The rise of the European Insurtechs

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Hello, happy Friday.

No preamble this week. Let’s get straight to it.

UK insurtechs scaling across Europe

A huge congratulations to Tobias Taupitz and the Laka team for their $12m Series A this week.

What I love about this is the vision they’ve shared as part of the announcement: To build the leading e-mobility Insurtech in Europe, powered by its unique insurance model.

If there’s ever a reason to keep a track of the startups you know or meet, Laka is a great example of what you see today is rarely what they’ll be tomorrow.

And if you need a platform to help you keep track of startup activity, you might want to check this one out 😉

Particularly well known for the cycle insurance, Laka will expand its product offering to e-scooters, e-mopeds and, eventually, e-cars to better serve Europe-wide partnerships including manufacturers, retailers and leasing businesses.

And for 2022, the plan is to launch in Belgium, France and Germany in 2022.

Another announcing plans for expansion is British unicorn, Zego. It currently operates in six markets and plans to launch in the Netherlands and then move on to France.

Founded in 2016 by former Deliveroo directors Sten Saar and Harry Franks, Zego’s main offering is commercial motor insurance. And since its acquisition of Drivit in 2020, it has focused on the $27bn European fleet insurance market.

It’s not just the Brits expanding across Europe

Another great example of a startup that has scaled way beyond its roots is Luko.

I first met Raphael Vullierme, Luko’s Co-Founder back in 2018 when we invited them over to the UK to explore working with one of our clients. At the time they had developed a trio of retro-fit ‘home guardian’ devices which monitored energy consumption, door activity and water flow.

Roll forward a few years and they’re the #1 home Insurtech in France and in the process of acquiring German startup Coya. This will enable it to automatically obtain an insurance licence in Germany and also expand its presence in Europe.

Nice. I wish them luck.

What makes Israel such a hotbed for successful insurtechs

Over the coming weeks we’re catching up with Kobi Bendelak who runs InsurTech Israel and a few of the standout local business to learn more about the market conditions and entrepreneurial attitudes that are driving such successes.

As an introduction, check our latest Spøtlight with Dror Katzav from Atidot. These guys are one of our Insurtech 100 companies and definitely worth checking out.

It’s the first time I’ve spoken with Dror and it’s an eye-opening insight to his background and how that translates to applying AI, ML and predictive analytics to life insurers around the world.

In the next SøNws you’ll also get to hear from Toonimo, OpenLegacyBinah.Ai and Should be good.

Series A – the inflection point of any scaling insurtech

Keeping with the Israel vibe, a few stories that caught my eye this week:

In the commercial space, Sayata has added $35m to its Series A.

The news comes only five months after raising $17m off the back of impressive 10x growth over the previous 12 months.

The Israeli company, which also has offices in the US, automates the lengthy process of finding and securing business insurance.

Another is claims management solution provider Five Sigma which also extended its Series A, bringing the company’s total funding to over $20m.

Founded in 2017, Five Sigma is a cloud-native, data-driven Claims Management Solution (CMS) embedding AI to enable intelligent claims processing for the insurance industry.

Lastly a company that has headquarters in both Israel and the US, Honeycomb, has raised a $15.4m Series A.

These guys are set on disrupting commercial lines insurance – with a particular focus on multi-family property insurance – think property managers, homeowner associations, developers and building owners.

That represents some pretty big underwriting challenges but the company says that it has developed first AI-driven technology stack, which streamlines the process faced by landlords and condo owners’ associations.

It expects to insure more than $1bn of real estate assets by the end of this first quarter.

Mental health startups addressing worker burnout in Asia

Another Insurtech 100, Asia’s FWD Group has raised $200m in a funding round ahead of its planned IPO in Hong Kong having raised a whopping $1.6bn of late.

The company initially failed to obtain an IPO in the US market after struggling to receive full approval from US regulators. Founded in 2013, FWD has presence in 10 Asian markets among which Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines offering life and medical insurance, general insurance and employee benefits.

Keeping with Asia and Singaporean mental health startup Intellect has grabbed $10m in a Series A round with plans to rapidly expand across the continent.

Since the company launched in 2020 it offers an app that hosts self-guided cognitive behaviour therapy programmes and already has 3 million users across 20 countries. Huge numbers and in large part as it’s addressing the issue of burnout in workers in Asia caused by Covid-19.

Life and health in the US. Just not the usual.

There’s always so much activity in the US it’s easy for it to become noise.

I thought I’d pull out a couple I thought were particularly interesting:

Another Series A, this time for San Francisco-based Amplify which raised $12m.

Founded in 2019, Amplify is the first digital platform which offers customers the ability to invest in public equities and other alternative investments with their life insurance premiums.

Since launching their customer-facing platform in 2020, the company has seen impressive growth of 400% YoY and has already helped thousands of customers with their investment plan.

The other is blockchain startup Avaneer which has grabbed $50m in a Seed funding. Just to repeat, $50m in SEED funding. Wow.

The funding news comes after growing interest in the challenge of (secure) data sharing in healthcare. Lo and behold Avaneer offers a network using blockchain to enable a secure data exchange between healthcare providers.

It’s worth calling out blockchain is a tech trend almost all our clients are revisiting right now. The use cases and applicability to insurance is huge. If you’d like to know more about what’s going on in the space and how it could apply to your business, drop us a line.

Investment, M&A and AI driving underwriting efficiency

It’s celebration time at Verikai – as they announce their acquisition by American Financial Group for the princely sum of $120m.

Founded in 2018, Verikai leverages machine learning and AI with a primary focus on optimising underwriting efficiency.

A great example of a focussed tech enabler being snapped up bolster capability. Undoubtedly more of this to come in 2022.

On the investment side full-service risk exchange specialist Accelerant has raised just over $190m at an impressive $2bn pre-money valuation.

Founded in 2018, Accelerant provides underwriters with analytics tools to provide insights, and better manage operational/regulatory complexities, in order to help MGUs and PAs to improve efficiency and communication when working with carriers.

There’s so much opportunity to change up the underwriting landscape. I might get into this a little deeper in an upcoming SøNws. For now that’s your lot. Sorry.

Early stage cyber building in Europe

Founded just last year, Berlin-based Baobab has raised $3.9m in a pre-Seed round.

Their pitch is to protect SMEs in Europe from the rising levels of cyber-attacks.

As is well documented, mass digitisation over the last 2 years, as well as distributed workforces, have left many companies vulnerable – particularly SMEs, who are less likely to be insured.

Baobab aims to prevent that by integrating cyber security with insurance – proactively helping them to spot vulnerabilities before the worst happens.

Closer to home and London-based cyber risk management provider KYND has raised $4.4m.

The company has some impressive growth figures, having achieved a 1000% growth on annual recurring revenue since June 2020. I’m now thinking our 12 new clients in 2021 wasn’t all that impressive after all.

Founded in 2018 they’ve also struck partnerships with high-profile insurers and brokers such as Beazley, Howden and Paragon.

German healthtech scaling quickly

Before we take a quick tour of the rest of the world, a couple of strong German scale-up announcements.

Healthtech Wellster has raised a $60m Series B to launch a new femtech platform.

This comes only six months after the first funding round of $40m and makes Wellster the best-funded integrated healthcare platform in Europe.

The company was launched in 2018 and since its platform was started in 2019 it has managed to register more than 1.5m patients using it for their mental and intimate health.

The other is Berlin-based health startup Patient21 which is about to break cover, after raising a pretty strong $142m in total.

Founded in 2019, Patient21 is a digi-physical platform which aims to fix the disjointed healthcare system – helping to streamline operational management, enable predictive diagnoses and improve patient experiences and outcomes.

The trend towards greater integration of technology into healthcare systems of course isn’t new, but we love seeing these tangible examples coming to life and Patient21 has been busily buying up and refurbishing dental practices with their tech.

The lesser spotted Insurtech news

It’s always a treat to read something new, right? Always be learning n’ all.

A few from around the world which I thought worth a share.

Australian startup Reask, focused on natural hazard modelling, has announced a Seed round led by none other than global tech giant, Tencent. Interesting.

Reask provide natural catastrophe risk mapping and near-term risk trend forecasting – enabling customers to map hazard risk globally, across anywhere from a few hours to decades into the future. A compelling proposition in a competitive space, but with a huge backer – one to watch.

Speaking of Australia – you should check out our other Spøtlight from this week, with Nigel Fellowes-Freeman, Founder and CEO of Kanopi. Kanopi is a data-driven insurance platform which helps insurers digitally transform their business, embed insurance and integrate across the industry’s ecosystem. Definitely worth checking out.

Out in Saudi, one of the top insurers, Walaa, is taking the open innovation approach and has partnered with eBaoCloud DigitalCore platform to manage all of its commercial and consumer lines of business to improve its operational efficiency.

From 2019 to 2020, Walaa achieved over 21% revenue increase and realised the need for legacy system change to meet its growth aspirations. Thus, Walaa was looking for a modern platform to centralise its management and admin functions.

Founded in 2000, eBaoTech is a major technology solution provider for the global insurance industry. In fact, I think I’m running a Spøtlight interview with these guys next week too.

Finally India’s tech giant Tech Mahindra is betting big on digitally transforming insurance industry.

They’ve snapped up IT solutions provider, CTC for $351M. CTC is an IT solutions and service provider serving the insurance and financial services industries with development centres in Latvia and Belarus.

Tech Mahindra is also investing a cumulative amount of €20m into two Insurtechs – SWFT (customer engagement platform) and Surance (personal cyber insurance solution), for a 25% ownership in each.

Building the future of insurance. Together.

Ah, it’s good to get back into the SøNws rhythm.

Do drop me a line if you’d like to chat through any of the above or learn more about working with Sønr. We work with insurance companies around the world, providing the intelligence to discover and connect with a world of new opportunity. And we’re seriously good at it.

If you’re already using the platform, please do feel free to tell your colleagues and peers across the industry. That’d be super kind. I’m keen to really build the business in 2022 and every little helps.

Actually, that gets me on to a Tuesday update.

For those who didn’t see it last week, Tuesday is our new community for bringing small groups of likeminded people together.

We’ve over 100 registered already – from the largest of carriers to brand new Insurtechs.

Simply let us know a little about who you’d like to connect with, and we’ll bring you together with 5-6 others, once a month for 6 months.

Get started here.

A last shout out, this one for the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Their 2022 Annual Conference is less than a month away taking place on Tuesday 22nd February, both in London and virtually.

As you’d hope and expect it’s bringing industry leaders, politicians and regulators together to debate the major issues affecting the insurance and long term savings industry. The conference will be chaired by Broadcaster Louise Minchin and will include speeches from Ed Balls and Jamie Barlett

Because we’re such nice folk you’re able to get a 10% discount off tickets using the unforgettable and pretty catchy code: ABIConf22-SoNws

That’s me, done.

Have a great weekend. Do get signed up to Tuesday to make some new connections.

And if we’re not connected already, you can find me on LinkedIn or drop me a line directly. Always good to say hello.



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