While China has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) ventures over the past few years, it seems Japan is now looking to jump onboard too. This comes following the announcement that Japan’s SoftBank Group has just become the lead investor in a $120 million funding round for Lemonade Insurance. It’s not just technology that’s advancing, but everything that’s related to it too, even down to insurance.
Lemonade Insurance is a US based AI based insurance startup. Previously the firm raised $60 million in funding which included investors such as Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, and Thrive Capital. It offers both homeowners and renters insurance using AI based means and behavioural economics. Already it’s selling its insurance in eight states including California, New Jersey, Texas, New York, and Illinois. The company’s target number of customers for the year was 13,000; they ended with 90,000.
“The insurance brands we know today came of age in the era of the horse-drawn carriage, “ said Daniel Schreiber, CEO and co-founder of Lemonade. “But insurance is best when powered by AI and behavioral economics, which is why we believe that companies built from scratch, on a digital substrate and with a social mission, will enjoy a structural advantage for decades to come.”
Japanese telecom corporation SoftBank is hoping its investment will help Lemonade develop its AI software further. This will help minimize paperwork and speed up the overall claims process. Already the company is exceeding its targets. “By combining big data and AI with a seamless user experience, Lemonade is truly revolutionizing the insurance industry,” said David Thevenon, a senior investment professional at SoftBank and now part of Lemonade’s board too. “We have been impressed by the team’s creative approach to disrupting the traditional insurance model with innovations like Zero Everything policies and Giveback, and we look forward to supporting the company’s rapid growth.”
Here’s what Lemonade president and co-founder Shai Wininger had to say: “SoftBank is an ideal partner for us and we are thrilled to have them on board. We share SoftBank’s conviction that big data and machine learning are set to profoundly remake our entire industry, and SoftBank has the vision and means to enable this common vision to become a reality.” Lemonade will be using some of this latest funding to expand its services next year to countries outside the US.