Just raises $8M in its effort to beat Root at the car insurance game

Just Insure, a pay-per-mile insurance technology company, has raised $8 million in a funding round. 

CrossCut Ventures, ManchesterStory and Western Technology Investments co-led the investment, which brings its total raised to $15.3 million since its January 2019 inception.

Los Angeles-based Just says it uses telematics “to reward safe drivers and reduce insurer bias” by looking at factors such as how, when and where customers drive, rather than factors such as ZIP code or marital status as most traditional insurers do. Or put more simply, it charges customers only for miles driven and its rates vary based on driving behavior. This way, Just says it’s able to offer lower rates for “safer drivers,” and it claims to save its customers around 40% from their “previous auto insurance company.” For now, it’s only available in Arizona, although the company plans to expand to other markets such as Texas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia.

Image Credits: Just Insure

Of course, Just is not the first company to offer personalized auto insurance. There’s Metromile, which launched its personalized pay-per-mile auto insurance in 2012. And there’s also Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurance startup that uses smartphone technology to understand individual driver behavior. Although there are similarities between Root and Just, there are also distinct differences, according to founder and CEO Robert Smithson.

Root charges customers a monthly fee, and when policies are renewed, the rate is subject to change based on driving behavior. Just has a similar model. If its drivers exhibits safe driving behavior, their rates can fall. On the other hand, if they exhibit dangerous behavior, their rates can rise. But unlike Root, Smithson said, Just only charges its “liability only” customers for miles driven. There is no monthly fee. For “full cover” customers, Just also includes a “small daily charge” to reflect the risk that someone could steal their car. For its part, MetroMile charges customers a base rate plus a per mile rate. Neither rate are affected by how a person drives, notes Smithson.

“The [Just] per mile price that a customer gets can change every month. This means we’re able to rapidly reward safe drivers with lower rates, and to increase them for those who drive less well,” Smithson said. “This rapid feedback loop encourages people to make smarter driving decisions. And it means that our customers have fewer accidents, and we do better. ”

In 2020, Root had a direct loss ratio of 82%. Just’s direct loss ratio is 65.8% year to date so far. But of course, it has far fewer customers and is only serving one market. Still, the company says that it has already achieved underwriting profitability in terms of what portion of premium to it pays out in claims.

Also, with so many people shifting to working from home over the last year, Just says it has seen increased demand this year. It issued over 1,000 new policies in the second quarter, up “tenfold” compared to the same period in 2020. The startup said during that same time, its revenue climbed 1,400% compared to the second quarter of 2020

“People are simply driving less as a result of increased work-from-home rates, and this isn’t changing anytime soon,” Smithson said. “Our approach enables us to offer customers rates that are truly reflective of their driving.”

The company likens its user experience to that of a prepaid phone card. Just customers can “load up” their account for $30 for minimum liability-only coverage and $75 for full coverage to start driving. The company’s insurance policy is for 30 days. So as customers drive, their balance declines. Every 30 days, the company changes each customer’s price as it gathers more data about their driving habits.

It’s an approach that Matt Kinley, co-founder and managing partner at ManchesterStory, had never before seen.

“It is more fair, affordable and customized across the board, and unique because the company offers customers rates that are actually reflective of their driving, which rewards safe drivers with lower insurance premiums,” he said.

The company plans to use its new capital in part to do some hiring — it currently has a staff of 35 — and scale its product offering. It is also planning to launch beyond Arizona into neighboring states. In particular, Smithson said the startup is “keen” to launch in Texas.

#apps, #crosscut-ventures, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #insurance-technology, #insurtech, #just, #los-angeles, #manchesterstory, #recent-funding, #startup, #startups, #transportation, #venture-capital, #western-technology-investments

Indonesia-based Rey Assurance launches its holistic approach to insurance with $1M in funding

Rey Assurance co-founders Bobby Siagian and Evan Tanotogono

Rey Assurance co-founders Bobby Siagian and Evan Tanotogono

Health insurance is the kind of thing people usually only think about only when they need it. Otherwise, their policies are just paperwork in their files or cards in their wallet. Indonesian insurtech Rey Assurance is taking a new approach. Once someone becomes a member, they also get access to a platform of health services, including AI-based self-assessment tools, 24/7 telemedicine consultations for no added fee and pharmacy deliveries. The startup is launching out of stealth today, having already raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from the Trans-Pacific Technology Fund (TPTF). 

Rey was founded this year by Evan Tanotogono, former head of digital channel at Sequis, one of Indonesia largest insurers, and Bobby Siagian, who held lead engineering roles at companies including Tokopedia and Sea Group. They are joined by insurance industry veteran David Nugrho as their chief business officer. 

They created Rey to address the low penetration of life and health insurance in Indonesia. “When you look at the root causes and pain points, you are looking at problems that are systemic here,” Tanotogono said. These include low awareness, expensive distribution channels like agents and telemarketing, high premiums and complicated policies.

“People feel like the product is really complex, the process is difficult and they don’t get the best value for the money. It’s been that way for many, many years,” he told TechCrunch. “We believe that we cannot just go into the market and digitize part of the value chain.”

Plans start from about $4 USD per month and are available for individual or groups, like families, and small businesses. Rey’s wellness ecosystem was created to give customers more value for their money, and help differentiate it from other companies in Indonesia’s growing insurtech industry. Some other startups that have recently raised funding include Lifepal, PasarPolis and Qoala.

“Right now, if you look at insurance in Indonesia, if the premium is high, maybe 80% or 90% of that is used for the distribution channel. Now if we optimize something for digital distribution, then we can reduce the price and use the rest for the wellness features,” Tanotogono added. 

TPTF managing partner Glenn Kline told TechCrunch that Rey’s founding team was “really the driver” for its investment. “We felt these people really know where the pain points are and they understand clearly how not to try to change the legacy system, but create a whole new platform from the very beginning, where the core value proposition is an integrated solution that is simple and hassle-free.” 

Instead of doing the underwriting themselves, Rey works with insurance partners to design proprietary policies. The goal is to have an onboarding process that is completely online and only takes about five minutes, and a mostly cashless claim and reimbursement system through Rey’s payment cards. If its payment card can’t be used at healthcare provider, claims can be submitted by uploading receipt photos to the app. 

Tanotogono said this is much faster than traditional insurance providers, which can take up to 14 working days to reimburse a claim, and made possible with Rey’s proprietary claim adjudication technology. 

Rey’s wellness ecosystem currently covers primary care services, including chats and video calls with medical providers. In the future, it plans to add specialists to the platforms.

Customers can also link their health wearables for incentives. For example, if they hit certain step or activity goals, they get rewards like discounts or shopping vouchers. Rey’s long-term plan is to link wearables more deeply to its insurance policies, using data to personalize policies and premiums.

#asia, #fundings-exits, #health-insurance, #indonesia, #insurance, #insurtech, #southeast-asia, #startups, #tc

Startup insurance provider Vouch raises $90M, now valued at $550M

Vouch, a provider of business insurance to startups and high-growth companies, announced today it has raised $90 million in new funding.

The $90 million figure was raised across two rounds: a $60 million Series C co-led by SVB Capital (a subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank) and Ribbit Capital that values the company at $550 million, and a previously unannounced $30 million Series B1 led by Redpoint Ventures.

With the latest financing, San Francisco-based Vouch has now raised a total of $160 million since its 2018 inception. Other investors include Allegis Group, Sound Ventures and SiriusPoint.

While there are many insurance technology companies out there that serve consumers, there are far fewer that offer it to companies, much less startups. Vouch describes itself as “a new kind of insurance platform” for startups that offers fully digital, “tailored coverage that takes minutes to activate.”

Over the past year, Vouch has seen impressive growth. The company declined to reveal hard revenue figures, but said it saw “7x” increase in its customer base year over year and currently protects over $5.7 billion in risk across thousands of policies. Today, Vouch has more than 1,600 clients, including Pipe, Middesk, Neighbor and Routable. It is also the “preferred” business insurance provider to the customers of Silicon Valley Bank, Brex, Carta and WeWork. Y Combinator too also refers Vouch to its portfolio companies. 

To Vouch co-founder and CEO Sam Hodges, the ability to attract some of the highest-profile businesses in the startup world speaks to the company’s understanding of the startup ecosystem. 

“It’s our responsibility to meet startup founders where they are, and give startups flexibility as they navigate changing laws, regulations and the virtual and physical locations of their businesses,” he said.

Like many other companies, Vouch had to shift its model during the pandemic to adapt to the different types of emerging risks businesses have faced. For example, last year, Vouch saw a change in where its startup clients’ teams were distributed. Before the pandemic, nearly 30% of the teams were remote. During the pandemic, that figure has shifted to over 53%. As a result, Vouch developed a broader range of insurance coverages to adapt to the “new normal.”

Included in its new line of proprietary products and services aimed at startups are: work from anywhere coverage, broader cyber coverages and embedded insurance. It also expanded its underwriting capabilities to serve early-stage to growth-market startups.

In particular, the work from anywhere coverage is in direct response to the pandemic-related shift in remote work and can insure up to $500,000 per occurrence and can include a specified property owned by a startup regardless of the location of that property.

One major differentiator for Vouch, said Hodges, is that it is now the only business insurance provider that has its own insurance carrier, which means the company backs its own policies.

“This capability means we have a lot of control over how we build and underwrite our policies — which translates into superior coverage and a better experience for our clients,” he said.

 Hodges co-founded Vouch with Travis Hedge three years ago after seeing how challenging it could be for a company to get the business insurance it needs to start and then scale.

The goal is to make it as easy as possible to onboard new customers and personalize the coverage as much as possible based on each company’s needs based on what they do, their customer base, stage of growth and the founder’s threshold for risk.

“A typical client can get a quote and bind their coverage online in under 10 minutes, without any phone calls or paperwork,” he told TechCrunch. “Vouch also has many coverage features that are uniquely geared for startups. For example, our directors and officers coverage includes a cap table coverage feature meant specifically to protect startups.”

Vouch looks at startups that need business insurance on a case by case basis, Hodges added. 

For example, it asks questions like, “Does an e-commerce company handle a very limited amount of client-sensitive information?” If so, it could make sense that it has a lower cyber insurance coverage limit and pay less for its policy. 

Conversely, if a startup is trying to raise money, it might need to invest more in Vouch’s directors and officers insurance to make sure it is covered should disputes arise in the future. 

Looking ahead, Hodges said the new capital would go toward continued investment in technical capabilities, an expansion of its product offerings, more hiring and building embedded insurance for its partners.

With regard to the embedded capabilities, within the next 12 months, all of the company’s partners’ customers will be able to purchase Vouch insurance directly from those partners’ websites. Vouch’s headcount has more than doubled, from 55 employees in September 2020 to 125 full-time employees presently, and Hodges expects that will continue to grow.

Greg Becker, president and CEO of SVB Financial Group, said that Vouch’s mission aligns with SVB’s in that they both aim to “empower the innovation economy.” 

That’s what Vouch is doing today, helping startups and tech innovators mitigate their risks as they grow,” he wrote via email. “We are proud to co-lead Vouch’s latest funding round to give startups access to the insurance they need as they add headcount, increase their customer base, or raise funding rounds of their own.”

#digital-insurance, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #insurance-technology, #insurtech, #recent-funding, #ribbit-capital, #san-francisco, #startup, #startups, #svb-capital, #venture-capital, #vouch

Bangkok-based insurtech Sunday banks $45M Series B from investors like Tencent

Sunday, an insurtech startup based in Bangkok, announced it has raised a $45 million Series B. Investors include Tencent, SCB 10X, Vertex Growth, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India, Quona Capital, Aflac Ventures and Z Venture Capital. The company says the round was oversubscribed, and that it doubled its revenue growth in 2020.

Founded in 2017, Sunday describes itself as a “full-stack” insurtech, which means it handles everything from underwriting to distribution of its policies. Its products currently include motor and travel insurance policies that can be purchased online, and Sunday Health for Business, a healthcare coverage program for employers. Sunday also offers subscription-based smartphone plans through partners.

The company uses AI and machine learning-based technology underwrite its motor insurance and employee health benefits products, and says its data models also allow it to automate pricing and scale its underwriting process for complex risks. Sunday says it currently serves 1.6 million customers.

The new funding will be used to expand in Indonesia and develop new distribution channels, including insurance agents and SMEs.

Insurance penetration is still relatively low in many Southeast Asian markets, including Indonesia, but the industry is gaining traction thanks to increasing consumer awareness. The COVID-19 pandemic also drove interest in financial planning, including investment and insurance, especially health coverage.

Other insurtech startups in Indonesia that have recently raised funding include Lifepal, PasarPolis, Qoala and Fuse.

In a statement, Sunday co-founder and chief executive officer Cindy Kuo said, “Awareness for health insurance will continue to increase and we believe more consumers would be open to shop for insurance online. We plan to expand our platform architecture to offer retail insurance to our health members and partners while we continue to grow our portfolio in Thailand and Indonesia.”

#asia, #fundings-exits, #indonesia, #insurance, #insurtech, #southeast-asia, #startups, #sunday, #tc, #thailand

Shepherd raises $6.2M seed round to tackle the construction insurance market

Shepherd, an insurtech startup focused on the construction market, has closed a $6.15 million seed round led by Spark Capital. The funding event comes after the startup raised a pre-seed round in February led by Susa Ventures, which also participated in Shepherd’s latest fundraising event.

Thinking broadly, Shepherd fits into a theme of neoinsurance providers selling more to other companies than to consumers. Insurtech startups serving consumers enjoyed years of venture capital backing only to find their public debuts met with early optimism followed quickly by eroding share prices.

But companies like Shepherd — and Blueprint Title earlier this week — are wagering on there being margin elsewhere in the insurance world to attack. For Shepherd, the construction market is its target, an industry that it intends to carve into starting with excess liability coverage.

The company’s co-founder and CEO, Justin Levine, told TechCrunch that contractors in the construction space have a number of insurance requirements, including general liability, commercial auto and so forth. But construction projects often also require more liability coverage, which is sold as excess or umbrella policies.

Targeting the middle-market of the construction space — companies doing $25 million to $250 million in projects per year, in its view — Shepherd wants to lean on technology as a way to help underwrite customers.

Levine said that his company’s offering will have two core parts. The first is what you expected, namely a complete digital experience for customers. The CEO likened its digital offering to table stakes for the insurtech world. We agree. But the company gets more interesting when we consider its second half, namely its work to partner with construction tech providers to help it make underwriting decisions.

The startup has partnered with Procore, for example, a company that invested in its business.

The concept of leaning on third-party software companies to help make underwriting decisions makes some sense — companies that are more technology-forward in terms of adopting new techniques and methods won’t have the same underwriting profile as companies that don’t. Generally, more data makes for better underwriting decisions; linking to the software that helps construction companies function makes good sense from that perspective.

The CEO of Procore agrees, telling TechCrunch that an early customer of his business said that its product is “a risk management solution disguised as construction management software.” The more risk that is managed, the lower Shepherd’s loss ratios may prove over time, allowing it to better compete on price.

On the subject of price, Levine thinks that the construction insurance market is suffering at the moment. Rising settlement costs have led to some legacy insurance books in the space with larger-than-anticipated losses, pushing some providers to raise prices. Levine’s view is that that Shepherd’s ability to enter its market without a legacy book of business will help it offer competitive rates.

Excess liability coverage is the “wedge” that Shepherd intends to use to get into the construction insurance market, it said, with intention of launching other products in time. The startup is attacking excess liability coverage first, its CEO said, because it’s the place of maximum pain in the larger construction insurance market.

Frankly, TechCrunch finds the B2B neoinsurance startup market fascinating. Selling policies to consumers has a particular set of cost of goods sold (COGS) — varying based on the type of coverage, of course — and often stark go-to-market costs. Furthermore, customer acquisition costs (CACs) can prove irksome when going up against national brands with huge budgets. Perhaps the business insurance market will prove more lucrative for upstart tech companies. Venture investors are certainly willing to place that particular wager.

Natalie Sandman led the deal for Spark, telling TechCrunch that when she first encountered Shepherd it was working on a different project, but that when it shifted its focus, it struck a chord with her firm. The investor said that the idea of bringing new data to the construction insurance underwriting process may help the company make smarter decisions. In the insurance world, better underwriting choices mean more profitable coverage. Which means greater future cash flows. And we all know that that means for value creation.

#fundings-exits, #insurtech, #neoinsurance, #spark-capital, #startups, #susa-ventures

Blueprint raises $16M Series B to grow its title-focused insurtech business

Blueprint Title, an insurtech startup working in the title insurance space, announced this morning that it closed a $16 million Series B. The new round was led by Forté Ventures. The startup previously raised an $8.5 million Series A in the final weeks of 2019.

While Blueprint is an insurtech startup and therefore fits into the neoinsurance cohort that we’ve tracked in recent quarters as a number of companies from the group have gone public, it’s somewhat distinct. Blueprint is different from the Roots and MetroMiles and Hippos that debuted via traditional IPOs or SPACs; it largely sells to business customers and has a very different product on offer.

The neoinsurance companies that went public in the last year and a half sell to consumers. Blueprint, in contrast, sells to professional groups looking for a better title insurance experience. That means its customer base is not made up of consumers hoping to cover their main residence, Blueprint CEO Steve Berneman told TechCrunch in an interview.

That means that the company’s go-to-market activities are distinct from its mates in the consumer-focused cohort and that its loss profile is very different.

Title insurance, Berneman said, has around a 1% to 4% claims rate, far lower than auto insurance, to pick an example. That means its risk profile is different, and its pricing less flexible; there’s less loss ratio to wring out of title insurance underwriting, so cost and delivery of service are even more important than in other insurance varietals.

According to the CEO, the title insurance market in the United States today is made up of four companies with around 90% market share. And thanks to rules requiring public pricing in many states, there’s alignment on pricing from some leading players. The result of market concentration and effective price harmonization is that Berneman thinks that the $18 billion title insurance business should really be a $10 billion market.

Our call with Blueprint was the first in which a startup discussed shrinking its market.

But the point is reasonable; if title insurance is mispriced, and Blueprint sells to corporate customers, it can likely offer profitable coverage at a lower-than-market price point — and grow quickly in the process. That appears to be the case, with the startup stating in a release that it anticipates 400% revenue growth in 2021 when compared to 2020.

That growth rate explains the Nashville-based company’s most recent round and what we presume was a stiff upsizing in its valuation.

As part of its funding round announcement, Blueprint also disclosed that it has purchased Southwest Land Title Insurance Company, an underwriting company. Berneman said that to shrink the title insurance market through more reasonable pricing, his company needs to be full-stack, i.e., both writing its own coverage and selling it. Otherwise, margins would leak on either side of its operations.

Blueprint, akin to Next Insurance, is a startup bet that selling insurance to business customers will prove to be a lucrative effort. Given that consumer-focused neoinsurance providers have seen Wall Street change its tune on their value, it will be interesting to watch this more B2B cohort grow and eventually debut.

#blueprint, #fundings-exits, #insurance, #insurtech, #startups, #tc, #title-insurance

Insurify, a ‘virtual insurance agent,’ raises $100M Series B

How many of us have not switched insurance carriers because we don’t want to deal with the hassle of comparison shopping?

A lot, I’d bet.

Today, Insurify, a startup that wants to help people make it easier to get better rates on home, auto and life insurance, announced that it has closed $100 million in an “oversubscribed” Series B funding round led by Motive Partners.

Existing backers Viola FinTech, MassMutual Ventures, Nationwide, Hearst Ventures and Moneta VC also put money in the round, as well as new investors Viola Growth and Fort Ross Ventures. With the new financing, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Insurify has now raised a total of $128 million since its 2013 inception. The company declined to disclose the valuation at which the money was raised.

Since we last covered Insurify, the startup has seen some impressive growth. For example, it has seen its new and recurring revenue increase by “6x” since it closed its Series A funding in the 2019 fourth quarter. Over the last three years, Insurify has achieved a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 151%, according to co-founder and CEO Snejina Zacharia. It has also seen consistent “2.5x” year-over-year revenue growth, she said.

Insurify has built a machine learning-based virtual insurance agent that integrates with more than 100 carriers to digitize — and personalize — the insurance shopping experience. There are others in the insurtech space, but none that we know of currently tackling home, auto and life insurance. For example, Jerry, which has raised capital twice this year, is focused mostly on auto insurance, although it does have a home product. The Zebra, which became a unicorn this year, started out as a site for people looking for auto insurance via its real-time quote comparison tool. Over time, it has also evolved to offer homeowners insurance with the goal of eventually branching out into renters and life insurance. But it too is mostly focused on auto.

Zacharia said that since Insurify’s Series A funding, it has expanded its home insurance marketplace, deepened its carrier integrations to provide users an “instant” purchase experience and launched its first two embedded insurance products through partnerships with Toyota Insurance Management Solutions and Nationwide (the latter of which also participated in the Series B funding round).

Image Credits: Insurify

Last year, when SkyScanner had to lay off staff, Insurify scooped up much of its engineering team and established an office in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Zacharia, a former Gartner executive, was inspired to start the company after she was involved in a minor car accident while getting her MBA at MIT. The accident led to a spike in her insurance premium and Zacharia was frustrated by the “complex and cumbersome” experience of car insurance shopping. She teamed up with Chief Product Officer Tod Kiryazov and her husband KAYAK President Giorgos Zacharia to build Insurify, which they describe as a virtual insurance agent that offers real-time quotes.

“We decided to build the most trusted virtual insurance agent in the industry that allows for customers to easily search, compare and buy fully digitally — directly from their mobile phone, or desktop, and really get a very smart, personalized experience based on their unique preferences,” Zacharia told TechCrunch. “We leverage artificial intelligence to be able to make recommendations on both coverage as well as carrier selection.”

Notably, Insurify is also a fully licensed agent that takes over the fulfillment and servicing of the policies. Since the company is mostly working as an insurance agent, it gets paid new and renewed commission. So while it’s not a SaaS business, its embedded insurance offerings have SaaS-like monetization.

“Our goal is to provide an experience for the end consumer that allows them to service and manage all of their policies in one place, digitally,” Zacharia said. “We think that the data recommendations that the platform provides can really remove most of the friction that currently exists in the shopping experience.”

Insurify plans to use its fresh capital to continue to expand its operations and accelerate its growth plans. It also, naturally, wants to add to its 125-person team.

“We want to build into our API integrations so customers can receive real-time direct quotes with better personalization and a more tailored experience,” Kiryazov said. “We also want to identify more embedded insurance opportunities and expand the product functionality.”

The company also down the line wants to expand into other verticals such as pet insurance, for example.

Insurify intends to use the money in part to build brand awareness, potentially through TV advertising.

“Almost half of our revenue comes from self-directed traffic,” Zacharia said. “So we want to explore more inorganic growth.”

James “Jim” O’Neill, founding partner at Motive Partners and industry partner Andy Rear point out that online purchasing now accounts for almost all of the growth in U.S. auto insurance. 

“The lesson from other markets which have been through this transition is that customers prefer choice, presented as a simple menu of products and prices from different insurers, and a straightforward online purchasing process,” they wrote via email. “The U.S. auto market is huge: even a slow transition to online means a massive opportunity for Insurify.”

In conducting their due diligence, the pair said they were impressed with how the startup is building a business model “that works for customers, insurers and white-label partners.”

Harel Beit-On, founder and general partner at Viola Growth, believes that the quantum leap in e-commerce due to COVID-19 will completely transform the buying experience in almost every sector, including insurance.

“It is time to bring the frictionless purchasing experience that customers expect to the insurance space as well,” she said. “Following our fintech fund’s recent investment in the company, we watched Insurify’s immense growth, excellent execution with customer acquisition and building a brand consumers trust.”

#artificial-intelligence, #auto-insurance, #cambridge, #finance, #fort-ross-ventures, #funding, #fundings-exits, #hearst-ventures, #insurance, #insurify, #insurtech, #life-insurance, #machine-learning, #massachusetts, #massmutual-ventures, #motive-partners, #recent-funding, #startups, #venture-capital, #viola-fintech, #viola-growth

Indonesian D2C insurance marketplace Lifepal raises $9M Series A

Choosing an insurance policy is one of the most complicated financial decisions a person can make. Jakarta-based Lifepal wants to simplify the process for Indonesians with a marketplace that lets users compare policies from more than 50 providers, get help from licensed agents and file claims. The startup, which says it is the country’s largest direct-to-consumer insurance marketplace, announced today it has raised a $9 million Series A. The round was led by ProBatus Capital, a venture firm backed by Prudential Financial, with participation from Cathay Innovation and returning investors Insignia Venture Partners, ATM Capital and Hustle Fund.

Lifepal was founded in 2019 by former Lazada executives Giacomo Ficari and Nicolo Robba, along with Benny Fajarai and Reza Muhammed. The new funding brings its total raised to $12 million.

The marketplace’s partners currently offer about 300 policies for life, health, automotive, property and travel coverage. Ficari, who also co-founded neobank Aspire, told TechCrunch that Lifepal was created to make comparing, buying and claiming insurance as simple as shopping online.

“The same kind of experience a customer has today on a marketplace like Lazada—the convenience, all digital, fast delivery—we saw was lacking in insurance, which is still operating with offline, face-to-face agents like 20 to 30 years ago,” he said.

Indonesia’s insurance penetration rate is only about 3%, but the market is growing along with the country’s gross domestic product thanks to a larger middle-class. “We are really at a tipping point for GDP per capita and a lot of insurance carriers are focusing more on Indonesia,” said Ficari.

Other venture-backed insurtech startups tapping into this demand include Fuse, PasarPolis and Qoala. Both Qoala and PasarPolis focus on “micro-policies,” or inexpensive coverage for things like damaged devices. PasarPolis also partners with Gojek to offer health and accident insurance to drivers. Fuse, meanwhile, insurance specialists an online platform to run their businesses.

Lifepal takes a different approach because it doesn’t sell micro-policies, and its marketplace is for customers to purchase directly from providers, not through agents.
Based on Lifepal’s data, about 60% of its health and life insurance customers are buying coverage for the first time. On the other hand, many automotive insurance shoppers had policies before, but their coverage expired and they decided to shop online instead of going to an agent to get a new one.

Ficari said Lifepal’s target customers overlap with the investment apps that are gaining traction among Indonesia’s growing middle class (like Ajaib, Pluang and Pintu). Many of these apps provide educational content, since their customers are usually millennials investing for the first time, and Lifepal takes a similar approach. Its content side, called Lifepal Media, focuses on articles for people who are researching insurance policies and related topics like personal financial planning. The company says its site, including its blog, now has about 4 million monthly visitors, creating a funnel for its marketplace.

While one of Lifepal’s benefits is enabling people to compare policies on their own, many also rely on its customer support line, which is staffed by licensed insurance agents. In fact, Ficari said about 90% of its customers use it.

“What we realize is that insurance is complicated and it’s expensive,” said Ficari. “People want to take their time to think and they have a lot of questions, so we introduced good customer support.” He added Lifepal’s combination of enabling self-research while providing support is similar to the approach taken by PolicyBazaar in India, one of the country’s largest insurance aggregators.

To keep its business model scalable, Lifepal uses a recommendation engine that matches potential customers with policies and customer support representatives. It considers data points like budget (based on Lifepal’s research, its customers usually spend about 3% to 5% of their yearly income on insurance), age, gender, family composition and if they have purchased insurance before.

Lifepal’s investment from ProBatus will allow it to work with Assurance IQ, the insurance sales automation platform acquired by Prudential Financial two years ago.

In a statement, ProBatus Capital founder and managing partner Ramneek Gupta said Lifepal’s “three-pronged approach” (its educational content, online marketplace and live agents for customer support) has the “potential to change the way the Indonesian consumer buys insurance.”

Part of Lifepal’s funding will be used to build products to make it easier to claim policies. Upcoming products include Insurance Wallet, which will include an application process with support on how to claim a policy—for example, what car repair shop or hospital a customer should go to—and escalation if a claim is rejected. Another product, called Easy Claim, will automate the claim process.

“The goal is to stay end-to-end with the customer, from reading content, comparing policies, buying and then renewing and using them, so you really see people sticking around,” said Ficari.

Lifepal is Cathay Innovation’s third insurtech investment in the past 12 months. Investment director Rajive Keshup told TechCrunch in an email that it backed Lifepal because “the company grew phenomenally last year (12X) and is poised to beat its aggressive 2021 plan despite the proliferation of the COVID delta variant, accentuating the fact that Lifepal is very much on track to replicate the success of similar global models such as Assurance IQ (US) and PolicyBazaar (India).”

#asia, #fundings-exits, #indonesia, #insurance, #insurtech, #southeast-asia, #startups, #tc

#Brandneu – 5 neue Startups: Insurfox, Priceloop, PickAnAnt, Poha House, Manuyoo


deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Insurfox
Das Hamburger InsurTech Insurfox kümmert sich um B2B-Versicherungen. Dabei fokussieren sich die Hanseaten auf die Mobilitäts-, Transport- und Logistikbranche. Das Startup verspricht dabei: “No paperwork. No waiting. All online. Welcome to a simpler way to get the insurance you need”.

Priceloop
Priceloop, das vom Contorion-Gründer Richard Schwenke und Dat Tran gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Software zur Optimierung von Verkaufspreisen. “Priceloop helps e-commerce and retail companies to be more successful by using data-driven pricing decisions”, heißt es in der Selbstbeschreibung der Jungfirma.

PickAnAnt
Das Berliner Startup PickAnAnt möchte sich als “zentrale Stelle für die Erledigung jeglicher Projekt-basierter Arbeit” etablieren. “Wir bieten dir eine Plattform für alle außergewöhnlichen oder auch alltäglichen Projekte, mit denen sich jede/r Geld dazuverdienen kann”, schreiben die Gründer.

Poha House
Hinter Poha House verbirgt sich ein Coliving-Anbieter aus Aachen. “Under one roof, we provide a range of high-quality furnished flats, flexible offices and community spaces that offer unrivalled comfort, eco-friendly design and an inspiring community”, teilt das junge Unternehmen in eigener Sache mit.

Manuyoo
Manuyoo aus Berlin bringen Produkte von afrikanischen Unternehmen auf den deutschen Markt. “Lokales Unternehmertum und möglichst hohe Wertschöpfung vor Ort sind die Grundprinzipien unserer Produktauswahl. Das fördert Strukturen, qualifizierte Arbeitsplätze und schafft Perspektiven”, teilt das Team mit.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #berlin, #brandneu, #co-living, #hamburg, #insurfox, #insurtech, #manuyoo, #pickanant, #poha-house, #priceloop, #pricing, #proptech, #social-startup

#DealMonitor – SellerX bekommt 10 Millionen – Freaks 4U Gaming sammelt 15 Millionen ein – Viva übernimmt Vicampo


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 12. August werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

SellerX
+++ L Catterton, ein amerikanisch-französisches Private-Equity-Unternehmen, Sofina und Altinvestoren wie Cherry Ventures, Felix Capital und 83North investieren 100 Millionen Euro in den Amazon-Shop-Aufkäufer SellerX. Insgesamt flossen nun schon rund 227 Millionen in SellerX (Risikokapital und Kredite). Über den Einstieg von L Catterton haben wir bereits Ende April im Insider-Podcast berichtet. Das Startup, das 2020 von Malte Horeyseck und Philipp Triebel gegründet wurde, kauft – wie dutzende andere Unternehmen – amazon-Shops an und versucht diese zu noch größerem Erfolg zu bringen. Rund 30 Marken kaufte das SellerX-Team in den vergangenen Monaten bereits. Rund 250 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken derzeit für die Jungfirma. Zu den Wettbewerbern von SellerXgehören die Berliner Razor Group, die Berlin Brands Group und The Stryze Group. Mehr über SellerX

Freaks 4U Gaming
+++ Co-Investor Partners – auch bei Mister Spex an Bord – investiert 15 Millionen Euro in Freaks 4U Gaming. Das Berliner Unternehmen, das 2011 von Michael Haenisch gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “globale Full-Service-Agentur, die sich auf Gaming und Esports spezialisiert” ist. Freaks 4U Gaming bietet verschiedenen Dienstleistungen an, “darunter strategische Beratung, Community- und Social-Media-Management, Turnier- und Event-Organisation, Influencer-Management und Multimedia-Produktion”. Die Hauptstädter schreiben zum Investment: “Freaks 4U Gaming wird das Investment für sein Wachstum nutzen und dabei auf Skalierbarkeit und Nachhaltigkeit setzen”.

Finlex
+++ BlackFin Capital Partners und Segenia Capital investieren 8 Millionen Euro in das Frankfurter Insurtech Finlex. Bei Finlex, das von Sebastian Klapper, Tomasz Kosecki und Christian Reddig geführt wird, dreht sich alles um Versicherungslösungen für Firmenkunden. In den vergangenen Jahren entwickelte sich das Fintech von einem reinen “Whole-sale”-Broker, zu einer Online-Plattform. “Das zusätzliche Kapital wird vor allem in den Ausbau der Plattform und die Erweiterung der Produktpalette fließen. Bis zum Spätsommer 2022 soll sich die Mitarbeiterzahl verdoppeln”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

Keleya 
+++ Crista Galli Ventures sowie Altinvestoren wie Calm/Storm Ventures und SeedLink investieren 3 Millionen Euro in Keleya. Das Berliner Startup, das 2017 von Victoria Engelhardt und Sarah Müggenburg gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Fitness- und Ernährungscoach für werdende Mütter. “Keleya will mit dem frischen Kapital zusätzliche digitale Services im Produktportfolio ergänzen und die Marktposition weiter stärken”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Vicampo
+++ Die schwedische Viva-Gruppe übernimmt den Online-Weinhändler Vicampo. “Die Vicampo.de GmbH wird im Zuge der Akquisition Teil der VIVA eCOM GROUP, in der seit 2020 bereits Wine in Black und die Vinexus-Gruppe zusammengefasst sind”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Mainzer Startup Vicampo, das 2012 von Felix Gärtner, Max Gärtner und Daniel Nitz gegründet wurde, erwirtschaftete 2019 einen Umsatz in Höhe von 41,4 Millionen Euro. Der Jahresüberschuss lag bei 750.637 Euro. Investoren wie das Medienhaus Burda, Passion Capital und Headline investierten in den vergangenen Jahren rund 20 Millionen in Vicampo. Zuletzt war auch das Familiy Office der Jägermeister-Erfinder am Unternehmen beteuligt. Rund 200 Mitarbeiter:innen wirkten zuletzt für den Marktplatz für Winzerweine. Mehr über Vicampo

WOW Tech / Lovehoney 
+++ Das Berliner Sexual Wellness-Unternehmen WOW Tech und der britische Onlinehändler Lovehoney schließen sich zur Lovehoney Group zusammen. “Der Merger vereint einige der bekanntesten Marken in der Branche unter einem Dach (Arcwave,?Fifty Shades?of?Grey, Happy Rabbit,?We-Vibe und?Womanizer) und bringt Bewegung in den Markt”. teilen die Firmen mit. Die WOW Tech-Geschichte bekann 2017, als Johannes von Plettenberg “gemeinsam mit einer Gruppe Investoren, die Marke Womanizer übernahm”. Im Jahr darauf fusionierte Womanizer mit dem kanadischen Sextoy Hersteller We-Vibe. Aus dieser Fusion entstand die WOW Tech Group. Lovehoney, ein Hersteller und Händler von Sextoys, übernahm zuletzt auch die Mehrheit am Schweizer Sextoy-Unternehmen Amorana.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#83north, #aktuell, #berlin, #calm-storm-ventures, #cherry-ventures, #co-investor-partners, #crista-galli-ventures, #felix-capital, #femtech, #finlex, #frankfurter-am-main, #freaks-4u-gaming, #insurtech, #keleya, #l-catterton, #lovehoney, #lovehoney-group, #mainz, #seedlink, #sellerx, #sex, #sofina, #venture-capital, #vicampo, #viva-ecom-group, #wein, #wow-tech

#DealMonitor – Kalera kauft &ever (Bewertung: 130 Millionen) – Chrono24 sammelt 100 Millionen ein – Perform bekommt 20 Millionen ein


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 11. August werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

&ever
+++ Der norwegische Vertical Farming-Anbieter Kalera übernimmt &ever. Kalera bewertet die Münchner Jungfirma dabei mit 130 Millionen Euro. “The consideration will consist of a combination of cash and Kalera shares. Under the terms of the agreement, &ever GmbH shareholders will receive EUR 21.6 million in cash and 27,856,081 Kalera shares at a subscription price of NOK 36.68. Kalera shareholders will own an 87% stake in the combined company, while current &ever GmbH shareholders will own 13%, on a fully-diluted basis”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. &ever wurde 2015 vom Vapiano-Gründer Mark Korzilius unter dem namen Farmers Cut ins Leben gerufen. &ever betreibt neben sogenannten In-Store Grow-Towers in Deutschland auch eine große Vertical Farming-Anlage in Kuwait. Mit einem ähnlichen Ansatz wie &ever ist Infarm unterwegs. Die Berliner dachten zuletzt über einen SPAC-IPO nach.

INVESTMENT

Chrono24
+++ Der Wachstumsinvestor General Atlantic und Aglaé Ventures (gehört zur Familie Arnault, die Anteile an Christian Dior und LVMH hält) sowie die Altinvestoren Insight Partners und Sprints Capital investieren 100 Millionen Euro in Chrono24. Insgesamt flossen nun schon rund 200 Millionen Euro in die Jungfirma. Chrono24 wurde bereits 2003 von Andrej Maric und der Axess New Media GmbH gegründet. Seit März 2010 haben Dirk Schwartz und Tim Stracke, die Gründer von mentasys (heute pangora), beim Luxusuhren-Marktplatz das Kommando. “Chrono24 will das frisch eingesammelte Kapital nutzen, um seinen Wachstumskurs zu beschleunigen und international weiter zu expandieren, seine Präsenz auf bestehenden Märkten auszubauen und sein globales Team mit zusätzlichen Toptalenten zu verstärken”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Rund 400 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken in Karlsruhe, Berlin, New York und Hongkong derzeit für Chrono24. Mehr über Chrono24

Parcel Perform 
+++ Cambridge Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia sowie die Altinvestoren Wavemaker Partners und Investible investieren 20 Millionen US-Dollar in Parcel Perform. Das Startup, das 2015 von den beiden Berlinern Dana von der Heide und Arne Jeroschewski in Singapur gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “Cloud-basierte Zustellplattform für E-Commerce-Unternehmen”. Derzeit arbeiten 100 Mitarbeiter:innen für die Jungfirma. “Parcel Perform ist profitabel und wächst kontinuierlich. Der Umsatz ist seit dem Ausbruch der COVID-19-Pandemie um das Fünffache gestiegen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über Parcel Perform 

Afilio
+++ CommerzVentures und Speedinvest sowie die beiden Altinvestoren Cherry Ventures und Cavalry Ventures investieren 13 Millionen US-Dollar in Afilio. Beim Berliner InsurTech, das 2017 von  Till Oltmanns, Philip Harms und Richard Musiol gegründet wurde, dreht sich alles um die Erstellung und Verwaltung von Vorsorge- und Nachlassdokumenten. Cherry Ventures, Cavalry Ventures und einige Business Angels investierten zuvor bereits rund 4,5 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen. Mehr über Afilio

Sunvigo
+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), der Climate-Tech-Investor Übermorgen Ventures und ein nicht genanntes Family Office investieren 3 Millionen Euro in Sunvigo. “Zudem hat Sunvigo mit der Deutschen Kreditbank AG (DKB) einen weiteren Kreditrahmen über 2,5 Milionen Euro für die Finanzierung seiner Assets abgeschlossen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit. Das Startup aus Köln setzt seinen Kunden eine kostenlose Solaranlage aufs Dach. Im Gegenzug bietet Sunvigo, das von Michael Peters, Bastian Bauwens und Vigen Nikogosian gegründet wurde, seinen Kunden einen Stromvertrag an. Mehr über Sunvigo

Fyrfeed
+++ Angel-Investoren wie Dan Phillips, Josef Arweck, Sven Rawe, Volker Asemann, Michael Naumann, Julius Göllner und Jochen Hummel investieren eine mittlere sechsstellige Summe in Fyrfeed. Das Startup aus Berlin, das von Thomas Lindemann aus Benjamin Zengler und Ehud Alexander Avner gegründet wurde, setzt auf einen “wissenschaftlichen Ansatz mit Künstlicher Intelligenz”, um Social Media-Inhalte zu generieren.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#afilio, #aglae-ventures, #aktuell, #berlin, #cambridge-capital, #chrono24, #commerzventures, #energie, #ever, #fyrfeed, #general-atlantic, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #insurtech, #investible, #kalera, #karlsruhe, #koln, #parcel-perform, #singapur, #softbank-ventures-asia, #speedinvest, #sunvigo, #ubermorgen-ventures, #venture-capital, #vertical-farming, #wavemaker-partners

Jerry raises $75M at a $450M valuation to build a car ownership ‘super app’

Just months after raising $28 million, Jerry announced today that it has raised $75 million in a Series C round that values the company at $450 million.

Existing backer Goodwater Capital doubled down on its investment in Jerry, leading the “oversubscribed” round. Bow Capital, Kamerra, Highland Capital Partners and Park West Asset Management also participated in the financing, which brings Jerry’s total raised to $132 million since its 2017 inception. Goodwater Capital also led the startup’s Series B earlier this year. Jerry’s new valuation is about “4x” that of the company at its Series B round, according to co-founder and CEO Art Agrawal

“What factored into the current valuation is our annual recurring revenue, growing customer base and total addressable market,” he told TechCrunch, declining to be more specific about ARR other than to say it is growing “at a very fast rate.” He also said the company “continues to meet and exceed growth and revenue targets” with its first product, a service for comparing and buying car insurance. At the time of the company’s last raise, Agrawal said Jerry saw its revenue surge by “10x” in 2020 compared to 2019.

Jerry, which says it has evolved its model to a mobile-first car ownership “super app,” aims to save its customers time and money on car expenses. The Palo Alto-based startup launched its car insurance comparison service using artificial intelligence and machine learning in January 2019. It has quietly since amassed nearly 1 million customers across the United States as a licensed insurance broker.

“Today as a consumer, you have to go to multiple different places to deal with different things,” Agrawal said at the time of the company’s last raise. “Jerry is out to change that.”

The new funding round fuels the launch of the company’s “compare-and-buy” marketplaces in new verticals, including financing, repair, warranties, parking, maintenance and “additional money-saving services.” Although Jerry also offers a similar product for home insurance, its focus is on car ownership.

Agrawal told TechCrunch that the company is on track to triple last year’s policy sales, and that its policy sales volume makes Jerry the number one broker for a few of the top 10 insurance carriers.
“The U.S. auto insurance industry is an at least $250 billion market,” he added. “The market opportunity for our first auto financing service is $260 billion. As we enter more car expense categories, our total addressable market continues to grow.”

Image Credits: Jerry

“Access to reliable and affordable transportation is critical to economic empowerment,” said Rafi Syed, Jerry board member and general partner at Bow Capital, which also doubled down on its investment in the company. “Jerry is helping car owners make the most of every dollar they earn. While we see Jerry as an excellent technology investment showcasing the power of data in financial services, it’s also a high-performing investment in terms of the financial inclusion it supports.” 

Goodwater Capital Partner Chi-Hua Chien said the firm’s recurring revenue model makes it stand out from lead generation-based car insurance comparison sites.

CEO Agrawal agrees, noting that Jerry’s high-performing annual recurring revenue model has made the company “attractive to investors” in addition to the fact that the startup “straddles” the auto, e-commerce, fintech and insurtech industries.

“We recognized those investment opportunities could drive our business faster and led to raising the round earlier than expected,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re eager to launch new categories to save customers time and money on auto expenses and the new investment shortens our time to market.”

Agrawal also believes Jerry is different from other auto-related marketplaces out there in that it aims to help consumers with various aspects of car ownership (from repair to maintenance to insurance to warranties), rather than just one. The company also believes it is set apart from competitors in that it doesn’t refer a consumer to an insurance carrier’s site so that they still have to do the work of signing up with them separately, for example. Rather, Jerry uses automation to give consumers customized quotes from more than 45 insurance carriers “in 45 seconds.” The consumers can then sign on to the new carrier via Jerry, which can then cancel former policies on their behalf.

Jerry makes recurring revenue from earning a percentage of the premium when a consumer purchases a policy on its site from carriers such as Progressive.

#apps, #art-agrawal, #artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #bow-capital, #car-ownership, #chi-hua-chien, #e-commerce, #financial-services, #funding, #fundings-exits, #goodwater-capital, #highland-capital-partners, #insurance, #insurtech, #jerry, #machine-learning, #mobile, #palo-alto, #park-west-asset-management, #recent-funding, #startup, #startups, #venture-capital

#DealMonitor – Exit Games bekommt 50 Millionen – refurbed sammelt 54 Millionen ein – ottonova bekommt 40 Millionen ein


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 5. August werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Exit Games 
+++ Die amerikanische Spielefirma Skillz investiert 50 Millionen Euro in das Hamburger Gamesunternehmen Exit Games, das 2004 gegründet wurde. “Das Unternehmen war zuvor im alleinigen Besitz des Managements. Exit Games entwickelt die weltweit eingesetzte Photon Engine, die es Entwicklern ermöglicht, synchrone Multiplayer-Spiele in Echtzeit zu erstellen und zu hosten. Zu den fast 600.000 vertrauenswürdigen Partnern von Exit Games gehören einige der renommiertesten Spieleverlage und -entwickler der Welt wie EA, Square Enix und Ubisoft, die das Gameplay in über 700.000 Anwendungen unterstützen”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

refurbed
+++ Das finnische Unternehmen Evli Growth Partners, das kalifornische Unternehmen Almaz Capital, Hermes GPE, C4 Ventures, SevenVentures, Alpha Associates, Monkfish Equity, Kreos Capital, Isomer Capital und Creas Impact Fund investierern 54 Millionen US-Dollar in das Wiener Startuü refurbed. Das 2017 von Peter Windischhofer, Kilian Kaminski und Jürgen Riedl gegründete Unternehmen kümmert sich um “refurbished Electronics”. Erst im März dieses Jahres sammelte die Jungfirma 15,6 Millionen Euro ein.

ottonova
+++ Earlybird Venture Capital und die Altinvestoren investieren 40 Millionen Euro in ottonova – siehe FinanceFWD. “Darin enthalten ist die Wandlung eines Darlehens, ungefähr die Hälfte der Summe fließt allerdings tatsächlich frisch in die Firma”, heißt es im Artikel. Die digitale private Krankenversicherung aus München, die 2017 an den Start ging, war die erste Neugründung einer Krankenversicherung in Deutschland seit fast zwei Jahrzehnten. Zuletzt investierten Debeka, HV Capital, Vorwerk Ventures, btov und SevenVentures 60 Millionen Euro in das InsurTech, das von Roman Rittweger gegründet wurde. Mehr über ottonova

Wirelane
+++ Abacon Capital, gehört zum Büll Family Office, und Co. investieren 18 Millionen Euro in Wirelane – siehe Gründerszene. Das Münchner Unternehmen, das 2016 von Constantin Schwaab gegründet wurde, bietet kostenlose Ladesäulen an. Vito Ventures, Coparion, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und Ritter Starkstromtechnik investierten zuletzt 4 Millionen Euro in das Startup. 2019 übernahm Wirelane das gescheiterte E-Mobilität-Startup Eluminocity.

Wonderz 
+++ IBB Ventures, J.C.M.B., Scope Hanson und Janosch film & medien investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in Wonderz. Das Berliner Startup, das 2017 gegründet wurde, bitete mit der B2C WunderBox ein Toll an, um Inhalte auf mobilen Geräten zu veröffentlichen. “So können Buchverlage, Fernsehsender, Influencer, Film-, Spiele-, und TV-Produzenten ihr Angebot mit geringem finanziellen Risiko diversifizieren und erreichen ein größeres Publikum weltweit”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

_blaenk
+++  Der Mannheimer Geldgeber Styx Urban Investments investiert eine sechsstelligen Summe _blaenk. Das Kölner RetailTech- und E-Commerce-Startup pisitioniert sich als hybrider B2B2C-Marktplatz für Lifestyle Produkte – online und offline. “Marken können sich in dem _blaenk-Marktplatz via ‘Retail as a Service’ flexibel einbuchen. Von Ladenbau über Personal, bis hin zu der Online-Shop Integration, Payment-Abwicklung und Fulfillment übernimmt _blaenk alle Prozesse”, heißt es in der Selbstbeschreibung der Jungfirma. _blaenk wurde 2020 von Martin Bressem gegründet.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Viantro
+++ Das Berliner Gesundheitsunternehmen Doctari übernimmt Viantro, eine Karriere-Plattform von Ärzten für Ärzte. Viantro mit Sitz in Heidelberg wuerde 2012 von Kim Kernbichler gegründet. Doctari hatte zuletzt auch Planerio übernommen. Das Münchner Unternehmen, das 2016 mit Stefan Klußmann und Robert Grüter gegründet wurde, möchte das “Personalmanagement in Praxen, Kliniken und Pflegeeinrichtungen revolutionieren”.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#_blaenk, #abacon-capital, #aktuell, #berlin, #doctari, #earlybird-venture-capital, #exit-games, #games, #hamburg, #ibb-ventures, #insurtech, #j-c-m-b, #koln, #mobility, #munchen, #ottonova, #refurbed, #scope-hanson, #skillz, #venture-capital, #viantro, #wirelane, #wonderz

Ethos picks up $100M at a $2.7B+ valuation for a big data platform to improve life insurance accessibility

More than half of the U.S. population has stayed away from considering life insurance because they believe it’s probably too expensive, and the most common way to buy it today is in person. A startup that’s built a platform that aims to break down those conventions and democratize the process by making life insurance (and the benefits of it) more accessible is today announcing significant funding to fuel its rapidly growing business.

Ethos, which uses more than 300,000 data points online to determine a person’s eligibility for life insurance policies, which are offered as either term or whole life packages starting at $8/month, has picked up $100 million from a single investor, SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Peter Colis, Ethos’s CEO and co-founder, said that the funding brings the startup’s valuation to over $2.7 billion.

This is a quick jump for the the company: it was only two months ago that Ethos picked up a $200 million equity round at a valuation of just over $2 billion.

It’s now raised $400 million to date and has amassed a very illustrious group of backers. In addition to SoftBank they include General Catalyst, Sequoia Capital; Accel; GV; Jay-Z’s Roc Nation; Glade Brook Capital Partners; Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr.

This latest injection of funding — which will be used to hire more people and continue to expand its product set into adjacent areas of insurance life critical illness coverage — was unsolicited, Colis said, but comes on the heels of very rapid growth.

Ethos — which is sold currently only in the U.S. across 49 states — has seen both revenues and user numbers grow by over 500% compared to a year ago, and it’s on track to issue some $20 billion in life insurance coverage this year. And it is approaching $100 million in annualized growth profit. Ethos itself is not yet profitable, Colis said.

There are a couple of trends going on that speak to a wide opportunity for Ethos at the moment.

The first of these is the current market climate: globally we are still battling the Covid-19 global health pandemic, and one impact of that — in particular given how Covid-19 has not spared any age group or demographic — has been more awareness of our mortality. That inevitably leads at least some part of the population to considering something like life insurance coverage that might not have thought about it previously.

However, Colis is a little skeptical on the lasting impact of that particular trend. “We saw an initial surge of demand in the Covid period, but then it regressed back to normal,” he said in an interview. Those who were more inclined to think about life insurance around Covid-19 might have come around to considering it regardless: it was being driven, he said, by those with pre-existing health conditions going into the pandemic.

That, interestingly, brings up the second trend, which goes beyond our present circumstances and Colis believes will have the more lasting impact.

While there have been a number of startups, and even incumbent providers, looking to rethink other areas of insurance such as car, health and property coverage, life insurance has been relatively untouched, especially in some markets like the U.S. Traditionally, someone taking out life insurance goes through a long vetting process, which is not all carried out online and can involve medical examinations and more, and yes, it can be expensive: the stereotype you might best know is that only wealthier people take out life insurance policies.

Much like companies in fintech who have rethought how loan applications (and payback terms) can be rethought and evaluated afresh using big data — pulling in a new range of information to form a picture of the applicant and the likelihood of default or not — Ethos is among the companies that is applying that same concept to a different problem. The end result is a much faster turnaround for applications, a considerably cheaper and more flexible offer (term life insurance lasts for only as long as a person pays for it to), and generally a lot more accessibility for everyone potentially interested. That pool of data is growing all the time.

“Every month, we get more intelligent,” said Colis.

There is also the matter of what Ethos is actually selling. The company itself is not an insurance provider but an “insuretech” — similar to how neobanks use APIs to integrate banking services that have been built by others, which they then wrap with their own customer service, personalization and more — Ethos integrates with third-party insurance underwriters, providing customer service, more efficient onboarding (no in-person medical exams for example) and personalization (both in packages and pricing) around them. Given how staid and hard it is to get more traditional policies, it’s essentially meant completely open water for Ethos in terms of finding and securing new customers.

Ethos’s rise comes at a time when we are seeing other startups approaching and rethinking life insurance also in the U.S. and further afield. Last week, YuLife in the UK raised a big round to further build out its own take on life insurance, which is to sell policies that are linked to an individual’s own health and wellness practices — the idea being that this will make you happier and give more reason to pay for a policy that otherwise feels like some dormant investment; but also that it could help you live longer (Sproutt is another also looking at how to emphasize the “life” aspect of life insurance). Others like  DeadHappy and BIMA are, like Ethos, rethinking accessibility of life insurance for a wider set of demographics.

There are some signs that Ethos is catching on with its mission to expand that pool, not just grow business among the kind of users who might have already been considering and would have taken out life insurance policies. The startup said that more than 40% of its new policy holders in the first half of 2021 had incomes of $60,000 or less, and nearly 40% of new policy holders were under the age of 40. The professions of those customers also speak to that democratization: the top five occupations, it said were homemaker, insurance agent, business owner, teacher, and registered nurse.

That traction is likely one reason why SoftBank came knocking.

“Ethos is leveraging data and its vertically integrated tech stack to fundamentally transform life insurance in the U.S.,” said Munish Varma, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “Through a fast and user-friendly online application process, the company can accurately underwrite and insure a broad segment of customers quickly. We are excited to partner with Peter Colis and the exceptional team at Ethos.”

#enterprise, #ethos, #finance, #funding, #health, #insurance, #insuretech, #insurtech, #life-insurance, #softbank, #tc

How we built an AI unicorn in 6 years

Today, Tractable is worth $1 billion. Our AI is used by millions of people across the world to recover faster from road accidents, and it also helps recycle as many cars as Tesla puts on the road.

And yet six years ago, Tractable was just me and Raz (Razvan Ranca, CTO), two college grads coding in a basement. Here’s how we did it, and what we learned along the way.

Build upon a fresh technological breakthrough

In 2013, I was fortunate to get into artificial intelligence (more specifically, deep learning) six months before it blew up internationally. It started when I took a course on Coursera called “Machine learning with neural networks” by Geoffrey Hinton. It was like being love struck. Back then, to me AI was science fiction, like “The Terminator.”

Narrowly focusing on a branch of applied science that was undergoing a paradigm shift which hadn’t yet reached the business world changed everything.

But an article in the tech press said the academic field was amid a resurgence. As a result of 100x larger training data sets and 100x higher compute power becoming available by reprogramming GPUs (graphics cards), a huge leap in predictive performance had been attained in image classification a year earlier. This meant computers were starting to be able to understand what’s in an image — like humans do.

The next step was getting this technology into the real world. While at university — Imperial College London — teaming up with much more skilled people, we built a plant recognition app with deep learning. We walked our professor through Hyde Park, watching him take photos of flowers with the app and laughing from joy as the AI recognized the right plant species. This had previously been impossible.

I started spending every spare moment on image classification with deep learning. Still, no one was talking about it in the news — even Imperial’s computer vision lab wasn’t yet on it! I felt like I was in on a revolutionary secret.

Looking back, narrowly focusing on a branch of applied science undergoing a breakthrough paradigm shift that hadn’t yet reached the business world changed everything.

Search for complementary co-founders who will become your best friends

I’d previously been rejected from Entrepreneur First (EF), one of the world’s best incubators, for not knowing anything about tech. Having changed that, I applied again.

The last interview was a hackathon, where I met Raz. He was doing machine learning research at Cambridge, had topped EF’s technical test, and published papers on reconstructing shredded documents and on poker bots that could detect bluffs. His bare-bones webpage read: “I seek data-driven solutions to currently intractable problems.” Now that had a ring to it (and where we’d get the name for Tractable).

That hackathon, we coded all night. The morning after, he and I knew something special was happening between us. We moved in together and would spend years side by side, 24/7, from waking up to Pantera in the morning to coding marathons at night.

But we also wouldn’t have got where we are without Adrien (Cohen, president), who joined as our third co-founder right after our seed round. Adrien had previously co-founded Lazada, an online supermarket in South East Asia like Amazon and Alibaba, which sold to Alibaba for $1.5 billion. Adrien would teach us how to build a business, inspire trust and hire world-class talent.

Find potential customers early so you can work out market fit

Tractable started at EF with a head start — a paying customer. Our first use case was … plastic pipe welds.

It was as glamorous as it sounds. Pipes that carry water and natural gas to your home are made of plastic. They’re connected by welds (melt the two plastic ends, connect them, let them cool down and solidify again as one). Image classification AI could visually check people’s weld setups to ensure good quality. Most of all, it was real-world value for breakthrough AI.

And yet in the end, they — our only paying customer — stopped working with us, just as we were raising our first round of funding. That was rough. Luckily, the number of pipe weld inspections was too small a market to interest investors, so we explored other use cases — utilities, geology, dermatology and medical imaging.

#ai, #artificial-intelligence, #column, #cybernetics, #ec-column, #ec-enterprise-applications, #ec-fintech, #ec-how-to, #enterprise, #insurance, #insurtech, #machine-learning, #startups

Miami twins raise $18M for Lula, an insurance infrastructure upstart

Lula, a Miami-based insurance infrastructure startup, announced today it has raised $18 million in a Series A round of funding.

Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures co-led the round, which also included participation from SoftBank, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, Shrug Capital, Steve Pagliuca (Bain Capital co-chairman and Boston Celtics owner), Tiny Capital’s Andrew Wilkinson. Existing backers such as Nextview Ventures and Florida Funders also put money in the round, in addition to a number of insurance and logistics groups such as Flexport.

The startup’s self-proclaimed mission is to provide companies of all sizes — from startups to multinational corporations — with insurance infrastructure. Think of it as a “Stripe for insurance,” its founders say.

Founded by 25-year-old twin brothers and Miami natives Michael and Matthew Vega-Sanz, Lula actually emerged from another business the pair had started while in college.

“We couldn’t afford to have a car on campus and wanted pizza one night,” Michael recalls. “So I thought it would be cool if there was an app that let me rent a car from another student, and then I thought ‘Why don’t we build it?’ We then built the ugliest app you’ve ever seen but it allowed us to rent cars from other people on the campus.” It was the first company to allow 18-year-olds to rent cars without restrictions, the brother say.

By September 2018, they formally launched the app beyond the campus of Babson College, which they were attending on scholarships. Within eight days of launching, the brothers say, the app became one of the top apps on Apple’s App Store. The pair dropped out of college, and within 12 months, they had cars available on more than 500 college campuses in the United States.

“As you can imagine we needed to make sure there was insurance coverage on each rental. We pitched it to 47 insurance companies and they all rejected us,” Michael said. “So we developed our own underwriting methodologies or underwriting tools into the operations and had the lowest incident rate in the industry.”

As the company grew, it began partnering with car rental providers (think smaller players, not Enterprise, et al.) to supplement its supply of vehicles. In doing so, the brothers soon realized that the most compelling aspect of their offering was the insurance infrastructure they’d built into it.

“Our rental companies begin to put a significant portion of their business through our platform, and one day one called us and asked if they could start using the software in the insurance infrastructure we’d built out in the rest of our business.”

That was in early 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“At that moment, we began to realize, ‘Hey maybe the big opportunity here is not a car-sharing app for college students, but maybe the big opportunity here is something with insurance,’” Michael said.

A few weeks later, the duo shut down their core business and by April 2020, they pivoted to building out Lula as it exists today.

“In the same way that Stripe has built a payment API that eliminates the need for companies to build their own payment infrastructure, we decided we could build an insurance API that eliminates the need for companies to build their own insurance infrastructure,” Matthew said. “Companies would no longer need to build out internal insurance systems or tools. No longer would they need to deal with insurance brokers to procure them coverage. No longer would they need to deal with insurance teams. We can integrate on to a platform and handle all things insurance for companies and their customers via our API.”

By August of 2020, the company launched an MVP (minimum viable product) and since then has been growing about 30% month over month after reaching profitability in its first four months.

Image Credits: Lula

Today, Lula offers a “fully integrated suite” of technology-enabled tools such as customer vetting, fraud detection, driver history checks, and policy management and claims handling through its insurance partners. It has a waiting list of nearly 2,000 companies and raised its funding to fulfill that demand.

“The main purpose for raising capital was so we can build out the team necessary to fulfill demand and sustain growth moving forward,” Matthew said. “And apart from that, we also just want to further develop the technology — whether it be in the ways that we’re collecting data so we can get more granular and make smarter decisions or just optimizing our vetting system. We’re also just working toward developing a much more robust API.”

Existing clients include ReadyDrive, a car-sharing program for the U.S. military and a “ton of SMBs,” the brothers say. Investor Flexport will be conducting a pilot with the company.

“Every time a trucker picks up a load or delivery, instead of paying monthly policies, they will be able to pay for insurance for the two to three days they are on the road only,” Michael says. “Also, if someone is shipping a container via Flexport, they can add cargo coverage at the point of sale and get an additional layer of protection.”

Ultimately, Lula’s goal is to act as a carrier in some capacity.

Founders Fund’s Delian Asparouhov believes that the way millenials and Gen Zers utilize physical assets is “wildly different” than prior generations.

“We grew up in a shared economy world, where apps like Uber, GetAround, Airbnb have allowed us to episodically utilize assets rather than purchase them outright,” he said.

In his view, though, the insurance industry has not picked up on the massive shift.
“Typical insurance agents both don’t know how to underwrite episodic usage of assets, and they don’t know how to integrate into these typical of digital rental platforms and allow for instantaneous underwriting,” Asparouhov told TechCrunch. “Lulu is combining both of these technologies into an incredibly unique approach that digitizes insurance and gives us flashbacks to how Stripe disrupted the digitization of payments.”

Despite their recent success, the brothers emphasize that the journey to get to this point was not always a glamorous one. Born to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, they grew up on a small south Florida farm.

“We started our company out of our dorm room and initially emailed 532 investors only to get one response,” Michael said. “Founders just see the headlines but I just want to advise them to stay persistent and really keep at it. I’m not afraid to share that the company started off slow.”

#delian-asparouhov, #finance, #founders-fund, #funding, #fundings-exits, #infrastructure, #insurance, #insurtech, #khosla-ventures, #lula, #miami, #michael-vega-sanz, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital

#Brandneu – 6 neue Startups: Filics, nuclicore, Boxlab, imotana, palamo, be+


deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Filics
Filics aus München entwickelt ein fahrerloses Transportsystem für den Logistikbereich. “Zwei mechanisch nicht verbundene Kufen fahren unabhängig voneinander in Euro-Paletten ein, heben diese an und verfahren die Ladung auf direktem Wege personensicher und digital steuerbar”, teilt das Startup mit.

nuclicore
Bei nuclicore handelt es sich um eine No-Code Versicherungssoftware. Mit dieser können Versicherungsunternehmen – ohne eine Zeile Code zu schreiben- ihre eigenen maßgeschneiderten Software-Applikationen erstellen. Das Startup aus Frankfurt am Main wuerde von Eberhard Riesenkampff und Anel Bejtovic gegründet.

Boxlab
Die Jungfirma Boxlab, eine Ausgründung aus dem BASF-Inkubator Chemovator, optimiert Etiketten- und Packmittelprozesse in den Bereichen Beschaffung, Lagerung, Handling und Entsorgung. Das Unternehmen wurde von Mischa Feig und Lisa Raschke gegründet.

imotana
imotana kann sich jeder seine eigenen Fußballschuhe designen. “Um einen perfekten Fit der Fußballschuhe zu erreichen, werden die Schuhe genau auf einen 3D-Scan der Fu?ße des Spielers angepasst”, schreibt das Startup. Hinter dem Unternehmen stecken Benjamin Dorsch und T1TAN-Macher Matthias Leibitz.

palamo
palamo kümmert sich um Etiketten und Verpackungen. Die Jungfirma, ein Ableger von all4labels, teilt dazu mit: “Wir begleiten Dich auf dem Weg zu Deiner perfekten Verpackung mit einer Vielzahl an unterschiedlichen Materialien, nachhaltigen Optionen und zusätzlichen Design und Legal Services”.

be+
be+ aus Schwabach, das von Frank Nobis gegründet wurde, kümmert sich darum, “Benefit-Programme im Unternehmen einfach nutzbar zu machen”. Dabei verspricht die Jungfirma: “Auch aktuelle Themen – wie die Corona-Testpflicht im Unternehmen – wird digital auf der Plattform abgebildet”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #be, #boxlab, #brandneu, #filics, #frankfurt-am-main, #herbolzheim, #hr, #imotana, #insurtech, #logistik, #ludwigshafen, #mobility, #munchen, #no-code, #nuclicore, #palamo, #schwabach, #witzhave

Extra Crunch roundup: EU insurtech, 30 years of ‘Crossing the Chasm,’ embedded finance’s endgame

This morning, Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm dug into the EU insurtech market, interviewing European VCs and collating the biggest recent rounds to take the temperature of the waters across the pond:

  • Alex Timm, CEO, Root
  • Dan Preston, CEO, MetroMile
  • Luca Bocchio, partner, Accel
  • Florian Graillot, investor, Astorya.vc
  • Stephen Brittain, director and founder, Insurtech Gateway

Several European-based insurtech startups entered unicorn territory this year, such as Bought By Many, which offers pet insurance; London-based Zego; and Alan, a French startup that raised a $220 million round.

According to Brittain, EU startups in this sector are “still at the very early stages of innovation,” having only shown “a fraction of what’s possible” in a market that is “as large as banking.” Interestingly, he predicted that AI will play a larger role in the future as companies deploy it for fraud detection, improved customer experiences and processing claims more quickly.

“We are fully expecting the next generation of AI-driven business to unlock real-time risk analysis, pricing and claims resolution in the next few years,” he said.

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch; I hope you have a safe, relaxing weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist

What do these 4 IPOs tell us about the state of the market?

Earlier this week, The Exchange assessed the looming Monday.com IPO before reading the tea leaves about that flotation and three others to sum up the overall state of the market.

So what do the Marqeta, Monday.com, Zeta Global and 1stDibs debuts tell us? We may have been too conservative.

Toast’s Aman Narang and BVP’s Kent Bennett on how customer obsession is everything

Image Credits: Bessemer Venture Partners / Toast

On a recent episode of Extra Crunch Live, we spoke to Toast founder Aman Narang and Kent Bennett of Bessemer Venture Partners about how they came together for a deal, what makes the difference for both founders and investors when fundraising, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned so far.

The episode also featured the Extra Crunch Live Pitch-Off, where audience members pitched their products to Bennett and Narang and received live feedback.

Extra Crunch Live is open to everyone each Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, but only Extra Crunch members are able to stream these sessions afterward and watch previous shows on-demand in our episode library.

AI startup investment is on pace for a record year

Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim solicited feedback from investors to get a temperature on the market for AI startup investments.

“The startup investing market is crowded, expensive and rapid-fire today as venture capitalists work to preempt one another, hoping to deploy funds into hot companies before their competitors,” they write. “The AI startup market may be even hotter than the average technology niche.”

But that’s not surprising. The Exchange was on it.

“In the wake of the Microsoft-Nuance deal, The Exchange reported that it would be reasonable to anticipate an even more active and competitive market for AI-powered startups,” Alex and Anna note. “Our thesis was that after Redmond dropped nearly $20 billion for the AI company, investors would have a fresh incentive to invest in upstarts with an AI focus or strong AI component; exits, especially large transactions, have a way of spurring investor interest in related companies.”

Their expectation is coming true: Investors reported a fierce market for AI startups.

Dear Sophie: What is a diversity green card and how do I apply for one?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I started a tech company about two years ago, and ever since I’ve dreamed of expanding my company in the United States.

I would love to have a green card. Someone mentioned that I should apply for a diversity green card. Would you please provide me with more details about it and how to apply?

— Technical in Tanzania

How to start a company in 4 days

Turtle (real) with a rocket on the back, a match (real flame) is about to ignite it. No turtles were harmed in the making of this stock image.

Image Credits: MediaProduction (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Pulley founder and three-time YC alum Yin Wu offers a tactical guide to getting a startup running in four days. Yes, just four days.

“The logistics of setting up a startup should be simple, because over the long run, complicated equity setups and cap tables cost more money in legal fees and administration time,” Wu notes.

Read on for guidance on how to get your business going in less than a week.

Health clouds are set to play a key role in healthcare innovation

Health clouds are important for innovation in healthcare

Image Credits: Natali_Mis / Getty Images

Innovaccer founder and CEO Abhinav Shashank and CTO Mike Sutten write in a guest column that the U.S. healthcare industry is in the middle of a massive transformation.

This shift, they write, “is being stimulated by federal mandates, technological innovation, and the need to improve clinical outcomes and communication between providers, patients and payers.”

Improving healthcare now means we need to process tremendous amounts of healthcare data. How do we do it? The cloud, which “plays a pivotal role in meeting the current needs of healthcare organizations.”

What SOSV’s Climate Tech 100 tells founders about investors in the space

Climate tech presents a trillion-dollar opportunity

Image Credits: MrJub / Getty Images

SOSV’s Benjamin Joffe and Meghan Hind round up a “who’s who” from the venture capital firm’s SOSV Climate Tech 100, a list of the best startups addressing climate change that SOSV has supported from the very beginning.

“What can founders learn from the list about climate tech investors? In other words, who invested in the Climate Tech 100?” they ask.

The fintech endgame: New supercompanies combine the best of software and financials

Image Credits: Donald Iain Smith (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Now that we can transact from anywhere, a new, hybrid class of software companies with embedded financial services are scooping up consumers — and investors are following the action.

Using data from a Battery Ventures report about “the intersection of software and financial services,” this post examines why these companies can be so hard to value and offers a framework for better understanding their business models and investor appeal.

After 30 years, ‘Crossing the Chasm’ is due for a refresh

Hoover Dam area, Mike O'Callaghan, Pat Tillman bridge.

Image Credits: Grant Faint (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Geoffrey Moore’s “Chasm,” a framework for marketing technology products that has been one of the canonical foundational concepts to product-market fit for three decades, needs a bit of an upgrade, Flybridge Capital’s Jeff Bussgang writes.

“I have been reflecting on why it is that we venture capitalists and founders keep making the same mistake over and over again — a mistake that has become even more glaring in recent years,” he writes.

Bussgang goes on to consider the Chasm — and propose tweaks for thinking about market size in the modern era.

#climate-tech, #entrepreneurship, #extra-crunch-roundup, #fintech, #insurance, #insurtech, #mobility, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #venture-capital

Branch raises $50M to offer bundled auto & home insurance via an API

Branch Insurance, a startup offering bundled home and auto insurance, has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Anthemis Group.

Acrew, Cherry Creek Holdings and existing backers Greycroft, HSCM Bermuda, American Family Ventures, SignalFire, SCOR P&C Ventures, Foundation Capital and Tower IV also participated in the round. With this latest financing, Columbus, Ohio-based Branch has raised $82.5 million in total funding since its 2017 inception.

With so many players in the insurtech space, it can get tough distinguishing the various offerings. Branch claims that it is unique in that it is able to provide customers with “an instant insurance offer” for bundled home and auto insurance “within seconds” using just a few pieces of information.

Co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas began his career at Allstate, where he went on to hold roles in underwriting, technology and product management. He then went on to build Esurance’s first online home insurance business.

But in the back of his mind, Lekas yearned to figure out a way to make insurance more accessible for more people. And so he teamed up with Joe Emison, and Branch was born.

“The industry is structurally flawed and it harms consumers. Complicated policies, rising costs and marketing warfare all contribute to a vicious cycle that results in overpriced insurance,” said Lekas. “We are a full-stack insurance company transforming the way people think about their home and car insurance.”

Branch, he claims, is the only insurance company that he is aware of that can bind insurance through an API, and the only one that can bundle auto and home insurance in a single transaction.

Another way Branch is unique, according to Lekas, is that it can be embedded into the buying experience. In other words, the company has partnered with companies such as Rocket Mortgage and ADT to integrate insurance at the point of sale in their products. For example, if a person is closing on a home, they have the option of purchasing Branch insurance at the same time.

Branch co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas. Photo: Robb McCormick Photography

“Every home or car policy starts with another transaction,” Lekas said. “Insurance is a product that exists only because of the other transaction. It’s never before been possible to embed in that primary purchase before.”

This distribution model means that Branch shells out less to acquire customers and thus, it claims, is able to offer premiums for a lower price than competitors.

“In just two clicks, a consumer can have home and car insurance or just home and we’ll cancel the old insurance on their closing date, and transmit all the data to their existing mortgage,” Lekas said.

Branch also offers its insurance direct-to-consumer and through agencies.

The company plans to use its new capital in part to accelerate its rollout across the U.S. so that it can sign more such partnerships where it can embed its offering. Currently, Branch has more than 30 partnerships of varying sizes, and is “adding more every week” as it launches in more states.

“It’s really hard to move quickly,” Lekas said. “The system is built to make you move slowly. Every state regulator has to approve individually and independently with their own rules.”

Lekas predicts Branch will be available in more than 80% of the U.S. before the year’s out.

Branch has seen increased momentum since its $24 million Series A in July 2020.

Specifically, the startup says it has achieved a 435% growth in its partner channel, 660% growth in active policies and a 734% increase in active premium less than one year after its last raise.

Anthemis Group Partner Ruth Foxe Blader notes that Branch marks her firm’s first investment from its new growth fund.

Blader says she has invested in insurance innovation over the past decade, and is particularly attracted to insurtech businesses that represent three things: significant technology and data science innovation; significant product innovation and significant cultural innovation.

“Branch easily ticks those boxes,” Blader told TechCrunch. “Branch’s products are both embedded and bundled, making them less expensive and more convenient to purchase, and less likely to leave customers with critical protection gaps.”

The startup, she added, effectively combines data science and technology to create “unique, automatic product bundles.”

With what it describes as a “built-for-savings” structure, Branch said it has created connected home discounts as well as programs that reward members for making referrals and practicing safe driving behaviors, for example.

Branch also has formed a nonprofit, SafetyNest, to help those who are un- or underinsured.

#allstate, #american-family-ventures, #anthemis-group, #auto-insurance, #branch, #car-insurance, #columbus, #finance, #foundation-capital, #funding, #fundings-exits, #insurance, #insurtech, #ohio, #ontology, #product-management, #recent-funding, #rocket-mortgage, #ruth-foxe-blader, #startup, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

European insurtech startup Wefox grabs $650 million at $3 billion valuation

German startup Wefox has raised a $650 million Series C funding round led by Target Global. Following this funding round, the company has reached a post-money valuation of $3 billion. Wefox is a digital insurer focused on personal insurance products, such as household insurance, motor insurance and personal liability insurance.

“It’s much more than we wanted to raise initially. It was a very fast process and essentially we were oversubscribed by 4x or so,” co-founder and CEO Julian Teicke (pictured left) told me.

In December 2019, the company reported a $1.65 billion valuation. And the company says today’s funding round is one of the largest Series C rounds of all time — and likely the largest Series C round for an insurtech company more specifically.

“Almost all of the big existing investors are participating,” Teicke said. OMERS Ventures, G Squared, Mountain Partners, Merian, Horizons Ventures, Eurazeo, Mubadala Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Speedinvest, CE Innovation Capital, GR Capital and Seedcamp are all participating once again in this Wefox founding round. New investors include FinTLV, Ace & Co, LGT and its affiliated impact investing platform Lightrock, Partners Group, EDBI, Jupiter and Decisive.

“Not only have we raised a super large amount but also in a very fast time. It took us a total of four weeks to get all commitments in,” co-founder an CFO Fabian Wesemann (pictured right) told me.

Wefox believes it can now iterate and generate more and more revenue as it scales — it just needs capital to reach the next level. “We’re tackling that $5.2 trillion industry that has been stuck in the pre-internet era. We nailed how to disrupt it in our core market,” Teicke said.

But what makes Wefox different from legacy insurance companies? Wefox isn’t a direct-to-consumer insurance company. Most insurance products are still sold by agents and the startup believes this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

That’s why Wefox has 700 agents selling Wefox products exclusively. It also partners with associate brokers — around 5,000 can distribute Wefox products.

“While the rest of the industry seems to say that human agents are dead, we think they’re more relevant than ever,” Teicke said.

In 2020 alone, the company generated $140 million in revenue. If you look at Wefox Insurance, the company’s insurance carrier, the company reported a profit for 2020. As for the group, “we’re going to show overall profitability by 2023,” Wesemann said.

That fast growth rate combined with a clear path to profitability means that Wefox has an ambitious roadmap. As a full-stack insurance company licensed in Lichtenstein, Wefox can passport its license to other European countries. The company is currently live in five markets right now and is working on expanding to Italy soon.

In addition to new markets, Wefox plans to sell new insurance products — property and casualty insurance, pet insurance, health insurance, life insurance… If you’re thinking about an insurance product, chances are Wefox is already working on it. “This year we’re launching around 20 new insurance products,” Teicke said.

While distribution is managed decentrally with local agents talking with local customers, insurance products are managed centrally. The startup prioritizes products by revenue potential and goes down the list one product at a time.

Finally, Wefox has ambitious plans when it comes to reducing administrative costs. The company has been investing in automation so that common processes are handled by an algorithm. Currently, 80% of its processes are handled automatically. It’s a never-ending process as you have to adapt your processes when you launch new products.

Wefox is also working on prevention. The company has put together an AI team in Paris to prevent bad things from happening in the first place. As always with insurance companies, it’s all about optimizing every layer and every step of the customer journey to build a product that stands out from what’s already out there.

#europe, #finance, #fundings-exits, #insurance, #insurtech, #wefox

Meet Justos, the new Brazilian insurtech that just got backing from the CEOs of 7 unicorns

Here in the U.S. the concept of using driver’s data to decide the cost of auto insurance premiums is not a new one.

But in markets like Brazil, the idea is still considered relatively novel. A new startup called Justos claims it will be the first Brazilian insurer to use drivers’ data to reward those who drive safely by offering “fairer” prices.

And now Justos has raised about $2.8 million in a seed round led by Kaszek, one of the largest and most active VC firms in Latin America. Big Bets also participated in the round along with the CEOs of seven unicorns including Assaf Wand, CEO and co-founder of Hippo Insurance; David Velez, founder and CEO of Nubank; Carlos Garcia, founder and CEO Kavak; Sergio Furio, founder and CEO of Creditas; Patrick Sigris, founder of iFood and Fritz Lanman, CEO of ClassPass. Senior executives from Robinhood, Stripe, Wise, Carta and Capital One also put money in the round.

Serial entrepreneurs Dhaval Chadha, Jorge Soto Moreno and Antonio Molins co-founded Justos, having most recently worked at various Silicon Valley-based companies including ClassPass, Netflix and Airbnb.

“While we have been friends for a while, it was a coincidence that all three of us were thinking about building something new in Latin America,” Chadha said. “We spent two months studying possible paths, talking to people and investors in the United States, Brazil and Mexico, until we came up with the idea of creating an insurance company that can modernize the sector, starting with auto insurance.”

Ultimately, the trio decided that the auto insurance market would be an ideal sector considering that in Brazil, an estimated more than 70% of cars are not insured. 

The process to get insurance in the country, by any accounts, is a slow one. It takes up to 72 hours to receive initial coverage and two weeks to receive the final insurance policy. Insurers also take their time in resolving claims related to car damages and loss due to accidents, the entrepreneurs say. They also charge that pricing is often not fair or transparent.

Justos aims to improve the whole auto insurance process in Brazil by measuring the way people drive to help price their insurance policies. Similar to Root here in the U.S., Justos intends to collect users’ data through their mobile phones so that it can “more accurately and assertively price different types of risk.” This way, the startup claims it can offer plans  that are up to 30% cheaper than traditional plans, and grant discounts each month, according to the driving patterns of the previous month of each customer. 

“We measure how safely people drive using the sensors on their cell phones,” Chadha said. “This allows us to offer cheaper insurance to users who drive well, thereby reducing biases that are inherent in the pricing models used by traditional insurance companies.”

Justos also plans to use artificial intelligence and computerized vision to analyze and process claims more quickly and machine learning for image analysis and to create bots that help accelerate claims processing. 

“We are building a design driven, mobile first and customer experience that aims to revolutionize insurance in Brazil, similar to what Nubank did with banking,” Chadha told TechCrunch. “We will be eliminating any hidden fees, a lot of the small text and insurance specific jargon that is very confusing for customers.”

Justos will offer its product directly to its customers as well as through distribution channels like banks and brokers.

“By going direct to consumer, we are able to acquire users cheaper than our competitors and give back the savings to our users in the form of cheaper prices,” Chadha said.

Customers will be able to buy insurance through Justos’ app, website, or even WhatsApp. For now, the company is only adding potential customers to a waitlist but plans to begin selling policies later this year..

During the pandemic, the auto insurance sector in Brazil declined by 1%, according to Chadha, who believes that indicates “there is latent demand rearing to go once things open up again.”

Justos has a social good component as well. Justos intends to cap its profits and give any leftover revenue back to nonprofit organizations.

The company also has an ambitious goal: to help make insurance become universally accessible around the world and the roads safer in general.

“People will face everyday risks with a greater sense of safety and adventure. Road accidents will reduce drastically as a result of incentives for safer driving, and the streets will be safer,” Chadha said. “People, rather than profits, will become the focus of the insurance industry.”

Justos plans to use its new capital to set up operations, such as forming partnerships with reinsurers and an insurance company for fronting, since it is starting as an MGA (managing general agent).

It’s also working on building out its products such as apps, its back end and internal operations tools as well as designing all its processes for underwriting, claims and finance. Justos’ data science team is also building out its own pricing model. 

The startup will be focused on Brazil, with plans to eventually expand within Latin America, then Iberia and Asia.

Kaszek’s Andy Young said his firm was impressed by the team’s previous experience and passion for what they’re building.

“It’s a huge space, ripe for innovation and this is the type of team that can take it to the next level,” Young told TechCrunch. “The team has taken an approach to building an insurance platform that blends being consumer centric and data driven to produce something that is not only cheaper and rewards safety but as the brand implies in Portuguese, is fairer.”

#airbnb, #apps, #artificial-intelligence, #asia, #assaf-wand, #auto-insurance, #banking, #brazil, #cell-phones, #ceo, #classpass, #creditas, #david-velez, #driver, #finance, #founder, #fritz-lanman, #funding, #fundings-exits, #hippo-insurance, #ifood, #insurance, #insurance-policies, #insurtech, #kaszek, #latin-america, #machine-learning, #mexico, #mobile-phones, #netflix, #nubank, #recent-funding, #silicon-valley, #startup, #startups, #united-states, #venture-capital

#DealMonitor – wefox steht vor 500 Millionen-Investment – New Value kauft EyeEm


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 28. Mai werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

wefox
+++ Bisher nicht bekannte Investoren investieren rund 500 Millionen US-Dollar in wefox – siehe FinanceFWD. “Ein Großteil des Geldes soll dabei in die Firma fließen, größere Verkäufe von Altinvestoren habe es nicht gegeben”, heißt es im Bericht. Die Bewertung soll bei 2 Milliarden Dollar liegen. Zuletzt hatte Sky News berichtet, dass das InsurTech, das 2014 in der Schweiz an den Start ging, plane 250 Millionen US-Dollar einzusammeln. Somit nutzt das wefox-Team wohl die unglaubliche Dynamik im Markt und sammelt direkt deutlich mehr Geld ein. Harbert Management Corporation und weitere Investoren investierten zuletzt rund 100 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen zu dem auch der Versicherer One gehört. Mehr über wefox

re:cap
+++ Der israelische Geldgeber Entrée Capital und Angel-Investoren wie Jan Beckers, Ramin Niroumand, Jens Lapinski, Chris Adelsbach, Perry Blacher, Mark Ransford, Chris Hitchen und Simon Leicht investieren 1,25 Millionen Euro in re:cap. Das Berliner Startup, das von Paul Becker und Jonas Tebbe, die zuvor den Vermögensverwalter Liqid aufgebaut haben, positioniert sich ähnlich wie das Vorbild Pipe als “digitale Marktplatzlösung zur Finanzierung von Unternehmen mit regelmäßigen, wiederkehrenden Einnahmeströmen (Recurring Revenues)”. Mit der Finanzspritze möchte das Unternehmen “das Produkt zur Marktreife führen, für das Marktplatzmodell institutionelle Investoren und Unternehmen gewinnen und das Team ausbauen”.

Westphalia DataLab
+++ Der Wirtschaftsprüfer PwC Deutschland investiert in Westphalia DataLab (WDL). Das 2017 in Münster gegründete Startup nietet Data Science-Softwareprodukte für Unternehmen an, die die Kunden bei der Entwicklung datengetriebener Geschäftsmodelle helfen sollen. PwC Deutschland hält nun knapp 20 % am Westphalia DataLab. In der Vergangenheit investierten bereits Fiege Logistics und Remondis in die Jungfirma, die von Reiner Kurzhals gegründet wurde. 55 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken für Westphalia DataLab.

Libify
+++ BTG Bridge To Growth investiert im Rahmen einer Venture-Debt-Finanzierung in nicht genannter Höhe in Libify. Hinter dem Münchner Unternehmen, das von Tim-Julian Hartmann gegründet wurde, verbirgt sich ein Hausnotrufanbieter. Yabeo, ECB, Coparion, Heliad, P&W Media und Bayern Kapital investieren zuletzt über 6 Millionen Euro in das Startup. “Die zusätzliche Finanzierung soll den Rollout neuer Services beschleunigen, Kooperationen ermöglichen und die technologische Spitzenstellung festigen und ausbauen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

EyeEm
+++ Die Beteiligungsgesellschaft New Value übernimmt die Berliner Fotoplattform EyeEm. “Der Beteiligungserwerb soll hauptsächlich durch Ausgabe von New Value Aktien im Rahmen einer durch die Generalversammlung noch zu beschließenden Kapitalerhöhung mittels Sachenlage erfolgen, und ist somit vorbehaltlich der Zustimmung durch die Aktionäre von New Value AG”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.  In der Presseaussendung heißt es weiter: “Um die Akquisition der EyeEm-Anteile tätigen zu können und allenfalls weitere Beteiligungen erwerben zu können, beantragt der Verwaltungsrat an einer auf den 18. Juni 2021 einzuberufenden, außerordentlichen Generalversammlung ordentliche Kapitalerhöhungen von insgesamt bis zu rund Fr. 8.5 Mio”. Der Aufbau von EyeEm kostete bis Ende 2018 bereits mehr als 32 Millionen Euro. Zu den Investoren von EyeEm gehören bekannte Geldgeber wie Valar Ventures, Earlybird Ventures, Passion Capital und Wellington Partners. EyeEm, 2011 gegründet, wandelte sich in den vergangenen Jahren von der simplen Foto-App zum gefeierten Bildermarktplatz. Der bildgewaltige Dienst hilft seinen Nutzern – mit seiner ausgefeilten Bilderkennungssoftware – ihre Bilder über seinen Stockfoto-Marktplatz zu verkaufen. Mehr über EyeEm

VENTURE CAPITAL

Mobility@Baloise
+++ Der Versicherer Baloise startet mit Mobility@Baloise einen eigenen Mobility-Accelerator. Der Brutkasten richtet sich an Startups mit dem Unternehmensfokus “Mobility as a Service, Shared Economy Services, B2B[2C]-Services für Fahrzeugflotten sowie weitere Dienstleistungen, die Mobilität im Zentrum haben”. Startups, die am Programm teilnehmen möchten, können sich bis Ende Juni für den Mobility-Accelerator anmelden. 

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #btg-bridge-to-growth, #eyeem, #insurtech, #libify, #mobilitybaloise, #munchen, #munster, #new-value, #pwc-deutschland, #recap, #venture-capital, #wefox, #westphalia-datalab

Insurtech startup Obie raises $10.7M Series A led by Battery Ventures

Obie, which has developed an insurtech platform for landlords, has raised $10.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Battery Ventures.

Thomvest Ventures, Funders Club, MetaProp and Second Century Ventures also participated in the financing.

If this sounds like a niche offering, that’s because it is. Obie’s software specifically targets small-to-medium size apartment landlords who own single-family rentals and/or larger apartment buildings.  

Chicago-based Obie — which also went through the Y Combinator program — says its platform stands out because it offers instant quotes (by instant, they mean in about three to five minutes). The company also claims to save policyholders up to 25-30% compared to other insurance premiums. Over the past year, Obie has secured insurance for over $3 billion worth of property.

Obie co-founders (and brothers) Aaron and Ryan Letzeiser have taken their respective backgrounds in insurance and real estate private equity to build out the Obie platform. They are operating under the premise that despite being the largest class of real estate investors in the U.S, this group of landlords “is significantly underserved.”

“Generally SMB landlords have been ignored in the market, and there’s 11 million of them,” Aaron said. “And we beat target premiums, on average, by 31.7%.”

The demand appears to be there. According to the pair, Obie saw its premiums climb to about $1 million in its first 12 months of being in business. Over the last 12 months, that number has climbed to about $10 million.

In conjunction with its funding announcement, Obie also announced today the extension of its property and casualty insurance to all 50 states.

Image Credits: Obie

So, how does it work? Landlords and investors answer a series of questions on Obie’s site. The platform extracts a few data points from client responses, which its technology then combines with public and private data points such as the proximity of the landlord to the property. (This can be an indicator of how quickly a landlord can conduct proactive and preventative maintenance and general attentiveness to tenant issues.) 

Once Obie runs its analysis, the platform uses a “proprietary” algorithm to match an application to carriers based on what they describe as “risk-appetite” profiles. For example, some carriers don’t want to cover properties built before a certain year. The platform then provides the landlords and property owners with a quote. If they’re OK with the quote, landlords can be “immediately underwritten,” according to the company. 

At its core, said Ryan, the brothers want to make Obie “the easiest way for landlords to get the insurance that they need.” 

The company plans to use its new capital to expand upon its product and “really try to own the entire vertical.”

“Historically, we’ve been an agency-based business but we are in the process of putting together our own product that is slated to roll out right at the end of the second quarter,” said Aaron. “Very similar to Lemonade and Hippo, and we’re doing it with a large insurer that’s backing us.”

In other words, Obie believes it has validated its brokerage model in the market and is now planning to use the