Investing in European InsurTech with CLARK, Germany’s largest digital broker

By Eric Martineau-Fortin, Nick Stocks & Sanjay Zimmermann

In early 2016, we made our first investment in the InsurTech space by backing TheGuarantors, a New York based online insurance brokerage platform for landlords and tenants. Around the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, White Star Capital’s team first made contact with a new German digital insurance broker named Clark. Fast forward to today, Clark has become one of the largest digital insurance brokers in Germany and we are proud to be embarking on their journey to become the largest insurance broker in Germany and Europe.

The insurance market in Germany is fascinating, driven by a German love for insurance. On average Germans hold 6.5 policies and pay annual premiums of almost €2.5k, making it one of the top 5 largest insurance markets in the world, with over €194bn in annual gross written premium. And even with a relatively flat population over the last 10 years, premiums have actually increased by 22%.

This large market translates into €16bn of insurance commissions for the c. 50 thousand insurance brokers across the country. The majority of these brokers are offline local “mom and pop” players, that have built up their client list through door to door sales over several years. We see this market evolving in two major ways, leading to our excitement about this opportunity:

  1. Shift to digital (online) brokers: the digitalization of finance theme is inevitable for German insurance brokers, driven by customer expectations as well as high costs and inefficiencies related to running an offline model in an increasingly complex and regulated environment.
  2. Consolidation of the market: The average age of a broker today is 55 and over 35% are planning to retire over the next 10 years. We believe that instead of new brokers entering the market, consumers will concentrate towards a few large full service brokers such as Clark.

Clark is powered by a robo-advisory platform which scales insurance advice and supported by a team of certified insurance experts available via chat, email and phone to cover all insurance needs in one place. The platform is available on web and mobile for consumers and serves P&C, life and health insurance products. Shortly after launching in 2015, Clark overtook older digital brokers and today counts close to 100,000 users on it’s platform.

From the start, Clark has taken a collaborative approach with insurers, broker pools and other intermediaries which have propelled the business into its leading position

We’ve been extremely impressed by the four co-founders, repeat entrepreneurs who form a solid complementary team of experts across all functional areas: Christopher’s experience scaling Wimdu as co-founder and COO, Marco’s deep insurance expertise which is vital in this industry, and Steffen’s tech and Chris’ marketing expertise.

This deal also shows the conviction we have in the strength of the Series A and B market in Europe, and our ability to help out with internationalization as witnessed by our recent investments in Aire, Klaxoon, Meero, Echo and Butternut Box. While we have had a strong interest in the German ecosystem since the beginning at White Star Capital, we are pleased to be investing in a first major deal in the country alongside strong partners such as Portag3, Coparion, Crossatlantic, Kulczyk, Finleap, Hitfox, Yabeo and Sparkasse Bremen.

From a White Star Capital perspective, beyond our interest in InsurTech, we also believe that our experiences with consumer fintech solutions through Borrowell and Drop could also bring significant value to Clark. Additionally, we see human in the loop AI driven automation technology parallels with Dialogue (in which Holtzbrink Ventures participated); when it comes to virtually diagnosing medical conditions or remotely selling complex life insurance products.

With that, we are delighted to announce that we are co-leading Clark’s US$29m round of financing. Eric Martineau Fortin and Nick Stocks will be joining Clark’s board bringing experiences from both sides of the Atlantic to guide Clark on its next growth chapter… And Beyond.

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About White Star Capital
White Star Capital is an early-stage Venture Capital firm that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, data-driven businesses. Based out of London, New York, Montreal, Paris and Tokyo, our international presence, perspective and people enable us to partner closely with our Founders to help them scale internationally from Series A onwards.

Find out more about how we venture beyond at http://www.whitestarvc.com

www.clark.de
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