Kissterra is a marketing software insurtech that has quietly built a sizable early presence in the US insurance industry. Now it is expanding to pursue broader growth.
The company employs 75 people, 73 of whom are based in its Tel Aviv, Israel offices. Kissterra employs two others new hires in the US, with more planned as it pursues further expansion, said Ifty Kerzner (pictured), Kissterra’s co-founder and president.
Kissterra’s proprietary software is designed to help insurers target their marketing effort toward their key audience. The company has focused early on the US auto insurance market.
“We felt like we can bring initially the most value in the auto insurance vertical,” Kerzner said. Customers include auto insurance carriers, insurance providers and large agencies. While he declined to name names, Kerzner said that Kissterra has conducted business with three of the top five auto insurance carriers in the US, as well as some direct-to-consumer players. A number of agencies are also clients, he said.
Overall, the company has more than 40 US insurance providers as customers.
Kerzner launched Kissterra with co-founder and CEO Segev Shilton about seven years ago. It’s raised substantial investment, including a $66 million investment in 2021 from the Menorah Mivtachim insurance and finance group. This was the company’s first venture capital financing, Insurtech Israel News reported at the time.
“We were bootstrapped for six-and-a-half years, extremely successful [with] revenues over $100 million,” Kerzner said. “And then we did our first raise.”
Kissterra is designed to help marketers do a more precise job targeting the customers they need to maximum effect.
“The marketing department historically is kind of blind,” Kerzner said. “They have no idea who’s going to come to the door, how much it is going to cost and how much they’re going to be worth.”
Insurance marketing departments also don’t typically get the detailed data they need about where they spend and what the results are, Kerzner added.
“If you go to a large auto insurance carrier today in the United States and you just ask them, ‘how much money have you guys spent from this morning until this evening?’ - They don’t know as there’s no way for them to monitor.”
Kissterra’s central technology is a marketing operating system built for insurance, a cloud-based product that helps give carriers what they need to digitally distribute or market their products. It relies on natural language processing (NLP), machine learning [ML] and artificial intelligence (AI), using initial methodologies on NLP and understanding human behavior developed in the Israeli army, Kerzner said. He added that the system can use “huge databases in real time.”
It acts as a centralized data hub for the entire organization’s data, helping understand where marketing spend hits and why.
“The first thing you do is you centralize the marketing data for them to at least know what they’re doing and where their money is going,” he said. “The second thing you do is you connect that data to their internal lifetime value prediction algorithms.”
The system helps users get a 360-degree view of their clients, Kerzner said, including the cost to acquire or keep a customer, and a bigger connection between marketing investment and profit.
“We can actually ensure profitability for insurance carriers, which is extremely important always, but especially in the last couple of years when it has become harder to be profitable,” he observed.
The platform also helps give users insights about how to regain or increase profitability, depending on their specific performance.
Once customers are interested in Kissterra, the company connects via a simple integration API to whatever is feeding customer data into the client’s systems. Some carriers have built this internally and others use an external system.
This step creates an intake of information at the carrier. Next, Kissterra centralizes its client’s marketing information, so it is all on a unified platform, which can involve one or two API.
The next big step involves Kissterra connecting to any part of the company that has bind data, to start creating the correlation between that data and where the carrier spent money to reach the client.
“Our software becomes the first time for many companies that everything gets centralized,” Kerzner said. “It collects all this different data from all these different departments of the company, centralizes it in one data hub and allows the organization – but especially the marketing department – to gain benefits and insights from that.”
The integration process can take as little as a day, or a couple of weeks, on average, but can take longer based on customers’ internal processes.
Clients pay fees based on usage, Kerzner said.