Comcast Ventures Backs Home Insurance Tech Startup

Comcast Ventures and Fifth Wall led a $25 million “B” round in Hippo, a California-based home insurance technology and service startup.

Founded in 2015, Hippo has raised $36 million so far, according to Crunchbase. Hippo closed a $14 million A round in December 2016 that was led by Horizons Ventures along with help from RPM Ventures, Propel Venture Partners, GGV Capital and Pipeline Capital.

The company’s aim is to serve a large swath of underinsured homes with an approach that, it claims, is both cheaper and more modern.

Notably, the company says it uses smart home technology to help detect problems early and, when possible, prevent damage from taking place. For example, the company provides a free water leak sensor with every policy and expects to offer other home-safety products.

Comcast hasn’t announced how it might work more closely with Hippo down the line, but the company has been boosting its focus on smart home technologies and services in recent years. Its Xfinity Home service has more than 1 million subscribers.

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The startup holds that its policies are underwritten by insurance companies with nearly $200 billion in assets. It also claims that its policies are up to 25% cheaper to purchase, and customers can obtain quotes in as little as 60 seconds.

Hippo noted that it aims to make its insurance product available to 60% of U.S. homeowners in 2018. Per its web site, the product is currently available in three states: California, Arizona and Texas.

Hippo said the new funding will support expansion and development initiatives planned for this year, including a new customer service center in Austin, Texas, that will become the “hub for Hippo’s claims advocate concierges, along with its insurance operations teams.”

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“Hippo is reimagining homeowners insurance with a customer-centric model, built from the ground up,” Assaf Wand, Hippo’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “The company leverages big data, like municipal building records, and innovative technology, such as satellite imagery and smart home devices, to streamline the quote and onboarding experience - quotes in under 60 seconds and sign-up in under three minutes.”

“More and more complex financial purchases are being made online, yet the insurance industry has fallen short of providing homeowners with a digitally delivered product that provides the quality of service consumers deserve,” added Sam Landman, managing director of Comcast Ventures. “We invested in Hippo because the team is executing against their vision to build a more modern, consumer-focused product with proprietary internal tools that we believe will create a sustainable operational advantage.”