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Bestow Closes $50M Series B For Digital Life Insurance, Sees 800% YoY Policy Growth

Note: This headline and story was updated post-publication to more accurately reflect information provided by the company.

Bestow, a Dallas-based digital life insurance platform, has raised $50 million in a Series B round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

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The company says it actually completed the financing in February, but is only now announcing it in conjunction with the launch of the Bestow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created “to assist those most in need of financial support during a crisis or disaster.”

Existing backers including NEA and Morpheus Ventures, and Core Innovation Capital also participated in the Series B round, along with new investor Sammons Financial. The financing brings Bestow’s total raised since its 2016 inception to $67.5 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Melbourne O’Banion, co-founder and CEO of Bestow, told me the company has seen major growth lately. As of the end of first-quarter 2020, the number of policies sold was up 800 percent year-over-year, he said. Revenue growth was “even higher,” but he was not more specific. He declined to say how many people Bestow has insured but noted that it’s placed “billions of dollars in coverage.”

O’Banion founded the company along with Jonathan Abelmann. Having started two other insurance-related companies, he became intrigued by the lack of technology adoption in the life insurance space.

“We’re trying to digitize something that’s always been analog,” he said. “We became intrigued with the fact that demand existed, yet there was this lack of adoption by millions of consumers.”

Growing quickly

Bestow, unlike most competitors (with the exception of at least Ethos, which we covered here) does not require people to get a medical exam, according to O’Banion.

“We’ve developed our own software, and use algorithms and data to turn a four- to six-week long process into one that can be completed online in 10 minutes,” he told Crunchbase News.

In addition to its Dallas headquarters, Bestow also has an office in Austin. The company has about “40-something” employees in each location, according to O’Banion.

Bestow is growing quickly via a variety of distribution channels, selling its policies directly to consumers via paid search and affiliates, for example. It also has integrated with a variety of fintech partners such as Acorns and Chime and is distributing its product through their platforms. Lastly, it’s got a growing agent advisory channel.

Blog Roll Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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