(Image source: Hi Marley website.)
Hi Marley, the Boston-based creator of an intelligent communication platform built for the insurance industry, has announced the company has closed a $25 million Series B financing round. The investment was led by Emergence Capital (San Mateo, Calif.), with founder and general partner Gordon Ritter taking a seat on Hi Marley’s Board. Returning firms Underscore, True Ventures, Bain Capital and Greenspring also participated in the round, along with additional investors including Brewer Lane.
Hi Marley describes its offering as making it simple for insurance carriers to seamlessly communicate with policyholders via text to increase transparency and cut through inefficiencies. By providing a smart SMS platform purpose-built for the insurance industry, inside of which the entire ecosystem of service providers can communicate, carriers can thus delight customers, achieve faster time to resolution, and see financial results, according to the vendor.
Hi Marley contextualizes the new funding as coming at an inflection point for the insurance industry. “Consumers already enjoyed a tremendous amount of choice in carriers, and they’ve never had more power and ease to change with just a few clicks on their phones,” a vendor statement says. “People are also driving less, so customers are looking for products like usage-based coverage to save money, which has squeezed the industry’s margins. The result is a ‘perfect storm’ of customer churn that in some cases has reached 40 percent.”
Feedback from policyholders has put pressure on carriers to interact with customers in the channels they prefer, and integrate more of the insurance claims ecosystem, such as body shops and rental agencies, as well as offer digital communications channels for services other than just claims, according to the Hi Marley statement. As a result, the number of carriers using Hi Marley’s platform has doubled, and the company has seen a 4x increase in the user base, the vendor reports.
Emergence Capital specializes in backing the next generation of industry cloud companies hyper-focused on specific challenges within a vertical. Founder & General Partner Gordon Ritter says the firm has been looking for the next industry stand-out cloud insurance company for some time. “Emergence is excited to partner with Hi Marley, as we believe their people, their vision, and their timing are uniquely situated to transform the insurance industry,” Ritter comments. “Mike Greene and the Hi Marley team have the strong industry knowledge we look for in portfolio companies, and their passion for making insurance lovable is contagious.”
Powerful New Features
Hi Marley’s stated plans for the round include “creating powerful new features, ensuring the platform scales across the enterprise, and adding to Hi Marley’s engineering, sales and customer success organizations, among others.”
“Consumer’s expectations have accelerated; they demand easy, modern and transparent communications with their insurance providers,” comments Greene, Hi Marley’s CEO and co-founder. “More so than ever, if it doesn’t meet those expectations, they simply take their business elsewhere. In response, carriers are working at an unprecedented pace to meet policyholders where they are—and we’re thrilled to help them get there faster. Our goals, which Gordon and the Emergence team are poised to help us achieve, are to continue to expand across the enterprise, with new ways to communicate while surfacing valuable insights that ultimately help insurers create more lovable experiences.”