Seedrs chief investment officer tells Insurance Times about the firm’s ambitions as well as the state of the investment landscape during the pandemic 

Investment hub Seedrs has revealed its plans to become the “go to” investment platform for insurtechs.

It follows the online investment platform partnering with trade body Insurtech UK earlier in July to boost growth in the insurtech sector.

Speaking about becoming the “go to” investment platform for insurtechs, Kirsty Grant, Seedrs’ chief investment officer told Insurance Times: “The idea behind the Insurtech UK partnership is to cement that on both sides of the marketplace.

“While Insurtech UK is on a mission to make sure that London is the darling for insurtech, part of that is ensuring the fund-raising landscape.”

She likens Seedrs to a marketplace bringing together entrepreneurs, investment opportunities and investors.

Seedrs previously fundraised for Wrisk and since then it has taken on several others such as Pluto, honcho, Dead Happy, Laka and Equipsme.

It aims to give extra support that fund-raise with us and distribute this to Insurtech UK members so that insurance professionals can see these investment opportunities.

Finding investment opportunities has been a long-standing problem in the insurtech sector.

‘Spiky but buoyant’

Grant has been at Seedrs for five and a half years, and she was previously a corporate lawyer working closely with mergers and acquisitions.

Speaking about the investment landscape during the Covid-19 pandemic, she said: “It’s been a spiky but buoyant year, in March when lockdown restrictions were first announced we saw a couple weeks of slow investment activity.

“But it bounced back surprisingly quickly into April investment activity came back to normal, and then in May we had an incredible month on the platform.”

Bullish growth

Grant points out that Seedrs is funding private early stage businesses and dealing with relatively long-term exit strategies and for this reason investments behave different it to those in the public market.

“It’s not immune from a downturn, but we have seen good investment activity in ventures. Insurtech has been one area we have seen quite bullish growth in.

”This makes sense as when you have uncertainty, people insure more. But also, lockdown measures have sped up digital adoption across industries, she said.

“I think that has really benefited the insurtechs versus the incumbents who are still reliant on practices.”

Grant cited mega rounds such as that raised by Bought by Many.

Seedrs partnership with Insurtech UK, Grant said, came about “organically” as it had previously fundraised for its members.

“We have historically been very strong in the fintech sector.

”But to keep going and invest in more niche and innovative insurtechs, we need to keep growing our investor base and make sure that we have got insurance professionals who will understand it,” Grant said.

For example, when Seedrs raises funds for an insurtech, Insurtech UK lets its member know and give them early access to that investment opportunity if they wish to back it.

Network effect 

Speaking about trends in the insurtech sector Grant said that they have been able to do things that incumbents have not been able to offer such as improving the relationship with customers.

She likens this to what challenger banks have done.

Although Seedrs has not raised for any deeper technology insurtechs say with parametric policies for example but she expects this to happen in the near future.

Grant hopes to keep Seedrs plans going, “making sure more businesses look to us for funding and [that] we bring on more investors who understand [insurtech] and create that network effect which can be beneficial” – especially in terms of growing the insurtech sector.

With the bulk of funding being from the US and UK for insurtechs, and for this reason Grant is more concerned about the longer term effects of covid on the sector as opposed to Brexit.