This week, global insurer Tokio Marine launched a venture capital fund that will support early-stage start-ups. The venture fund Distributed Ventures led a seed round for Armadillo. A new KPMG report detailed global venture capital investment for the 2021 first quarter. The insurtech MGA Foxquilt rolled out a new eCommerce insurance product. A former AXA XL executive has become a strategic advisor for Betterview. A former Plymouth Rock chief is joining Polly (formerly DealerPolicy). There’s big news for Rogue Risk, a digital independent insurance agency based in New York, too.
Tokio Marine, a global insurer based in Japan, has launched a venture capital fund that will support early-stage start-ups.
Initial plans for the fund include investing in insurtech as well as fintech, mobility, healthcare, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), climate risk and sustainability.
Investors with the fund will look for seed and Series A-stage companies in North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The Tokio Marine Future fund will be based in Silicon Valley in California, with an initial infusion of $42 million, though the global insurer plans to add more in subsequent fund cycles.
The fund will work with World Innovation Lab to help drive its initial investment strategy and process. World Innovation Lab is a US- and Japan-based VC firm that invests in growth-stage companies.
Tokio Marine Future Fund has already made some early-stage investments, including in the insurtech TrustLayer, which automates insurance verification with machine learning and AI.
The venture fund Distributed Ventures led a $3.5 million seed round for Armadillo.
Armadillo is a tech-driven home warranty company with a digital platform that provides affordable protection through a subscription for home appliances and systems when they break down.
The New York-based fund said the investment dovetails with its focus on companies transforming the future of risk in fintech, insurtech, digital health and benefits.
Armadillo, launched in 2021, hopes to expand into all 50 states.
Global venture capital investment during the 2022 first quarter reached nearly $145 billion, which is higher than all but the four consecutive record-breaking quarters in 2021, according to KPMG’s new Venture Pulse report.
One of the biggest money raises during the quarter came to Germany’s Wefox, an insurtech digital insurer that pulled in $871 million.
The report found that total investment remained strong but that the number of VC deals dropped from 10,775 deals in the 2021 fourth quarter to 9,349 in the 2022 first quarter. Geopolitical and economic uncertainty drove the dip, the report noted.
KPMG said that VC investment declined in the Americas and Asia, growing modestly only in Europe.
The insurtech MGA Foxquilt recently rolled out a new eCommerce insurance product to support small business owners.
The new product is designed to help businessowners secure coverage that is tailored to their specific needs, entirely online, on their own time and at better prices than through conventional needs.
It is intended to provide reliable coverage regardless of the percent of US sales a business has that are eCommerce or where the products come from.
Foxquilt, which is based in Toronto, plans to launch the product in the US later in 2022.
A former AXA XL executive has become a strategic advisor for Betterview, an insurtech that provides P/C insurers actionable property intelligence.
Robert Klepper was most recently global chief underwriting officer for AXA XL’s property, energy and construction division. He’s also held executive positions with AIG, Torus Insurance, XL Catlin and Swiss Re.
Betterview, which launched in 2014, uses proprietary computer vision, geospatial imagery and third-party property intelligence to help P/C insurers predict and prevent losses, optimize efficiency of underwriting and inspections and build a more transparent relationship with insureds.
Former Plymouth Rock chief operating officer Tom Lyons is joining Polly (formerly DealerPolicy) as its new president and chief operating officer.
He’ll report to Polly CEO and co-founder Travis Fitzgerald.
Lyons, in his new role, will handle Polly’s insurance platform, including agency distribution, book performance, written premium revenue, earning recognition, sales and service. He will also oversee product, marketing, operations, underwriting and analytics.
Polly is a Vermont-based insurance marketplace for automotive retail.
Rogue Risk, a digital independent insurance agency based in New York, has been acquired by and is now partnering with SIAA, the largest national insurance agency alliance in the US.
“The experience, resources, and reach that SIAA brings to the table will act as rocket fuel for our mission of delivering a ‘No Customer Left Behind’ digital experience for small businesses while providing insurance professionals a ‘No Ceiling’ insurance career,” said Ryan Hanley, the founder of Rogue Risk, who will be continuing as the president of Rogue Risk, and also joining SIAA’s senior management team.