Digital Risks, the digital-first insurance provider for fast-growth technology and media businesses, has raised £2.25m in an investment round led by Concentric, with participation from Atami Capital, Seedcamp, London Co-Investment Fund and Beazley. The insurtech start-up, co-founded by Cameron Shearer and Ben Rose, is challenging traditional business insurance providers with an entirely online experience and flexible monthly subscription model, ideally suited to today’s millennial run, digital-first businesses.
CEO & Co-founder, Cameron Shearer, hit upon the idea for Digital Risks while struggling with commercial insurance in the tech and advertising sectors. He found existing providers were inflexible, expensive and lacked the technical knowledge to instil confidence that he was being adequately covered. That sparked a partnership with Ben Rose, who had worked extensively with cyber and technology insurance, and a mission to build a new type of insurance brand that would make buying insurance easy and accessible for digital SMEs.
Digital Risks has its eyes on the booming digital start-up and SME market, and already insures many of the UK’s top start-ups, in sectors spanning software development and IT services, media, digitised traditional businesses, plus new technology sub-sectors like fintech, medtech and edutech. The UK’s digital industries are growing 32% faster than any other part of the economy, representing 1.9m businesses in the UK, with anticipated growth of 5% each year.
Digital Risks has developed its own proprietary software that automates the entire process of buying and managing insurance. Rather than providing a simple price comparison service, or consolidating the customer’s risks to a single underwriter, the platform considers risks individually and places them with the most suitable provider. The system follows a similar model to the more traditional offline broker process, but sold entirely online and as a single experience.
With its subscription-style model, Digital Risks is also challenging the restricted availability of specialist insurance online, enabling clients to pay monthly and modify or cancel their cover at any time, offering greater affordability and accessibility to growing businesses. Its products are backed by underwriters, including Aviva, Tokio Marine and Beazley, and the brand has just been named Insurance Start-up of the year at the British Insurance Awards.
With the help of this funding raise, Digital Risks is now focused on growth, through scaling its marketing, tripling its team and developing new online insurance products. The business also has plans to expand internationally, starting with initial moves into Europe in the next 12 months.
Cameron Shearer, CEO and Co-Founder of Digital Risks, commented: “The digital industries are growing at a phenomenal rate, as new technologies spark disruption across practically every business sector. Yet the commercial insurance industry has been characteristically slow to respond, leaving many tech startups and SMEs unable to protect themselves adequately.
“The industry needs to evolve in so many ways, from product design, to distribution and customer engagement,” he continues. “How businesses want to buy and manage their insurance has changed, with traditional offline brokers and annual commitments seen as old-fashioned and inflexible. There’s also a lack of understanding of emerging technologies, the risks involved and how to cover them, particularly with the rise in online threats, such as data breaches and social engineering.
“With Digital Risks, we’re making insurance work for digital businesses, with policies to cover for all the facets of what they do and structured in a way that gives them the convenience and flexibility to increase and change their cover whenever they need to.”
Denis Shafranik, Partner at Concentric, commented: “With new technologies proliferating exponentially across the UK and around the world, entirely new industries are being created, accompanied by entirely new business risks. These innovative startups and scale-ups need an insurance provider who understands what they do and the cyber and technical risks they face.
“We’ve been looking for a suitable investment in the insurance space for a number of years, but it has been a hard space to crack, with few teams showing us that they have what it takes. Digital Risks has that rare combination of insurance know-how, technical understanding and the ability to execute, giving us the confidence that they will become the leading digital insurance brand in the years to come.”
Mark Goodman, head of corporate development at Beazley, said: “Beazley is delighted to be supporting the next stage of growth for Digital Risks. We have been working in partnership for the last year to provide cyber and professional indemnity insurance to their clients, which has provided the opportunity for us to experience first-hand the quality of the Digital Risks team and their proposition to the rapidly growing tech and digital sector.”