Sequoia Capital just made a big bet on insurance tech with $13m Lemonade investment

Lynsey Barber
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Lemonade investment is one of the biggest seed rounds of funding made by Sequoia (Source: Getty)

Sequoia Capital, one of the world's leading venture capital firms which was an early backer of Apple, Google and Yahoo, has invested millions in a fintech startup with designs on disrupting the insurance world.

New York-based Lemonade, a p2p insurance company which has yet to launch, has landed $13m (£8.7m) from the Sequoia and London-based VC firm Aleph Capital.

It's one of the biggest seed rounds of funding made by Sequoia in its decades-long history.

“It is very unusual for a company to receive $13m in an initial round of funding,” said Haim Sadger, partner at Sequoia Capital.

“But it is rarer still to find such accomplished founders tackling such a sizable industry with such a compelling solution. We’re betting Lemonade will transform the insurance landscape beyond recognition. It is one to watch.”

Founded by entrepreneurs Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, they hope to launch in spring of next year, initially in New York.

“Most Americans view insurance as a necessary evil rather than a social good, and that’s something we’d like to change.

"As a fintech insurance company, Lemonade is designing around the bureaucracy and conflict that haunt the industry, replacing them with technology and transparency.

"What makes this exciting is that it requires reinventing the very structure and business model of insurance in ways not available to the legacy insurance carriers,” said Schreiber, also its chief executive.

The details of the company's product are largely under wraps, but Wininger said it was a "peer-to-peer business model fueled by self-service technology". It will likely bring a greater amount of transparency and ease for consumers in a similar way that other fintech companies have done within the payments and lending space.

Update: This article was amended to remove reference to Sequoia backing Transferwise. While it had been reported as a potential backer, Transferwise's latest $58m funding was, of course, led by Andreessen Horowitz back in January.

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