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Insurtech honcho raises £1.2m

Source: honcho

Insurtech startup honcho – provider of the UK’s first reverse auction marketplace for financial services – have completed their latest investment raise as their mission to revolutionise how consumers buy insurance continues.

The Durham-based innovator has  brought a further £1.2m of investment into their business with participation from crowd
investors, Insurtech Gateway and existing investors Finance Durham which was established  by Durham County Council and overseen by Business Durham, and the North East  Development Capital Fund (“NEDCF”), supported by the European Regional Development  Fund, as they embark upon their next phase of growth.

Between 2018 and 2019 honcho raised £1.8m from a combination of crowd investors on  Crowdcube, angel investors and investment house Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), who  manage both Finance Durham and NEDCF. This enabled the start-up to launch their car  insurance marketplace last autumn, and to start work on preparing for expansion into new  insurance markets in 2020. Thousands of consumers have signed up and used honcho since  launch, with 12 insurance providers now active on the platform, selling policies from 30  insurers including Axa, Aviva, Ageas and Zurich.

honcho’s latest investment round has seen further investment from Maven’s managed  funds alongside another successful crowd raise on Crowdcube where over 600 private  investors took the opportunity to buy shares in the insurtech disruptor.

As part of this raise honcho also welcomes investment from venture capital firm Insurtech  Gateway, the London-based incubator and fund with an exclusive focus on the insurtech  sector. Insurtech Gateway were formed in 2017 and have incubated some of the insurance  sector’s most exciting new tech businesses including By Miles, FloodFlash and Collective  Benefits.

Commenting on the investment, honcho CEO Gavin Sewell said: “Raising investment is one  of the most challenging aspects of running a startup, and we’re delighted to have achieved  this £1.2m raise with the continued support of Maven and with further investment from the  crowd. We’re also thrilled to welcome Insurtech Gateway to the honcho family. As  specialists in our sector they will bring an immense amount of support to honcho as we  enter our next phase of growth. Insurtech Gateway’s expertise across the sector extends  from technological capabilities to expertise on products and consumer acquisition, and  we’re looking forward to working with them.”

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “Aykley Heads is fast  becoming an important Fintech cluster for Durham, so it’s extremely exciting to be able to  continue to support honcho, one of the leading companies in the sector. Their base at  Salvus House offers them the room to grow and provides them with a prestigious location in  the heart of the city. We’ve supported them from the beginning and really look forward to continuing to watch them fulfil their potential with the support of Finance Durham.”

Insurtech Gateway CEO Richard Chattock said: "Today's consumers rightly demand fairer,  more transparent insurance. honcho's new model delivers this. It reduces commissions,  eliminates bias and allows consumers to make purchasing decisions on product as well as  price. We're delighted to be joining honcho's journey to revolutionising personal lines  insurance distribution."

Michael Vassallo, Investment Director of Maven Capital Partners, said: “We’re delighted to  support honcho’s latest fundraise, having backed the business originally in 2018, we  continue to support Gavin and the team as they grow the platform, making significant  enhancements and adding new insurance product lines.”

In addition to honcho’s car insurance marketplace, which itself has doubled in size since  launch and is due to grow by over a dozen more insurance providers over the coming  weeks, honcho’s plans for 2020 include the launch of dedicated new reverse auction  marketplaces for van insurance and for learner driver insurance. As with their 2019 launch,  pioneering social marketing agency Social Chain are poised to lead the charge in introducing  honcho to these markets.

Talking about honcho’s 2020 growth plans, chief product officer Tom Spence said: “There  are over 4 million vans on the UK’s roads and the nation’s van drivers have been at the  mercy of price comparison websites for their insurance for far too long. honcho’s van  insurance marketplace will launch this spring and we’ll be bringing long-overdue  transparency and fairness from some of the UK’s leading van insurance providers.

“Following van insurance, we’ll be extending honcho to learner drivers. When you’re  learning to drive the last thing you need is to navigate the mysterious maze of learner  insurance to then get lumbered with something that isn’t right for you. honcho is going to  change all of this with our special learner zone in the spring, bringing our unique reverse  auction marketplace to both temporary and annual learner driver insurance.”  

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