LONDON — Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has invested in Berlin-based “InsurTech” — insurance technology — company Simplesurance, amid a flurry of interest in the sector.
Simplesurance announced on Thursday that Rakuten had invested in the business through its $US100 million (£81.9 million) fintech fund, set up in 2015. Existing investors Rheingau Founders, Route 66, and Allianz also took part in the funding round.
Simplesurance did not disclose how much specifically it has raised in this round but said the cash injection takes the company’s total funding to over €30 million (£26.1 million). Simplesurance, founded in 2012, raised $US8 million (£6.5 million, €7.5 million) in 2015. It took the company’s total funding at the time to $US11.5 million (£9.4 million, €10.8 million).
CEO and founder Robin von Hein told Business Insider that Simplesurance planned to raise even more money later this year. He said the latest round of funding would be used to invest in Simplesurance’s product: “The money is for two things: one is for our competitive position as the leading provider of cross-selling insurance solutions across Europe, and, as well, to expand our digital consumer-broker channels.”
Simplesurance provides software that lets online shops offer insurance at the checkout for products people are buying — a smartphone or TV, say. The company does not insure the products itself but works with partners like Munich Re that underwrite the policies.
von Hein told BI: “We give every e-commerce shop a plugin for cross-selling an insurance product. You have cross-selling in the offline world when you walk into like a Best Buy and you buy a washing machine. The offline store offers you a warranty extension and coverage plan. We’re doing this kind of cross-selling in the e-commerce world.”
Simplesurance works across 28 European countries and has 150 staff. von Hein says: “We’re the only players who have this kind of plug and play solution, so software that can integrate in any kind of e-commerce checkout. We work with 2,000 different kinds of e-commerce stores and also manufacturers like Huawei.”
Investment and interest in “InsurTech” has exploded in recent years with a spike in investments and deals. Timo Dreger, a managing director at Berlin-based Apeiron Investment Group, said at a recent conference that the sector is “for sure the hottest thing in 2016 and for sure the hottest thing this year too.”
Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, managing partner of the Rakuten FinTech Fund, says in a release announcing the Simplesurance investment:
“With InsurTech quickly becoming a growth area within fintech, the investment in Simplesurance as one of its most innovative and promising players makes perfect sense for us. We’re looking forward to exploring possibilities for growth and synergies with Rakuten services.”
Von Hein told BI: “When we founded the company, nobody was interested in InsurTech. I think the reason InsurTech has come up in the last few years, one reason is insurance is one of the major industries that has not been disrupted until now.”
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