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Insurance startup Bright Health raises $200M at ~$950M valuation

A flurry of digital-first insurers are betting they can surpass industry incumbents with a little help from technology and a lot of help from venture capitalists. The latest to land a massive check is Bright Health, a Minneapolis-headquartered provider of affordable individual, family and Medicare Advantage healthcare plans in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, New York City, Ohio and Tennessee. The company, founded by the former chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Bob Sheehy; Kyle Rolfing, the former CEO of UnitedHealth-acquired Definity Health; and Tom Valdivia, another former Definity Health executive, has brought in a $200 million Series C. The funding values Bright Health at $950 million, according to PitchBook — more than double the $400 million valuation it garnered with its $160 million Series B in June 2017. Sheehy, Bright Health’s CEO, declined to comment on the valuation. New investors Declaration Partners and Meritech Capital participated in the round, with backing from Bessemer Venture Partners, Greycroft, NEA, Redpoint Ventures and others. Bright Health has raised a total of $440 million since early 2016. Insurance startups have raised billions as industry players fight tech disruptors VCs have deployed significantly more capital to the insurance technology (insurtech) space in recent years. Startups in the industry, long-known for a serious dearth of innovation, have raked in nearly $3 billion in private capital this year. U.S.-based insurtech startups have raised $2 billion in 2018, a record year for the sector and more than double last year’s total. Deal count, meanwhile, is swelling. In 2016, there were 72 deals conducted in the space, followed by 86 in 2017 and 94 so far this year, again, according to PitchBook’s data. Oscar Health, the health insurance provider led by Josh Kushner, is responsible for about 25 percent of the capital invested in U.S. insurtech startups this year. The company has raised a total of $540 million across two notable deals in 2018. The first saw Oscar pulling in $165 million at a $3 billion valuation and the second, announced in August, had Alphabet investing a whopping $375 million. Devoted Health, a Waltham, Mass.-based Medicare Advantage startup, followed up with a massive round of its own. The company nabbed $300…

‘Brotopia’ inspired OODA Health to raise its $40.5M round only from firms with female partners

It’s never particularly easy to raise a round of venture capital — but I think most experienced founders will tell you it’s not quite as bad the second or third time around, when you’ve got some experience under your belt and a track record to present to VCs. It helps if you’re male too, at least according to all the data out there on the gender funding gap in VC. The leadership team at OODA Health, a startup developing technology to make the U.S. healthcare payment system more efficient, is both male and experienced. But unlike most companies of that nature, OODA decided to raise money for the business only from VC firms that have at least one female leader, a solution to one of tech’s greatest problems that is oft suggested and rarely executed. “‘Brotopia’ really hit me hard,” OODA Health co-founder and CEO Giovanni Colella told TechCrunch. In “Brotopia,” sex parties are the least of Silicon Valley’s problems Colella is the founder and former CEO of Castlight Health, which raised nearly $200 million in VC funding before going public on the NYSE in 2014. Co-founder, COO and president Seth Cohen is Castlight’s former VP of sales and alliances and co-founder and CTO Usama Fayyad is the former global chief data officer at Barclays and Yahoo. The trio ultimately landed on lead investors Annie Lamont of Oak HC/FT and Emily Melton of DFJ, both of which have joined the company’s board of directors. “We have a responsibility of setting an example,” Colella said. “There is no machismo in what we’ve done. We are not better than you because we did it. We were blessed. We had more investors that wanted to invest than we could accommodate.” Though the company’s C-suite is occupied by men, Cohen and Colella were quick to clarify that other members of their founding team, head of operations Julie Skaff, head of product Sophie Pinkard and director of product strategy Midori Uehara, are women. The team began working on OODA Health last year after Colella and Cohen agreed to build something that would upend the healthcare…

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