Home insurance startup Hippo bought home maintenance startup Sheltr, its first acquisition, the companies announced Thursday.
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Hippo sells home insurance, using technology to find issues in homes before they become large, expensive problems. The idea has found wide backing, with the company raising $209 million in total funding to date, according to Crunchbase.
To take a more proactive approach to home insurance, Hippo conducted a variety of pilot programs, including using Sheltr, to spot issues in homes before they became larger problems, according to Daniel Blanaru, the company’s VP of Growth Initiatives.
“As we were doing that over the last couple of years, the Sheltr team really stood out not only in the quality of technology, as well as the operational sort of sophistication that they brought to their business, but more so it was their alignment with Hippo on customers, value of services,” Blanaru said in an interview with Crunchbase News.
Sheltr helps homeowners with maintaining their properties by doing home checkups, writing up home “health summaries,” and connecting homeowners with professionals for maintenance services if there’s ever a breakdown, according to its website.
Hippo wasn’t looking to make acquisitions, but after working with the Sheltr team, bringing them in-house was a “no brainer,” Blanaru said.
Hippo isn’t disclosing how much it paid for Sheltr, which was founded earlier this year and has about $3.2 million in seed funding, according to Crunchbase. The company isn’t ruling out more acquisitions in the future, but they will be a rarity and only happen if it makes sense, Blanaru said.
“We’ve been working (with Hippo) for much of Sheltr’s life, obviously we’re a really young company,” Sheltr CEO Andrew Wynn said. “But as we partnered with a lot of players in the space, it became really apparent that Hippo’s focus on customers and its proactive approach to insurance wasn’t skin deep.”
Sheltr has eight employees, who will join Hippo’s approximately 200-person workforce.
Hippo is trying to move away from the model where insurers only interact with customers when they pay a bill or submit a claim, Blanaru said. The company is trying to create more of a relationship with customers by taking a proactive approach to home insurance, rather than just react when something happens. For example, Hippo takes aerial images of homes to see if there is any discoloration or problems with a roof and sends customers “smart home kits” that will alert them to issues like water leaks.
“For us it’s really leading the charge on a broader trend of insurance being the entry point to support and enable homeowners on a broader level,” Blanaru said.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias
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