rivian’s property and casualty (P&C) insurance agency, a position that entails recruiting, training, coaching and managing employed licensed sales agents and an insurance customer care team, according to the posting on Rivian’s website. The employee will also sell insurance products and provide feedback to partners on opportunities, the posting said.

The posting, which seeks someone with more than 10 years of experience and who is a licensed in P&C in multiple states, suggests this will be a global product. The job is curiously based at the automaker’s factory in Normal, Ill., and not at its Plymouth, Mich. headquarters.

The move appears to follow Tesla’s lead. Last August, Tesla  launched an insurance product, promising owners of its electric vehicles to deliver rates 20% and even as high as 30% lower than other insurance providers. The product known as Tesla Insurance is only available to owners in California. The business will expand to additional U.S. states in the future, Tesla has said.

#automotive, #economy, #finance, #illinois, #insurance, #michigan, #money, #normal, #rivian, #techcrunch


Will Bars Exist in NYC After the Coronavirus?

Even when businesses like mine can open up for real, it will be very hard to keep them going in a socially distanced world.

#bars-and-nightclubs, #brooklyn-nyc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #insurance, #long-island-bar-brooklyn-ny, #real-estate-commercial, #restaurants, #shutdowns-institutional, #taxation


Arts Groups Fight Their Insurers Over Coverage on Virus Losses

The debate over who should get payouts under their policies has entered the courts, state legislatures and Washington.

#american-museum-of-natural-history, #brooklyn-nyc, #carnegie-hall, #chocolate-factory-the, #chubb-corp, #clinton-hill-brooklyn-ny, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #culture-arts, #dance-theater-of-harlem, #insurance, #jack-brooklyn-ny-performance-space, #metropolitan-opera, #national-assn-of-theater-owners, #nonprofit-organizations, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #wiesenthal-simon-center


Igloo raises $8.2M to bring insurance to more people in Southeast Asia

Singapore-based Igloo, formerly known as Axinan, has raised $8.2 million as the insurance-tech startup looks to broaden its foothold in half a dozen Southeast Asian markets and Australia.

InVent, a corporate venture capital arm of telecommunications firm Intouch Holdings, led Igloo’s extended Series A round, the startup told TechCrunch. Existing investors Openspace Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in Southeast Asia, and Linear Capital, a Shanghai-based early-stage venture capital firm focusing on tech-driven startups, participated in this round, which makes four-year-old Igloo’s to-date raise to $16 million. It raised about $1 million in its Seed financing round.

Igloo — founded by Wei Zhu, who previously served as Chief Technology Officer at Grab — works with e-commerce and travel firms such as Lazada, RedDoorz, and Shopee in Southeast Asia to offer their customers insurance products that provide protection on electronics, and coverage on accidents and travel.

The startup, which also operates in Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, said more than 15 million users have benefitted from its insurance products to date, and in the last one year it has processed more than 50 million transactions.

Igloo, which rebranded from Axinan this month, said insurance products are proving especially useful to — and popular among — people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Wei Zhu told TechCrunch that the startup has seen a surge in transactions and customer acquisitions in the last 45 days. “While some travel related business have seen a dip, the larger e-commerce business continues to see a surge,” he added.

“With COVID-19 impacting every facet of personal life and business, digitisation can help the world adjust to the new normal. This is especially apparent in insurance, where we can tap on digital channels for distribution and also for creating awareness,” he said.

“We see that digital insurance is on the rise in Southeast Asia, and we believe that Igloo, with our digital-first approach and expansion of our product portfolio into personal health, accident and other related products can help fill those gaps and address consumers’ needs for personal well-being,” he added.

He said the digital insurance penetration remains low in Southeast Asia, and Igloo sees massive opportunity in the space. According to one estimate (PDF), Southeast Asia’s digital insurance market is currently valued at $2 billion and is expected to grow to $8 billion by 2025.

The startup, which competes with a handful of startups including Singapore Life and Saphron, will use the fresh capital to expand its business development and engineering teams and broaden its presence in the half-dozen markets. It is already engaging with telecom operators, banks,