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A new unicorn is born: Root Insurance raises $100 million for a $1 billion valuation

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurance startup with a tech twist, said Wednesday it has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Tiger Global Management, pushing the company’s valuation to $1 billion.  Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Scale Venture Partners all participated as follow-on investors in this latest round. The car insurance company, founded in 2015, plans to use the funds to expand into existing markets and make inroads into new states, as well as hire more employees such as engineers, actuaries, claims and customer service to support increased scale.  Root provides car insurance to drivers. Not exactly a new concept. But it establishes the premium customers based on their driving along with other factors. Drivers download the app and take a test drive that typically lasts two or three weeks. Then Root provides a quote that rewards good driving behavior and allows customers to switch their insurance policy. Customers can purchase and manage their policy through the mobile phone Root app. Root says its approach allows good drivers to save more than 50 percent on their policies compared to traditional insurance carriers. The company uses AI algorithms to adjust risk and sometimes provide discounts. For example, a vehicle with an advanced driver assistance system that it deems improves safety might receive further discounts. “Root Insurance is leading digital innovation in U.S. auto insurance,” Lee Fixel, a partner at Tiger Global Management said in a statement. “This industry is ripe for change, and we are excited to invest in a team that has the expertise, vision, and momentum to deliver real results. We look forward to growing our partnership with Root and helping them expand their footprint across the United States.” The company has grown from its home market of Ohio into 20 other states in the past two years. The company plans to expand to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2019. Drive Capital and Silicon Valley Bank are also investors in the company.

Even raises $40M to transform the working class to the savings class

The working class of the United States doesn’t get many breaks these days. It’s not just a function of low pay and long hours, but also the incredible uncertainty of income and expenses that makes surviving week-to-week so challenging. One in five Americans have a negative net wealth, even in an economy where the unemployment rate is the lowest in almost two decades. Banks, meanwhile, are actively dissuading the working class from banking with them, creating a permanent class of unbanked and underbanked citizens. For Jon Schlossberg, CEO and co-founder of Even.com, improving the plight of ordinary Americans and their finances is a deeply personal and professional mission. And now that mission has a huge new bucket of capital behind it, with Keith Rabois of Khosla Ventures leading a $40 million Series B round into the Oakland-based startup. Rabois is a return investor, having previously backed the company in its late 2014 seed round. With this latest round of capital, Even.com has now raised $50.5 million. When Even.com first launched its eponymous app, the goal was to offer income smoothing for workers, helping them avoid usurious payday loans to make ends meet. Since that first launch several years ago, Schlossberg and his team learned that the only way to improve the finances for the working class is to help them budget better — ending the need for loans in the first place. “To do anything with your life, unless you are just born to the right family, you need to spend your money wisely, but we never teach you how to do that,” Schlossberg explained to me. Last year, Even.com announced that it had stopped evening through its Pay Protection product. Instead, Schlossberg said that Even.com has evolved and wanted to “build a new kind of financial institution with products that fit your life.” It still has a feature it brands as Instapay, which allows users to request their earned pay in advance of their payday. But Even.com is increasingly focused on improving the quality of its intelligent budgeting feature. Using artificial intelligence models honed over the past few years,…

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