A company which provides insurance to ‘Generation Rent’ and Millennials has gained further backing from investors to shake up the sector. Urban Jungle, founded by Jimmy Williams and Greg Smyth in 2016, has raised a further £2.5m from Eka Ventures and a host of high profile backers.
The company’s plans for growth are being backed by experienced entrepreneurs and investors, including former Prudential CEO Rob Devey, Octopus Group CEO Simon Rogerson and Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings. Devey will also join the company’s board as a non-executive director.
The latest funding round brings the total raised to £6.2m and comes following a period of growth for the tech start-up, which now has over 20,000 customers and 22 staff.
“We are still focused on growth, despite the pandemic, and will be using this funding to bring in more operational staff and expand our reach,” says CEO Jimmy Williams.
“Despite the lockdown, our business has remained robust, although the nature of claims has changed somewhat. There have been fewer phones stolen or lost as people aren’t going out much. But there’s been a lot more tea and coffee spilt on laptops.”
Williams gained the idea for the business after struggling to gain insurance himself while living with friends in London. He spotted a gap in the market where traditional insurers were failing to offer products and services to those in shared accommodation or renting.
In 2016, Williams joined forces with former Google and Facebook engineer Greg Smyth, who he met while studying at Cambridge University. Together they created a tech-powered insurance business, which offers flexible contents insurance for as little as £5 per month.
Their business cuts overheads by operating completely online and uses artificial intelligence to lower risk and screen out fraud.
“The traditional insurance industry has a lot of bad and wasteful practices which we stand against. In their Market Study last year, the FCA estimated these practices could be costing UK consumers £185m per year, a cost they can ill afford at a time of such uncertainty.
“We don’t make money in hidden fees or charge people just because their circumstances change. We also offer insurance to those the traditional industry often chooses to neglect.
“We’ve now got the funding we need to really get stuck into this market. We are on a mission to bring transparency to the market, abolish hidden fees and enable the people who need it most to gain insurance. The industry is still operating with a model that was out of date years ago. It’s time to shake things up.”