InsurGrid raises pre-seed financing to help modernize legacy insurance agents

Insurance agents spend hours handling paperwork and grabbing client information over the phone. A new seed-stage startup, InsurGrid, has developed a software solution to help ease the process, and make it easier for agents to serve existing clients — and secure new ones.

InsurGrid gives agents a personalized platform to collect information from clients, such as date of birth, driver’s license information and policy declaration. This platform helps agents avoid sitting on long calls or managing back-to-back emails, and instead gives them one spot to understand how all their different clients function. It is starting with property and casualty management.

The startup integrates with 85 insurance carriers, serving as the software layer instead of the provider. Using the InsurGrid platform, insurers can ask clients to upload information and within seconds be registered as a policyholder. This essentially turns into a living Rolodex that insurers can use to access information on the account, and offer quotes on a faster rate.

Image Credits: InsurGrid

There’s a monetary benefit in providing better service. Eden Insurance, a customer of InsurGrid, said that people who submit information through the platform converted at an 82% higher rate than those who don’t. Jeremy Eden, the agency owner of Eden Insurance, said they were able to show consumers that its plan was $ 300 cheaper than its existing rate.

At the heart of InsurGrid is a bet from the founding team that legacy insurance agents aren’t going anywhere. Co-founder/CEO Chase Beach pointed out that the majority of the $ 684 billion of annual property and casualty insurance premiums in the United States is distributed by approximately 800,000 agents working in 16,000 brokerages. So far, InsurGrid works with more than 150 of those agencies.

When asked if InsurGrid ever had plans to offer its own insurance, similar to insurtech giants Hippo, Lemonade and Root, Beach said that it is solely working on innovating around the sales process for now. He said that these big companies, which have either recently gone public or are planning to, still rely on agents to be successful.

“Instead of us replacing the insurance agent, what if we gave them that same level of technology of a Hippo or large carrier,” Beach said. “And provide them with the digital experiences so they can compete in 2021.”

As time goes on, he sees insurance agents taking the same role that financial advisors or real estate agents take: “very much involved in the process because they are that expert.”

Other startups that have popped up in this space include Gabi, Trellis and Canopy Connect. The differentiator, the team sees, is that Beach comes from a 144-year-old insurance legacy, giving him key insights on how to sell to agents in a successful and effective way. It is starting with sales, but expect InsurGrid to expand to other parts of the insurance process as well.

To help them compete with new and old startups, InsurGrid recently raised $ 1.3 million in pre-seed financing to help it fulfill its goal to be the “underdog for the underdogs,” Beach said. Investors include Engineering Capital, Hustle Fund, Vess Capital, Sahil Lavingia and Trevor Kienzle.

Startups – TechCrunch

Examine Key Forces Shaping Revenue Based Financing Market Growth | Capria Ventures LLC, Decathlon Capital Partners, Fleximize, GetVantage, SABINE CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC, Uncapped Ltd – WhaTech

Examine Key Forces Shaping Revenue Based Financing Market Growth | Capria Ventures LLC, Decathlon Capital Partners, Fleximize, GetVantage, SABINE CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC, Uncapped Ltd  WhaTech
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

With $62.5M in debt financing, Road Runner Media puts digital ads behind commercial vehicles

If Southern California-based Road Runner Media succeeds, you’ll start seeing a lot more ads while you’re driving.

That’s because the startup is placing digital screens on the back of technicians’ vans, delivery vehicles, buses and other commercial vehicles. Those screens can show both ads and serve as a brake light — according to founder and chairman Randall Lanham, the brake light functionality is required if you’re putting a sign on the back of a vehicle.

“The way we look at it, we are a digital brake light,” Lanham said. Yes, the brake light is showing ads, but “the driver touching the brakes interrupts the ad.” (The sign can also indicate turns, reversing and emergency flashers. You can see a mock-up ad in the image above, and real footage in the video below.)

To pursue this idea, Lanham (who described himself as a “recovering attorney”) enlisted Chris Riley as CEO — Riley’s experience includes several years as CEO of PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand. And the company announced this week that it has secured $ 62.5 million in debt financing from Baseline Growth Capital.

The idea of putting ads on moving vehicles isn’t new. There are, of course, ads on the tops of taxis, and startups like Firefly are also putting digital signage on top of Ubers and Lyfts. But Riley said Road Runner’s ruggedized, high-resolution LCD screens are very different, due to their size, quality and placement.

“[Taxi-top ads] don’t have the color, the brilliance, the clarity,” he said. “We can run a true video ad on the screen.”

Riley also said the ads can be targeted based on GPS and time of day, and that the company eventually plans to add sensors to collect data on who’s actually seeing the ads.

As for concerns that these big, bright screens might distract drivers, Lanham argued they’re actually attracting driver’s eyes to exactly where they should be, and creating a brake light that’s much harder to ignore.

“Your eyes are affixed on the horizon, which is what the [Department of Transportation] wants — as opposed to on the floor or the radio or directly off to the left or right,” he said. “That’s where your safest driving occurs, when your eyes are up above the dashboard.”

In fact, Lanham said he’s “very passionate” about the company’s mission, which in his view will make roads safer, and is creating a platform that could also be used to spread public service messages.

“We have the ability to retrofit any vehicle and make it safer on the highways,” he added. “I really, truly believe that we will save lives, if we already haven’t.”

The company says it already has 150 screens live in Atlanta, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, with plans to launch screens in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. in March.

 

Startups – TechCrunch

NIRSAL’s latest N148 billion financing to boost Nigeria’s agricultural sector – Ventures Africa

NIRSAL’s latest N148 billion financing to boost Nigeria’s agricultural sector  Ventures Africa
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

ErudiFi raises $5 million Series A to give students in Southeast Asia more education financing options

Based in Singapore, ErudiFi wants to help more students in Southeast Asia stay in school by giving them affordable financing options. The startup announced today it has raised a $ 5 million Series A, co-led by Monk’s Hill Ventures and Qualgro.

ErudiFi currently works with more than 50 universities and vocational schools in Indonesia and the Philippines. Co-founder and chief executive officer Naga Tan told TechCrunch that students in those countries have limited financing options, and often rely on friends or family, or informal payday lenders that charge high interest rates.

To provide more accessible financing options, ErudiFi partners with accredited universities and schools to offer subsidized installment plans, using tech to scale up while keeping costs down. Interest rates and repayment terms vary between institutions, but can be as low as 0%, with loans payable in 12 to 24 months.

By providing their students with affordable financing plans, ErudiFi can increase retention rates at schools, helping them keep students who would otherwise be forced to drop out because of financial issues.

Tan said ErudiFi’s value proposition for educational institutions is “being able to offer a data-driven financing solution that helps with student recruitment and retention. Students also greatly benefit because our product is one of the few, if not the only, affordable financing option they have access to.”

In a press statement, Peng T. Ong, co-founder and managing partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures, said, “Access to affordable tertiary education remains a huge pain point in Southeast Asia where the cost is nearly double then the average GDP per capita. ErudiFi is tackling an underserved market that is plagued with high-interest rates by traditional financial institutions and limited reach from peer-to-peer lending companies.”

ErudiFi’s Series A will be used on hiring for its product and engineering teams and to expand in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Startups – TechCrunch

Best business equipment financing options for expansion to new market

I'm a co-owner of a specialty fueling business, we've been in business for 6 years and we are about to gain a special legal advantage that will give us access to a market that is 15x the size of our current market, and has been untouchable until just now by anyone.

In order to execute and conquer this market-share as fast as possible, we need to build one new fuel distributor per quarter(we have extensive pro forma modeling to prove this out, all based on our real numbers of what we're doing now) – each one costs about 250k, we need to add 2 in the first 2 quarters ideally.

We are self-funded up until this point and we can easily just continue this way and we'll get to the market but we don't want to limp to the market, we want to dive in and dominate it!

Does anyone know how to get about ~500k in business equipment loans? Or have advice of where to look?

Biz stats below:

TLDR;

Specialty fueling biz
300k rev 100k profit
6 years in business
No debt

seeking…
500k in business capital for equipment and expansion into new market with a special legal advantage to be the only one with market access(new market is 15x the size, we can prove this).

Where is the best place to go for this capital? Or does anyone with this type of funding experience have recommendations?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Financing options for acquiring larger partner/management buyouts? Is this still a thing?

I have a small SaaS business which works in partnership with a larger company and extends their products. I was employed as a software developer of the parent company until I started my business and have had a relationship with the owners and worked in our niche for nearly 20 years.

Our business has grown extremely quickly over the last year and is much more profitable per sale than our parent company; more importantly I have some concerns about the direction of the parent company and believe I could both significantly improve its profitability and grow the business.

I estimate the parents company value at perhaps $ 3m AUD (although undoubtedly the owners will want more for it). I have a fairly high confidence given current interest rates that my business could service the say $ 30k+ p/m in repayments to buy the parent at some point in the near future (under 1 year). Especially when I take into account the revenue the parent makes.

However like most people I don't have anywhere near $ 3m laying around. Further while I am certainly aiming to become a larger business this is probably not at the level that VCs would be interested in (nor am I frankly sure that I want to try and get into the VC world).

So my options seem to be either try and get a bank loan which I believe might prove very difficult without substantial collateral or try and raise funds from somewhere that might have experience with management buyout type deals (given that my goal would be to keep a substantial portion of the existing employees whom I all know personally).

Some might suggest discussing this with the owners and perhaps financing with their help. While this is a possibility that I haven't dismissed there are 3 owners to this business all of whom have extremely eccentric personalities, its going to be hard enough just to get them to sell. Plus for me to convince them this is a good idea, I essentially need to convince them that they aren't doing a good job?!

Anyone have any comments on what some financing options for this type of a deal might be? Ever heard of anyone in a similar position pulling something like this off?

Thanks in advance for any input…

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

How Trade References Can Help Your Startup Get Financing

New businesses often find it challenging to get financing. Many lenders prefer to lend to businesses that are at least a year or two old and that have strong financial profiles. But if you wait until your business is a couple of years old, you may find yourself missing a key piece of your credit profile: good business credit.

Trade references can help you jumpstart the process of building business credit while helping your startup improve cash flow.


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The importance of building business credit

Business credit is similar to personal credit. Your business may have business credit scores that indicate to lenders and financial institutions how creditworthy your business is.

If you want to take out a loan or even open a business credit card, having a solid business credit history can help. When you first open your business, this may not be top of mind, but there will likely come a day down the road when getting financing makes sense to grow your business. That’s why you need to start thinking about your business credit now.

The thing is, you don’t automatically have business credit. You must build it.

You can build your credit several ways, but one of the easiest ways to get started is with trade references.


Related: 5 Ways to Make Budgeting and Strategic Borrowing Easier

What are trade references?

You may work with vendors who extend credit to your business. It’s a bit like the credit card you have with your favorite department store or grocery store; you make purchases and pay for them later.

You might get a trade credit line with your office supply store or the company you buy your inventory from.

Essentially, trade credit allows you to make a purchase and pay for it later. Not only does that give you some leeway with your cash flow, but it also helps you build your credit.

A trade reference is a report that includes your payment history with that vendor. This trade reference may be verbal, in a letter, or reported to business credit bureaus like Experian, Equifax, or Dun & Bradstreet.

They’re important because your positive payment history can help you build your business credit and boost credit scores, and that will qualify you for financial products at great rates. If you apply for a bank loan, you may be asked for trade references. This helps the bank understand how long you have had this credit account, whether you’ve ever paid late, and how much credit you have available.


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How to get a trade reference

It’s fairly easy to get a trade reference, but first, you’ve got to start by having trade credit.

Step one: Get trade credit

The most obvious place to start is with the vendors and suppliers you already do business with. Visit their websites (or call your account rep) to see if trade credit is an option. There are also a number of vendors willing to extend credit to businesses that purchase their products and services, even if your business is new.

You may be asked to provide financial information about your company in the application process. Some vendors will cap how much trade credit you are extended, so be sure it makes sense for your needs.

Be clear on the terms before signing anything. Are there fees or interest on unpaid balances? Do balances need to be paid off each month, or can you carry over a balance?  Many vendors offer net 30 terms, which means you must pay your invoice within 30 days after the invoice date. Some offer shorter or longer terms, and the longer your relationship with the supplier, the greater the likelihood you can get longer terms.

Also, be aware of which credit bureaus the vendor reports to. If the vendor doesn’t report to a credit reporting agency, there’s not a lot of value to you in terms of being able to build your credit.

Step two: Practice smart financial habits

Now that you have your trade credit, you’ll want to use it smartly. When you use that credit, make sure you can afford to pay the balance in full and on time. Know that a late payment can negatively affect your credit scores.

Put your payment due dates on your calendar and try to pay a few days early so you allow time for the payment to be processed.

Step three: Ask for a trade reference

When the day comes for you to apply for a loan, those trade references can be helpful in getting approved for the financing you need.

While your vendors may report your trade credit to credit bureaus, you may also need trade references as part of your application. Don’t worry; it’s usually easy to get a credit reference letter from a vendor for this purpose.

Send a letter to the customer service department, asking them to draft a letter that includes:

  • How long you have had trade credit with the company
  • The terms of your payment
  • Whether you pay on time
  • Whether you have had late payments
  • Whether the company considers your business to be a good credit risk

Allow a few weeks to get a response, and account for this in your timeline for applying for the business loan. Once you receive it, you can include it in your loan application. Typically, banks want to see three such trade references.

Taking out credit with vendors and suppliers is a fantastic way to manage your cash flow and build your business credit. And once you’ve built that relationship over time and paid your invoices by their due dates, you can request a trade reference that can help you get the small business financing you need to grow your business.

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