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Simplesurance: The Story Of An 'Embedded InsurTech'​ Pioneer

A few weeks ago, Allianz X - Allianz's (insur)Tech investment vehicle - announced the buy out of simplesurance GmbH, an historic startup on the German scene.

Let's have a look back at its story.


(🇫🇷 Cet article est aussi disponible en Français - en version audio - dans le dernier épisode de mon podcast >> à écouter ici)



Created in 2012, Simplesurance is based in Berlin, Germany, and has given itself the mission of digitizing the distribution of insurance as a distributor.

Unsurprisingly - given the various #InsurTech waves observed over the past 10 years in Europe - Simplesurance offered an online subscription process to the customers it attracts directly, in a relatively classic B2C positioning for the time.

But since its inception - and long before the term #EmbeddedInsurance became a buzz word - it has offered e-Merchants the opportunity to integrate insurance solutions into their sales journeys.

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(Source: Simplesurance's website)

Moreover, if you look closely at its logo, this positioning is obvious: it is a shield - which makes sense for the protection side of #insurance -, surmounted by an arrow, which is not other than the mouse pointer on a computer. Yes, in 2012, this resonates with web-based eCommerce, because we are not yet at the time of m-Commerce (eCommerce on mobile).

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(Source: Simplesurance's logo)

In 2016, the Financial Times - which listed Simplesurance among the 10 startups to consider in insurance - even mentioned the figure of 2,000 eCommerce partners of the startups (see here)

Another sign, in 2017, the startup announced a round of financing, devoting the entry of an eCommerce giant - Rakuten - to its capital.

The equity story

Moreover, the history of fundraising of the company also gives us some lessons:

After two rounds of Seed carried out at the beginning and end of 2012 - we would surely speak of pre-Seed in today's world - Simplesurance announced a Series A round in mid-2013. In retrospect, the amount of $2.5m disclosed at the time seems tiny by the yardstick of the new standards of the startup scene, even after the market correction!

After several rounds of financing, probably led by historical investors, the first really significant fundraising came in 2015. If the amount still seems limited - with $8m - it signs the entry of a VC fund - Route66 - and above all from an insurer presented as "part of the Fortune 500", whose name was not disclosed (see here)

In 2017, Rakuten joined in a fairly large round of almost $13m (see here)

At the start of 2018, Allianz X took the lead in a new round, of $24m! with VC Drake Star fund entry (see here). Beyond this step which officially confirms the arrival of Allianz in the startup, while digging, some articles refer to an investment by the German insurer from mid-2016 (see here, which is confirmed by a Medium post from the PR team of Allianz X on the occasion of the acquisition of the startup (see here)

Also in 2018, a new round of financing took place, and saw the entry of the financial player ODDO and a new industrialist: the insurer Tokio Marine (see here)

Finally, in December 2020, Simplesurance announces a convertible note received from Allianz X for €15m (see here)

Overall, Simplesurance has raised nearly $80m since inception !

Let's compare it to two other German InsurTechs, also focused on distribution - despite different positioning - Getsafe, launched in 2015, has raised more than $110m and CLARK, launched the same year, has raised more than $130m since inception.

The achievement in data

On the business side, the company claims to be present in 32 countries for its embedded activity, of which Japan is the only country outside Europe, and we understand why by remembering that Tokio Marine has invested in the company.

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(Source: Simplesurance's website)

The website also specifies the number of 2500+ partners, highlighting 3 customer testimonials: Rakuten, which makes sense given the latter's investment in Simplesurance; Kaufland - a supermarket chain in Germany - and OnePlus the Chinese smartphone maker.

Beyond that, we remember the partnership announced with N26 - the German neobank - in April 2021 (see here) The initial project, initially available in Germany, offered smartphone insurance to N26 customers, in a relatively classic bancassurance model even if the product is less so.

Interesting to see also 9 countries listed concerning its B2C activity, which therefore seems by comparison, marginal.

Finally, the company employed around a hundred people at the time of its takeover, a relatively stable figure over the last two years if we believe LinkedIn:

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(Source: LinkedIn)

If the takeover is exciting for the entire InsurTech industry, it's worth keeping in mind that Allianz's commitment to the startup is not new, and may even suggest that in the current context - particularly difficult to raise new funding rounds for the most mature startups -, the merger with an industrialist - especially when it has long been part of its captable - was the only solution to continue the adventure.

In any case, this buy-out provides an opportunity for startups that have developed a technological asset to attract the attention of large companies that ultimately need tech solutions to digitize their activities anyway. And even if we don't know the details of the operation, especially from a financial point of view, it will be interesting to see if such acquisitions also take place in the B2C field, or if that deal was made possible by the technological asset that Simplesurance had been able to develop.


ps: I had the honor to interview Robin Von Hein, Simplessurance's CEO, on stage at Paris FinTech Forum in January 2020 (see here). Thanks Laurent Nizri for that great opportunity !

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