DIA, ESG and the Insurtech 100

View this email in your browser

Well, that was fun.

Congratulations to DIA for a standout European event.

There was a very special energy throughout the two days and a quality of execution I haven’t seen for a long time.

Some great content (albeit a few old case studies are being wheeled out), a definite sense of a maturing European insurtech landscape, and a venue second to none. Loved it.

From an incumbent perspective, great to see those leading the innovation charge out in force.

And on that note, it was particularly special to catch up with the Generali crew – a client we started working with in lockdown and more importantly a team of pretty exceptional humans.

A few of them are below (credit to Stefano Bison for his photo skills):

Great to also head out for dinners with Atsushi Izu from Dai-ichi Life, the Nuon.ai guys. And to nearly go for a run with Menno Bonninga from EY!

Europe’s big and not-so-big deals

With capital becoming that bit harder to come by, it’s great to see Instanda securing a $45m in a Series B and Artificial Labs an $11.6m Series A.

The plan for Instanda is to continue its expansion across Europe, US & Asia.

The company offers no-code software tools for the insurance industry and is already used by more than 70 across property & life insurance.

Artificial Labs – on a mission to help commercial insurers write risks better and faster – will be investing in further development their AI platform.

Whilst talking bigger deals, the word on the street is German insurtech Wefox is in late discussions to raise more dollars. And this time with a valuation of $6bn – double that of their Series C.

Maybe their backers missed the inflated valuation memo? Or maybe the hype is real or for now, still unmissable?

On the smaller deal size, great to see UK’s Wrisk raising $1.3m on Seedrs.

I caught up with Niall Barton, Wrisk’s Exec Chairman in New York a few weeks back. I’ve always liked the business albeit it’s changed significantly since I first met it. They’re now working with a bunch of leading automotive brands shaping ‘the future of their customers’ mobility and insurance protection experiences’. Definitely worth checking out if you don’t know them already.

Also, to end with a nice one from Italy – Wopta.

These guys have landed a $3.1m Seed round to offer insurance for artisans and entrepreneurs. I wish them buona fortuna.

Lloyd’s Lab Cohort 9 – Applications Open (and 8 days to apply!)

I promise(ish) I won’t write about this every week.

A great shout out by Matthew Grant earlier today promoting the virtues of the Lloyd’s Lab and everything you need to know to apply. Have a read and if it sparks your interest, do get involved.

I’m catching up with Ed Gaze and Rosie Denée from the Lab next week so keep an eye out for that interview. I’ll also be chatting with a few of their latest cohort to get the inside track – from the connections they’ve made to the opportunities they’re exploring.

Asia, the home of embedded

There’s so much noise around embedded at the moment.
And what I mean by noise is a general absence of hard data supporting case studies.

Now, I say that, and yet it was quite the opposite for the TDI APAC Awards last week.

Alright, not all these guys are embedded plays but it was true across the board. Whether local or global, all these guys are absolutely smashing it – Cover Genius, Dacadoo, Flip, PasarPolls, Surer, and the winners, bolttech.

Huge congratulations to all and a particular shout-out to Melissa Wong from bolttech. I saw her present in Singapore a few weeks back and she’s exceptional. If you have a couple of minutes spare, do watch her presentation below:

A big thanks to Simon Phipps and The Digital Insurer for the invite to join as a judge. And great fun to be sharing the stage with Yannick Even of Swiss Re. Again.

Congratulations also to Terence Leung from AIA HK Macau – the winner of the Insurer Innovation Award. Sønr is super proud to be a sponsor of the Award and to provide you access to our platform to support in your scouting and innovation journey.

The good and bad from home insurance

Let’s start with the good.

Home insurance provider Openly has raised an impressive $75m Series C bringing its total funding to $137m.

The company was founded in 2017, in Boston and works with around 17k independent agents to offer home insurance in 19 US states. The company has shown some impressive growth with its in-force premium growing more than 500% year over year as well as achieving double-digit new sales market share.

On the flip side, the not-so-good.

It was only last year that Hippo announced the launch of its tailored homeowner’s association product, which was made available in 16 states.

However, according to reports, Hippo will no longer be offering the coverage due to ‘unfavourable reinsurance terms’…although Hippo is stating its choosing rather to focus on its ‘core Hippo products’.

UK driving the future of mobility

Following the partnership with Verisk, Ford is now jumping into bed with British mobility data company Wejo.

As part of the agreement, Wejo will gain access to personalised connected vehicle data from Ford vehicles (if drivers have consented), which can then be shared with insurance companies to help detect fraud, understand behaviour on the road, and help create more tailored underwriting and a better claims experience too.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Another couple of insurtech favourites:

Zego has partnered with on-demand logistics company Ryde, which connects businesses with last mail delivery riders. The collaboration will involve Zego’s insurance validation API being embedded into the Ryde platform, simplifying onboarding.

And one I love, following a successful Series A of $12m, cycling insurtech Laka has raised further funding from Porsche Ventures, bringing the total Series A funding to $13.5m.

Laka says it will be collaborating with Porsche Ventures to ‘build the backbone to support the e-mobility segment.’

Cyber M&A and Israel leading the charge

For a bit of cyber news, where better to start than in Israel?

XM Cyber – which was acquired by Schwarz Group for a whopping $700m late last year – is also in the process of acquiring Israeli cyber startup Cyber Observer. The deal is estimated to be $30m.

XM Cyber has worked with insurers including Plymouth Rock and the latest acquisition should help it improve its cyber risk platform.

And on the investment from, RevealSecurity has secured $23m to fund its global expansion.

Founded in 2020 these guys have an AI platform which provides protection against inside threats with a particular focus on insurance and banking.

Finally in Paris, cyber startup Stoik has raised an $11.5m Series A to help drive growth of their hybrid insurance and cybersecurity product in European SME markets.

Stoik positions itself as a ‘wholesale broker’ which partners with insurance brokers who lack an in-depth knowledge of cyber security – and it seems to be working.

The company has 200 active brokers on its platform, with plans to hit 1k by the end of the year.

Très bien Stoik.

ESG. The markets second favourite trend.

Whilst there’s plenty of embedded research requests coming in from our clients, ESG is never far behind.

A few that stood out this week:

ESG Book has closed a $35m Series B, backed by Allianz X, amongst others.

ESG Book, founded in 2017, has developed a cloud-based platform which makes ESG data more accessible and transparent, and to help ensure capital can be allocated to more sustainable assets. Lovely.

Another that I think is great, is digital banking app Ando.

They’re launching a new insurance program which will make sure that NONE of the customers’ premiums will be invested in fossil fuel companies. The program will officially open in July and will allow customers to buy different insurance products – including auto, home, and renters – through partnerships with insurers like Nationwide, Allstate, and Travelers.

This is something I’m sure we’re going to see more of.

Finally, who doesn’t love a bit of Mali insurtech?

From the eighth-largest country in Africa, Mali-based Oko has raised $500K Seed extension, to help with its plans to expand in Ivory Coast and also work towards a Series A.

The company, founded in 2017, offers affordable mobile-based crop insurance products to farmers given the current unstable climate. The startup operates in Mali and Uganda and from 2020 to 2021 the company saw an impressive 6x growth of customers – now serving more than 15K farmers.

Interesting Mali fact: back in 2017, 67% of the population was estimated to be under the age of 25. Crazy.

Now, whilst chatting ESG, a Spøtlight interview I’ve been meaning to share for ages – Tim McCosh from Yokahu.

I don’t recall how or where I met Tim, but we hit it off instantly and I’ve followed his entrepreneurial journey with great interest.

The business is a simple, fast paying disaster insurance offering for individuals located specifically within the Caribbean.

With a background in insurance he’s a superbly interesting and capable chap. He’s also starting to get great traction from the industry too and is currently partnering with one of our clients, Chaucer, amongst others.

Life, health and mountains

Yet another insurtech responding to the changing economic conditions is Texan life insurance firm Bestow.

Despite having raised $137.5m and very strong year-on-year growth in 2021, they’ll sadly be laying off around 50 staff.

This is very much in contrast to their previously bullish plans to hire up 150 workers in 2022.

In contrast health startup Sana has secured a $60m Series B to advance its mission is to make health insurance plans more affordable for SMBs.

And somewhat earlier stage, French health-focused startup Axomove has raised $1.6m to continue its growth.

The company was founded in 2017 and created a remote physical therapy solution targeting insurers and hospitals. The offering fits squarely into the ‘prevention is better than cure space’ – ensuring patients are following the prescribed treatment correctly in order to avoid (more costly) deterioration.

And last but not least, another Spøtlight interview.

Christina Cai, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Lydia.ai is another person I’ve got to know over the years and have been wanting to catch up with for ages.

Established in 2015, Lydia.ai is venture backed with offices in Toronto and Taiwan and is on a mission to ‘insure the next billion people’. It works with insurers to leverage new data to accelerate underwriting practices and develop new inclusive digital products.

Whilst we did talk about the business, I think we probably need another session to get into it all at a deeper level!

We ended up mostly talking about entrepreneurship, climbing mountains, living nomadic lifestyles and personality traits which, whilst they may lend themselves to running a successful business, aren’t always the most healthy!

The interview was recorded shortly before ITC Asia.

Insurtech 100. Bigger and better.

With over 75k views and 15k actively engaged, last year’s Insurtech 100 was a huge success.

This year it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

We’ve already started working on it and will be launching it around mid-September. We’ve already secured our primary sponsor and are currently inviting others to join the mix.

There are plenty of different ways to get involved, all providing a tonne of value beyond a mere logo on a report.

If you’d like to know more, drop Cam a note and he’ll be able to tell you more.

Right that is me done. I’m beyond broken (seemingly 2 days in Amsterdam will do that) and looking forward to catching up on some weekend sleep.

If you’re reading SøNws for the first time, please do subscribe.
If you’re not yet talking to Sønr about how we can help you with your market intelligence and insurtech scouting, please do get in touch.

Have a good one. Until next time.





Copyright © 2022 Sønr Global. All rights reserved.

If you enjoyed this email, please forward to a friend and suggest they subscribe. If you didn’t, feel free to unsubscribe from this list or let me know what you’d rather read about.


Subscribe to SøNws

Join 10,000s of others and keep ahead of insurance innovation news and activity from around the world: