Limited capital, suppressed valuations and thriving insurtechs 🤷‍♀️

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Capital is seizing up. 
Valuations are plummeting. 
The hype is real.
Well, kinda. But also, kinda definitely not. 
The next 12 months will be fascinating. For some super tough. For others the opportunity to double down and enjoy the ride. 
What is for certain is we’ll see a concentration of capital deployed into well-performing Insurtechs, a tonne of M&A, and a clear-out across the market. 
Personally, I think it’s going to be great. 
What it means for you? 
Well, that you’re going to need to pay close attention to what’s going on and have a critical eye on which companies are going to thrive and which are going to fall by the wayside. To do this, speak with our team.
For now, let’s get into what’s been happening out there.

European insurtech bucking the trends

No doubt you’ll have caught both of these. 
Wefox has announced a big old $400m Series D. 

This puts them at a post-money valuation of $4.5bn – 50% up on their Series C. 

Founded in 2015 these guys sell a variety of products and make a big noise around their ‘secret sauce’ – indirect distribution. Whilst maybe not that secret (or innovative!), it’s definitely working for them.
Just recently it hit 2 million customers, has doubled revenues annually and is on track to do the same in 2022.
The other, is YuLife
These guys raised a $120m Series C – interestingly led by Dai-ichi Life – as the startup builds on its global ambitions.

With a core belief the industry is broken due to low trust, low perceived value and low engagement, the UK insurtech has gained rapid traction in an area of the market slow to adopt innovation. 
I’m keen to see how this accelerates the scaling of YuLife but also how Dai-ichi benefit from the involvement beyond putting up some cash. 

M&A driving scale and global opportunity

Routes to evolution/adaption/innovation/transformation (take your pick of words) are pretty simple: do it yourself, partner with someone else, or buy someone. 
Whilst we’ve seen partnerships be the most successful route forward for incumbents globally, we’re undoubtedly going to see a sharp rise in M&A this year. 
There’s duplication in the [insurtech] market, hyped valuations, and companies who have next to no idea on how to pivot their business towards actually making real money. 
And whilst this is all true, there are still plenty who have got their siht together and will enjoy the opportunity to use this time to build aggressively. This is true for incumbents and Insurtechs. 
And one of those is Chilean insurtech Betterfly
Following the acquisition of Flexoh, which is based out in Spain, Betterfly is now launching operations in Europe. Good on them.

The move is part of its ambitions to reach 100 million people by 2025 this is the company’s first acquisition in Europe. Interestingly M&A has played a central role in the Chilean startup’s growth having already snapped up five startups in Chile and one in Brazil – increasing growth by 20x.
More to come in Europe? I imagine so. 

Layoffs becoming mainstream

But of course, it’s not all good news.
From Zego to Next, layoffs are becoming common news. 
It makes sense, right? For years it’s been a ‘scale at any cost’ mentality and that’s changing. Whilst desperately sad for those individuals getting let go, It’s absolutely the right call for the businesses. And to be clear, we’ll be hearing more and more of these over the months.
What will be interesting is which can pivot, and make money (or at least demonstrate solid metrics), all before they run out of cash.
Sadly, some are already closing doors.

This week Honcho, launched in 2016 with the aim of disrupting the car insurance, made the call to close its marketplace. 

With the ambition to build a reverse-auction marketplace – where insurers enter a competitive real-time bidding process to offer the best price to customers, they simply couldn’t make the acquisition costs stack up. 

But as with all good entrepreneurs, they’re taking the learnings and are now placing their bets on embedded. Watch this space. I wish them luck. 
Another is Spanish telemedicine service Elma which announced it is closing due to lack of funding. 3 years in, over $8m raised and simply couldn’t take it further. Tough times. 
Right, let’s get into what else has been going on around the world. 

Self-driving busses, African expansion, and product innovation

There’s still a tonne of activity taking place across mobility. 
Whilst not an insurtech per se, self-driving shuttle startup May Mobility has announced a $111M Series C. 
The reason this interests me is seeing both Tokio Marine and State Farm participating in the round. 
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new investment will be poured into boosting its proprietary technology platforms and business development functions. 
On the partnership front Spanish insurtech Bdeo has joined forces with one of South Africa’s largest insurance companies, Hollard

Together they’ll launch an AI insurance claims assessment tool to the SA insurance market. The tool will be able to detect vehicle damage from photos submitted by customers and generate a cost breakdown of parts that need to be repaired.

And on the new product side, New York startup Stable, has announced the launch of their new insurance product for customers who use their own vehicles on platforms like Lyft and Uber
The product will initially be available in select US states, but the company plan to expand their offering to include rideshare fleets and carshare vehicle owners later in 2022. 

On demand health and WhatsApp claims

On the health front a business I’m particularly keen on, Spot, has raised $33m. 
These guys partner with lifestyle brands like USA Cycling, Powder Mountain, USA BMX and offer embedded, on demand insurance for those who sign up to their partners’ activities.
Also, a random but again great initiative, is Ghanian insurance startup AYo which has launched a WhatsApp customer channel for its users in Africa. 

It makes sense, right? Let’s meet customers’ needs where they want to engage. 
To launch the channel, the insurtech is partnering with Clickatell and will enable customers to send documents as part of their claims process as well as access brochures and other materials. 
Finally, a Spøtlight interview worth checking out. 
Sønr’s Managing Partner, Matt Ferguson talks with Efi Binder, Co-Founder of Futura Genetics.
Futura Genetics is a digital health platform, that provides life insurance using genetically based medical recommendations.

Together these guys cover how Futura Genetics helps life insurance companies to evolve and anticipate changes while at the same time, empowering potential customers to mitigate risks. And the importance of interpreting key trends within the sector to make a proven clinical impact.
Super interesting stuff.

Health, wealth, and out of stealth

As the borders of physical, mental, and financial health blur, it was great to see Uprise get off the ground with a $1.4m raise. 
Based out in Cali, these guys are looking to make premium wealth management services accessible to everyone. Interestingly one of the investors is the Founder and CEO of Kin Insurance

Getting into a little more, Uprise offers a free app that takes in a user’s full financial picture to later offer recommendations on what to do with their money. 
The startup monitors users’ finances and life changes to identify opportunities to support and optimise recommendations. Some of the areas Uprise offers help with include retirement, saving for big goals, debt reduction, maximising employer benefits, and finding the right credit cards.
A little more locally and you might remember me writing about Penny – a UK-based startup that helps find, view and manage your pension. 
They’ve announced a $4.8m raise having ‘helped thousands of customers locate and consolidate their pension pots’, amounting to more than $60m. 
Not bad considering they launched around 12 months ago.
Another doing well is digital life, pensions, and long-term investments platform, Xempus. After a $70m raise in March, we spoke to Tobias Wann and Malte Dummel to find out more about their views of the market and where they’re headed. Check it out here.

SMB insurance shifting to digital first

Keeping with early stage and French startup Orus has raised nearly $5.1m only a year after its launch. 
The company provides professional insurance for SMBs, aiming to help those most underserved with its 100% digital customer experience.

Super interesting once again to see investors ranging from the CEO of Luko to the ex-CEO of Hiscox Europe
What’s also great to see is their first product for restaurant owners, which has been co-constructed with one of fav clients Wakam.
Another in the commercial space is broker Konsileo which has raised a $5.6m Series A. 
After a strong 2021 the company says it plans to use the new investment to further develop its technology platform and accelerate recruitment of insurance brokers.

Partnerships driving the future of travel

Whilst airports and airlines struggle to cope with the surge in travel, the turmoil has benefited the travel insurance industry nicely. As such I thought I’d share a few announcements from the week. 
Europ Assistance is partnering up with Akur8. Two companies we’re big fans of.
The collaboration will enhance Europ’s pricing process for their travel and car assistance programs. 
In the UK, credit card startup Yonder is to enter the travel insurance space in collaboration with AXA

Yonder, founded in 2020, will offer comprehensive travel insurance – which includes trip cancellation, medical expenses, and more – for around $18 a month. Earlier this year in March, Yonder closed a $23m Seed round.
And AXA again, this time their AXA Partners is set to collaborate with Rock Insurance Group
As part of the agreement, AXA will underwrite a few of Rock’s travel insurance policies including Jet2, Onthebeach and Travel Republic. The policies which will be underwritten include single trip, annual multi-trip and backpacker travel insurance and also a cover for gadgets as well. 
Keeping with travel and another Spøtlight interview to share this week is a conversation with Andrew Jernigan, CEO of Insured Nomads

Launching just months before lockdown, it has not been the easiest of starts for these guys! 
But as the name suggests they’re tapping into the growing shift towards remote working and building business nicely. Have a read as there’s lots of interesting innovation and ideas for the future.

Embedded – from LatAm to Milan

And you thought I wasn’t going to talk about embedded. Well, not a chance. 
A couple you may not have come across which I thought would be good to share are: 

  1. Global insurer Prudential is partnering with Latin America’s largest e-commerce ecosystem – Mercado Libre.

    The agreement will see them offering Brazilians a range of products including term life, funeral coverage, accident and health insurance. The new offering will be backed by Argentinian life insurance startup Klimber.

    By using Mercado Libre’s platform, Prudential will be able to reach millions of new customers in a country with low insurance penetration.

  1. Italian payments specialist Mooney is partnering with insurtech Yolo to launch a new service called ‘Secure Screen’ .

    The new offering will enable customers to protect their mobile phones’ screens from damage and also guarantee the phones’ repair and replacement through a repair services company CoverCare.

    Customers will be able to purchase the new offering at a Mooney authorised point of sale and will be able to access it on the Yolo platform.

It’s also worth taking a look at an interview I did with Rajat Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer over at InsureMO, part of the eBaoTech corp

Whilst these guys have been in-market for just over 20 years they’re on a push to become the embedded OS option for insurance providers. 

A great business and a really enjoyable chat with Rajat.
Finally, keep an eye out for a report we’ve been working on with the Open and Embedded Observatory. It’ll be hitting the shelves shortly. Drop me a note if you’d like to be one of the first to receive this. 

Cyber still attracting the big bucks

Last week we heard Coalition will launch in the UK in partnership with Allianz. Congrats to John Roberts and team on that one.
This week the cyber insurance provider is back in the headlines having announced an impressive $250m Series F raise. 

With a run rate GWP nearing $740m and serving a customer base of over 160,000 with a range of products, their valuation stands at $5bn. 
Needless to say, if you don’t know these guys already, they’re definitely one to check out! 

Reinsurance reimagined. Sort of

Last but not least, New York’s Noldor has closed a $10m seed round. 
I find these guys particularly interesting – they provide a digital platform for finding, brokering and managing reinsurance capacity. A space which has seen very little innovation for a very long time

As per their literature, it ‘integrates with any tech stack for any entity with delegated underwriting authority via a API – speeding up processing, enabling more focus on analysis and reducing the time to generate a reinsurance submission from months to days.’ 
It’s a pretty compelling mix in a complex business. 

Right, that is me done. 
Time to head to a 4-year-old’s end of term school party before a few beers in the sun (well, shade for me as I recover from Chickenpox…bloody kids) with the team later on. 
If you’re new to reading SøNws do subscribe. This now goes out to over 40k insurance folk around the world every fortnight. 
Also, please do check out Sønr (the company behind all the market intelligence you’re reading here!). 
Sønr helps companies better understand how markets are changing and to identify and create new opportunities for growth. 

We work exclusively in insurance with leading companies around the world – the likes of Generali, Tokio Marine, RGAX, Allianz, Munich Re, Hannover Re and tonnes of others. 
If you’d like to know more, do drop us a line

Finally, one last call out for any marketers keen to partner with us on the Insurtech 100. We’re publishing it in September and it’ll be bigger and better than ever. If you want to get your brand out there, get in touch and we’ll send over the sponsorship deck.
Big love, enjoy the sunshine. 


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. 




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