New Venture Capital Firm Looking for Insurtech Startups

February 8, 2017

The insurance industry has a new venture capital firm looking to make early to growth-stage investments in innovative insurance technologies.

David Miles, a 30-year insurance investment veteran and owner of the insurance carrier asset management firm Miles Capital, and Matt Kinley, a Pappajohn Capital Resources investor who has backed more than 50 healthcare and technology firms, have launched ManchesterStory Group, a venture capital firm backed by a consortium of insurance companies from across the country.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based firm’s insurtech areas of interest include customer engagement, core systems, home automation, telematics, “big data” customer analytics, cybersecurity, IoT, regulatory technology, digital distribution, underwriting and claims processing.

The new firm said it cannot disclose the insurance carriers behind it until the fund closes.

ManchesterStory hopes to be attractive to entrepreneurs seeking to benefit from the founding partners’ experience in helping startups succeed, as well as the opportunity to form key industry relationships.

Its investments will range from $1 million individual/$2.5 million institutional to $4 million general partner minimum commitment, according to a spokesman.

“We see tremendous investment opportunity in our target sectors, which together comprise 25 percent of the U.S. economy. Each has significant potential for digital transformation, and both are integrally connected to and impacted by insurance,” said Kinley.

“Across the financial services landscape, traditional players are adopting and/or being disrupted by digital innovations that are being demanded by their customers. Technologies that improve customer engagement, decision-making and back-end efficiencies are improving the entire value chain. ManchesterStory is ideally positioned to bring together industry leaders and startups around capital and strategy,” commented Miles.

ManchesterStory is actively seeking investment opportunities across the U.S. In addition to insurance, it is targeting financial services (fintech) and healthcare.

The new firm will join another insurance focused venture capital firm in Des Moines that is helping startups. The Global Insurance Accelerator was launched in 2013 with backing from seven insurance companies located in central Iowa: American Equity Investment Life, Delta Dental of Iowa, Farmers Mutual Hail, Farm Bureau Financial Services, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance, IMT Insurance Co. and Principal Financial Group. Each committed to contributing $100,000 per year to support the initiative and it began its first year with $700,000 in the GIA 2015 fund.

Since its launch in 2o013, GIA has added Markel, EMC Insurance Companies and Mutual of Omaha as backers.

In January 2016, GIA announced the second group of startups it is supporting with $40,000 in seed capital, office space, mentorship, business development training and access to the GIA’s network of insurance executives and investors. In exchange, the GIA receives a six percent equity stake in each company.

According to the most recent KPMG Pulse of Fintech report on investment activity in fintech in 2016, insurtech investments peaked in the first quarter, then fell in the second and third quarters. But KPMG still sees a positive outlook for fintech and the insurtech subsector in 2017.

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