Canadian Underwriter

Home telematics startup Roost closes second round of funding with investments from Desjardins Insurance and Aviva Ventures

August 23, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Roost, a U.S.-based innovator in smart home telematics for the insurance industry, announced on Wednesday it has closed its second round of funding with US$10.4 million in investments from three companies, including Desjardins Insurance.

The US$10.4 million Series B funding includes investments from three companies: Aviva Ventures, Desjardins Insurance and Fosun RZ Capital. Credit: Roost.

The US$10.4 million Series B funding includes strategic investments from three companies, led by Aviva Ventures, with participation from Desjardins Insurance and Fosun RZ Capital in China, noted information from Sunnyvale, Calif.-headquartered Roost. Existing investors also participated in the round, bringing total funding to date to US$17 million.

Additional insurance partners include the United Services Automobile Association, Liberty Mutual, American Strategic Insurance and Hippo Insurance.

A spokesperson for Desjardins told Canadian Underwriter that they do not disclose the amount invested in this round of funding. “That being said, we are pleased to support our business partner as they are supporting us in developing innovative solutions that benefit our policyholders,” the spokesperson said.

Boris Collignon, vice president of strategy, innovation and strategic partnerships with Desjardins General Insurance Group (DGIG), said in a statement from Roost that “the launch of our Alert program in March, enabled by Roost’s Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector, has contributed in driving policyholder engagement and loyalty. Our policyholders can take advantage of this free solution to quickly mitigate water leak situations before damage occurs and to avoid this type of stressful situation as much as possible.”

On March 21, DGIG announced the cross-country availability of the home insurance program Alert, designed to keep policyholders informed of potential leak sources so that can action can be taken and water-related damage prevented. When a client with a home insurance policy from Desjardins Insurance, The Personal or State Farm Canada sign up for the program, he or she receives a free water, freeze and humidity detector to place close to potential leak sources inside the home.

Related: Willis Towers Watson and Roost to establish home telematics consortium of 5-10 U.S. carriers

Aviva Ventures’ managing director Ben Luckett said in the statement that the corporate venture fund is “delighted to be entering the U.S. market with this investment in Roost. In the [United Kingdom], we have been offering Roost Smart Batteries to our home insurance customers and I am excited about how this investment supports our ambition to empower our customers to prevent bad things from happening, rather than fixing it when something goes wrong.”

Roel Peeters, co-founder and CEO of Roost, suggested that the latest investment round “is a strong validation of Roost’s value proposition as a leader in the emerging home telematics insurance segment. The new funding will be used to continue our product development efforts as well as expand new product services for our insurance partners,” Peeters said.

The statement concluded by saying that property insurance companies are recognizing that affordable smart home solutions, which provide early warnings of danger or property damage, are key to improving home safety and consumer peace-of-mind. In addition to reducing the cost of fire and water perils, “Roost partners are also discovering higher levels of engagement, brand affinity and improvements in customer retention.”

As the creators of the Roost Smart Battery and the Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector, Roost has developed a “unique, patented, connected platform of data sensors that deliver the ultimate in installation simplicity and the most affordable way for insurers to provide home telematics solutions,” the statement said. Roost’s primary go-to-market approach is through insurance companies deploying directly to their policyholders.

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