Pet insurtech Napo lands £15m investment
Pet insurance start-up Napo raised an oversubscribed Series A funding round, landing over £15m, led by DN Capital, and with the participation of the petcare focussed Companion Fund, Helvetia Venture Fund, M Tech Capital, Picus Capital, dmg ventures, Sarona Partners, T0 Ventures and FJ Labs.
Napo has seen outstanding growth, and is on track to insure over 40k pets less than 12 months after launching in December last year. This makes Napo the fastest-growing pet insurer in Europe. This stellar performance attracted significant investors despite the cooling of the VC funding market in 2022. The funding will help Napo to accelerate product rollout, grow the number of pets protected, continue to attract exceptional people, and prepare for the company’s market expansion. The start-up has seen impressive growth, and already protects more than 25k pets since its launch in December last year.
Not content with competing only for the existing market share (the UK market has c. 30% penetration), Napo is attracting new customers to pet insurance by combining super comprehensive policies with additional educational and preventative features.
Co-founder and CEO Jean-Philippe (JP) Doumeng said: “Our mental model is fundamentally different from traditional pet insurance. We are aligning all stakeholders to look in the same direction by helping people to take better care of their pets.”
“Our focus is on delivering true value-adds, offering expert advice and care to help prevent the need for treatment in the first place. This is of huge importance and a core principle for Napo, as research shows 40% of health problems in pets are preventable.”
Examples of this include, amongst others, access to 24/7 online vet consultations, obesity awareness resources, and access to the Napo Puppy Academy – a series of weekly, expert-led live classes to help puppy owners get on top of crucial training that can help reduce potential health issues down the line.
Guy Ward Thomas, who led the deal at DN Capital, affirmed this saying: “We met all of the ‘neo pet-insurers’ in Europe, and frankly, we weren’t interested in backing another insurance MGA. Nobody needs another paper pusher, but a whole generation of new pet owners are crying out for a platform that helps them look after their pets better. What set Napo apart was their focus on building a virtuous circle between educating owners, providing veterinary care and improving pet health – all leading to lower claims, lower premiums and happier customers in the long-term.”
Victoria Perweiler from Companion Fund added: “We believe there is a unique opportunity to create a truly innovative pet insurance brand. Throughout the pandemic, consumer demand for pet health and preventative products has skyrocketed, yet pet insurance products have remained relatively static. When we met the Napo team, we were impressed by their speed of execution and are excited to support their product vision.”
The pandemic led to a boom in pet ownership and, coupled with that, the demographic of pet ownership has shifted – Gen Z and Millennials now represent c. 70% of pet owners – leading to a strong demand for a better value proposition with an enhanced customer experience.
Co-founder and CPO Ludo Lacay said: “We are at our core a tech company and took the strategic decision to keep all of the critical parts in-house – including a purpose-built stack, combining tech industry best practices to build a connected and highly available insurance technology platform, as well as machine learning-based pricing.”
“Using our experience across both health and tech, we’ve created a business that meets the demands of digital natives, as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible. This, tied in with Napo’s core value of focusing on prevention, rather than only treatment, has been key to our success.”
Having surpassed its Series A funding target, Napo is set to achieve 40k policyholders by the end of its first year in market. To support its growth strategy, Napo is expected to increase its 38-strong headcount and has its sights set on market expansion.
JP concluded: “As our engaged audience grows, our ultimate ambition is to leverage insurance as a route into ‘all things’ pet, creating a one-stop, holistic service that forms an intuitive part of customers’ everyday lives.”