Insurtech meets social enterprise in Branch, which aims to offer the fastest online quotes for bundled home-auto policies.
Columbus is now home to another insurtech startup. Branch began selling policies in August in Ohio with the goal of becoming a dominant player in the home-auto bundling market, and it launched in Arizona in October.
It sets itself apart from the competition by offering rapid online pricing and sales, says founder Steve Lekas. The former president with New Jersey-based Verisk Analytics also spent more than a decade at Allstate.
For now, Branch is licensed as an agency with the state, but is in the process of building an insurance company. Its policies are being underwritten by Paris, France-based Scor, a global re-insurer. The startup has raised $8.5 million from New York-based Greycroft, Bay area VC Foundation Capital and Rise of the Rest, the bus tour by AOL co-founder Steve Case.Stay up to date with the region’s thriving business scene. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.
Branch also has a social enterprise component. Lekas and co-founder Joe Emison have pledged to direct a portion of premiums to a nonprofit they’re calling SafetyNest, which will offer grants to people who can’t afford insurance.
Branch has eight employees in Short North offices, and about 100 people have signed up for policies, Lekas says. He hopes to grow the company to $5 million in premiums and 40 employees within 12 months.
Katy Smith is the editor of Columbus CEO.