US online life insurer Ethos’s valuation jumps to $2.7b after SoftBank funding

Photo: Getty Images

Online life insurance platform Ethos said on Wednesday it raised $100 million in a late-stage funding round from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, bringing its valuation to $2.7 billion.

Backed by the likes of rapper Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation and investment vehicles of Hollywood stars Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr, Ethos has received $400 million in funds so far, including proceeds from the current round.

Other investors in the company include venture capital firms Sequoia Capital, Accel, General Catalyst and GV, the venture capital arm of Google parent Alphabet Inc.

The company had raised $200 million in its previous round two months ago that had lifted its valuation to $2 billion.

Ethos, a so-called insurtech company, allows customers to apply for whole-life and term-life insurance policies online and replaces medical exams with health questions to expedite the application and approval process, as per its website.

The company said it intends to “democratize” access to life insurance for a broader demographic of U.S. families, while adding that it works to include more women and more low- and middle-income families under the umbrella of coverage.

Firms like Ethos saw a huge uptick in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, as insurance companies were forced to rely on technology to reach customers. It witnessed a more than six-fold increase in its revenue and customer base year-over-year.

The fast-growing sector has also attracted investor interest, with online homeowners insurance seller Hippo agreeing to go public through a $5 billion blank-check merger deal earlier this year.

San Francisco-headquartered Ethos also said it plans to double employee count by the end of the year expects to issue $20 billion in life insurance coverage in 2021.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.