Latest capital raise nets $35M for local startup

Compare.com lets users compare auto, home, renters and small business insurance policies. (Screenshot)

A local insurance startup has pulled in eight figures’ worth of new funding in one of the region’s largest capital raises this year.

Compare.com, the Innsbrook-based company that lets users compare auto, home, renters and small business insurance policies from different carriers, announced it raised $35 million in a recently completed funding round that began this summer.

CEO Andrew Rose, who describes the company as “Kayak for auto insurance,” referring to the travel fare aggregator website, said the new money will be used to market and grow the company.

“We’ve got plenty of room for growth” in the auto industry alone, Rose said. “This is just a continued investment in marketing dollars … anything we can do to raise awareness of what our value proposition is.”

CEO Andrew Rose

Compare is majority-owned by United Kingdom-based Admiral Group LLC, which also owns locally based Elephant Auto Insurance. Admiral Group is investing $10 million as a convertible note in the round, and the remaining $25 million is coming from former Admiral Group CEO Harry Englehardt and his wife, who will receive equity.

Since its founding in 2013, Compare has received $185 million in venture capital.

Compare has over 60 carriers listed on its website, including Travelers, MetLife, Liberty Mutual and USAA, and serves 49 states.

Rose said there’s room for Compare to grow beyond a consumer-facing company, effectively letting other businesses use Compare’s quoting service. He cited Nerdwallet, the credit card comparison company, as an example of a business that uses Compare’s technology.

Compare is unlikely to increase its office space in Innsbrook or employee count, which is around 75, Rose said.

The company landed on BizSense’s RVA 25 list this year of the fastest-growing companies in town. Compare posted a 73 percent growth rate in revenue from 2015 to 2017.

Other local players in the insurance technology industry include recently launched Merlinio and Pogo, which focus on auto and commercial insurance, respectively.

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