$10 Million Investment to Enable Insurtech Startup Flyreel to Double Staff

By Margaret Jackson Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Insurtech startup Flyreel recently raised $10 million in Series A funding that will enable it to double its workforce by the end of next year as it grows its customer base.

Founded in 2015, the Denver-based company has created an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) assistant that provides an underwriting solution for property insurance.

The app guides homeowners through a self-inspection of their property and gives them the option for a contactless experience, helping policyholders maintain their physical distance from those outside the household during the COVID-19 pandemic. An AI assistant is available to download as a mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

New York-based IA Capital Group led the Series A round, which brings total investment in Flyreel to $18 million. Also participating in the round were San Mateo, Calif.-based insurtech provider Guidewire Software, Columbus, Ohio-based State Auto Labs, Louisville, Kentucky-based Donan Engineering, and Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund.

“The funding will be used to help us grow customers, build out our team to support our growth, and to accelerate growth,” Flyreel CEO Cole Winans said.

Poised for Growth

The company currently has 26 employees and expects its workforce to number 40 or 50 by the end of next year, but Winans expects finding the right people to add to the Flyreel team to be challenging.

“We’re competing for talent with companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon,” Winans said. “Those are pretty tough competitors. AI is the most in-demand skill set in technology today.”

It’s also important for recruits to fit into Flyreel’s culture, which Winans describes as customer-centric. The challenge will be to scale the company’s existing culture as the company’s size doubles in such a short period of time, he said.

Winans said there is a huge opportunity to deliver more automation in the property insurance arena, and the pandemic has accelerated the demand for contactless property inspections.

“Most insurance carriers have been forced to accelerate their digitization strategies — pre-COVID they were looking into self-inspection solutions so they don’t have to send inspectors out to homes. If you didn’t have a strategy in March, you suddenly did. If you did have a strategy, you’re accelerating that. We were in a position to support the carriers and support business continuity. We’re very grateful to have been in a position to help.”

The company has 17 customers that include Mercury Insurance, State Auto, and Jewelers Mutual.

Under Flyreel’s deal with Mercury, announced in August, new Mercury homeowner policyholders will be emailed a link to download the app and activate it. Then, they can complete the self-inspection at their leisure.

The virtual inspection is conducted with AI, high-fidelity video, and an AI conversation feature to streamline the experience while capturing everything Mercury needs to underwrite a policy accurately. It also helps catalog belongings and building materials in the event the customer needs to file a claim. On average, the self-inspection process takes less than 30 minutes.

“We do so much with smartphones now that giving our insured the ability to use photos and video to capture and verify the characteristics of their property made so much sense,” Holly Sacks, Mercury Insurance portfolio underwriter, said at the time the deal was announced. “The AI in our app is top-class, making it super simple to complete a self-inspection. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and fun to use.”

Winans said the insurance market and consumer expectations are shifting dramatically because of the pandemic and innovative technology. They want the convenience and flexibility technology can give them.

“The future of property insurance is you’ll walk around your property with your smartphone, and your policy will be priced and instructed by what you scan, and you’ll be insured,” Winans said. “When something does happen to your property, you’ll do the same thing with your phone. Your claim payout will be almost immediate. Today, the experience is entirely contractual and on paper.”

Several other Colorado insurtech companies have attracted the interest of investors recently. IMA Financial Group spinoff Highwing raised $4 million in seed funding in November, and in August, AgentSync raised $4.4 million to track insurance broker licensing data.

About the Author

Headshot for author Margaret Jackson

Margaret is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly 25 years in the newspaper industry. She has covered a variety of business topics, including residential and commercial real estate, technology, telecommunications, and cannabis.

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