The round was led by a group of angel investors including board chair Mike McDerment, CEO and co-founder of Freshbooks, and Briza CEO Ben Munro. Angel investors included Sid Sankaran, CFO of Oscar Health, Alon Neches, former treasurer of AIG, Sharon Ludlow, former CEO of Swiss Re Canada, and Louis Beryl, founder and former CEO of Earnest. The round also saw participation from Leaders Fund.
“They say the commercial insurance industry walks slowly, but this can’t continue in the era of APIs.”
Briza, which is currently participating in Batch 26 of 500 Startups’ seed accelerator, also received capital from 500 Startups for the seed round. The accelerator typically provides $150,000 USD to startups accepted to its program in exchange for six percent equity.
Briza was founded in 2016 by Munro, who has 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, including at global insurance company AIG. The team is also led by Rishi Sharma (CTO) the former director of engineering at Freshbooks and Dom Bortolussi (COO), the founder of Toronto-based development agency TWG.
The startup has developed what it calls an insurance-as-a-service API that enables instant quoting, binding, and issuance of commercial insurance policies for businesses. Briza’s platform connects insurance underwriter systems to insurance companies allowing consumers to get quotes, pay online, and receive those insurance policies instantly.
“They say the commercial insurance industry walks slowly, but this can’t continue in the era of APIs,” said Munro. “Briza is creating the infrastructure that underwriting systems will use to talk to insurance agencies, consumer apps, and anybody who wants to instantly sell insurance with just a few lines of code.”
Briza claims its is revolutionizing commercial insurance by offering a solution to the process for writing insurance policies that the startup says can normally take up to five hours for a small business. The company noted that it currently has partnerships with four insurance carriers, Fairfax company Crum & Forster, Hiscox, Markel, and Coalition. It also claims to have more than 100 insurance companies in the United States signed up for a closed beta version of its product.
According to Briza, this seed funding round brings its total funding to date to $3.9 million CAD ($3 million USD).
Briza is one of five Canadian companies participating in 500 Startups’ latest seed accelerator cohort. An overall 29 companies are currently going through the program, which is slated to have its demo day on March 19.