Fintech Investments

SoftBank Plows $120M Into Alt Insurer Lemonade

Japanese tech giant SoftBank is leading a $120 million investment round in home insurance startup Lemonade.

According to Bloomberg Technology, New York-based Lemonade uses artificial intelligence and bots to minimize paperwork and speed up the claims process for renters and homeowners.

The company raised $60 million before this recent announcement. Previous backers included General Catalyst, Alphabet Inc.’s GV and Sequoia Capital. While the firm isn’t disclosing its valuation, sources said it will exceed $500 million, up from the previous round.

Launched in September 2016 as a licensed insurance carrier offering homeowners and renters insurance in New York, Lemonade has obtained licenses in 25 states over the past year. In addition, it has created a way for real estate and commerce websites and apps to offer the company’s products.

“Growth has been in excess of our expectations since our last round,” co-founder and CEO Daniel Schreiber said in an interview. “We’ll end this year around 90,000 customers, and our target for the year was 13,000,” he added.

The new funds will be used to expand into global markets in the new year and to expand the company’s workforce, which currently numbers 60 employees.

SoftBank has been busy of late. The company is in the process of buying 17 percent of Uber’s outstanding shares. If the deal goes through, the SoftBank-led investor group will also acquire two of the new board seats, with the remaining four going to independent directors. The Japanese firm is also expected to make a separate $1 billion investment in the company at the $68.5 billion valuation.

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