(Image source: Openly homepage.)
Openly Inc., a Boston-based technology-enabled premium home insurance provider focused on simplifying the buying process and supporting rather than disintermediating agents, has closed a $40 million Series B investment round. The round is led by Advance Venture Partners (San Francisco), with participation from return investors, including Gradient Ventures (Palo Alto, Calif.), Obvious Ventures (San Francisco), PJC (Boston), and Greenlight Re (Dublin). The current round of fundraising brings the total investment in Openly to over $62 million.
Founded by insurance industry veterans Ty Harris and Matt Wielbut, Openly describes its approach as using next-generation data and technology to offer straightforward, customer-friendly home insurance policies. The company assumes that, given the complex nature of most policies and the sensitivity around protecting one’s home, nearly 50 percent of Americans buy their home insurance through an independent agent. Openly’s strategy is to sell its policies exclusively through these agents.
Openly says its product benefits consumers and independent home insurance agents alike. “It provides consumers with more comprehensive coverage and top-notch service,” an Openly statement says. “At the same time, independent agents benefit from the ability to generate fully underwritten policies in seconds, giving them back precious time to customize coverage to meet each consumer’s needs, rather than tediously entering data.”
Openly launched in late 2019 and reports that it already has over 3,000 independent agents offering its product to consumers—a rate of adoption that the company attributes to a focus on excellence and the quality of its customer experience. Openly reports that its sales to date outpace most direct-to-consumer rivals at a similar stage and says that it expects continued rapid growth through 2021 and beyond.
“We at Openly recognize the massive opportunity that exists to challenge incumbents and improve insurance,” comments Ty Harris, CEO and Co-Founder of Openly. “We used modern technology to re-build core aspects of how an insurance product works. Then, we handed our improved product to independent agents because they know what real improvement looks like. The reception has been phenomenal. We’ve spent very little on marketing and yet seen sales just take off. That’s because our product—the insurance itself, the technology, and the human experience—has proven to be fundamentally superior.”
Simplicity and Breadth of Coverage
Courtney Robinson, Founding Partner at Advance Venture Partners, recalls that when she first encountered Openly as she was shopping for home insurance she was struck by the simplicity and breadth of coverage, compared to alternatives offered by traditional insurers. “When we met Ty and Matt shortly thereafter, it was immediately evident that they had a clear vision for reimagining insurance, with a new approach to underwriting, modern interface, and customer-friendly terms,” she says. “The team’s deep domain expertise, combined with their agent distribution strategy and rapid month-over-month growth, led AVP to preempt the Series B financing. We at AVP are thrilled to partner with Ty and Matt and excited to be a part of what’s to come.”
“Courtney and the whole AVP team rapidly got up to speed on our business, and we could tell through the ensuing discussions that they will be great long-term partners,” adds Openly’s Harris.
Expanding Geographic Footprint
Openly says will use the proceeds from the Series B fundraise to expand its geographic footprint from six states at present to most of the country by the end of 2021. The Company also affirms that it will continue to invest heavily in both the technology and the people needed to carry out insurance operations at scale.
“Openly provides a best-in-class product to customers and agents that want better, tech-enabled insurance products,” comments Zach Bratun-Glennon, Partner, Gradient Ventures. “We continue to invest in this business because we see the rapid adoption and rave reviews that Openly is achieving. The growth is exceptional, but Openly also underwrites particularly low risk, big policy customers and turns them into long-term fans of the product.”
“Openly brings technology-driven transparency, efficiency, and user experience design to the fore with agents,” adds Vishal Vasishth, Co-Founder, Obvious Ventures. “This is enabling the team to transform the insurance sector in world positive ways, and this latest funding will help propel their purpose.”
“It’s been quite a journey getting from zero to where we are, and we feel very fortunate to have created this opportunity,” comments Matt Weilbut, CTO and Co-Founder, Openly. “The close of our Series B within only six months of our Series A is a testament to the hard work of our amazing employees and the incredible support of our customers, agents, investors, and partners who have put their trust in us.”