(Image source: Pendella homepage.)
Pendella Technologies, a technology company focused on eliminating bias in life insurance, has announced the completion of a $5.2 million Series Seed-2 funding round. American Family Ventures (Madison, Wisc.) and MassMutual Ventures (Boston) led the funding round. Other investors include TASC Ventures, SixThirty, Assurity Ventures Inc., Aflac Ventures, MTech Capital and Early Light Ventures.
Founded by entrepreneur and insurance benefits expert Robert Gaydos, Pendella offers an embedded, white-label individual life and disability insurance solution designed to empower distributors and carriers to easily offer affordable life and disability insurance options to their customers. The technology automates the underwriting process through the power of artificial intelligence and big data, creating a seamless and highly intuitive policy-buying experience where consumers can buy a policy completely online in minutes without a medical exam.
The company’s proprietary recommendation engine tailors life insurance options to meet the unique needs of every customer regardless of age, health condition, or income level, according to a Pendella statement.
Pendella says the new funding will support the company’s planned growth, as well as the more than 30 partnerships the company says it has formed over the last 12 months with nationwide online retail agencies, a major publicly traded insurance broker and reinsurer, financial advisory firms and professional employee organizations.
“This funding milestone is an acknowledgement of how powerful and efficient Pendella’s technology is and will allow us to keep building our carrier and product portfolio,” says Gaydos. “Our forward-thinking investors know we are perfectly positioned to tap into the significant opportunity that exists in the life insurance market. We are excited to work with them to bring Pendella’s vision to life.”
According to 2021 data from LIMRA, American life insurance ownership is at record low levels with 42 percent of the U.S. adult population currently without any coverage or underinsured. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the trend towards online insurance buying have increased consumers’ interest in securing individual life insurance to protect their families. A 2021 LIMRA study found that nearly 31 percent of consumers are likely to purchase life insurance in the next year, and at least 48 percent of Americans indicated they are more likely to buy the coverage if “simplified underwriting is used.”
“As a former life insurance agent, I have long recognized the need to bring innovation to the life insurance buying process so more people can purchase this important financial protection,” Gaydos adds. “We are already reaching millions of Americans through our existing partnerships, and we have the right tools and team to keep expanding into new markets.”
“Our fund deeply believes platforms simplifying and improving insurance distribution will generate substantial value in the market,” comments Kyle Beatty, Managing Director, American Family Ventures. We are excited to partner with the Pendella team, which we feel is uniquely situated to embed and seamlessly deliver valuable life and disability products through distribution partners.”
Quickly Connecting Individuals to the Right Coverage
“One of MMV’s key investment theses is that innovative distribution solutions are needed to address the fact that 40 percent of U.S. households and almost half of U.S. individuals lack the financial protection provided by an individual life insurance policy,” notes Eric Emmons, Managing Director, MassMutual Ventures. “Pendella’s platform enables employers, benefit administration platforms, and professional employer organizations to quickly connect individuals to an agent who can guide them to the right term life, whole life, or disability coverage.”
“What truly differentiates Pendella is how Bob has merged digital technology with traditional field underwriting, which allows the company to capture a much broader segment of the life market than the purely digital D2C models that we’ve seen,” comments Brian McLoughlin, Co-Founder and Partner, MTech Capital. “We believe incumbent insurers have not done enough to embed their products in a variety of distribution channels, leaving space in the market for innovative startups like Pendella.”