InsurTechM&A / Funding

Next Insurance acquires Juniper Labs in first-ever acquisition

COO says Next is on the lookout for more insurtech acquisitions

On the heels of raising a $250 million Series D funding round, insurtech startup Next Insurance has made its first-ever acquisition — Juniper Labs, a Denver-based provider of automated underwriting for sellers of insurance to small businesses.

Palo Alto, California-based Next Insurance announced the acquisition Dec. 10. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Juniper Labs picked up $225,000 in angel funding soon after Lance Poole and John Stevenson founded the company in 2019, according to Crunchbase.

Next COO Sofya Pogreb told FinLedger that bringing Juniper Labs into the fold will help expand her company’s offerings for small businesses and beef up customer service.

“As the world continues to move online, consumers have come to expect quick, efficient and personalized insurance policies,” Pogreb said. “We made an early commitment to delivering phenomenal insurance products and customer engagements, which again has helped solidify the company as a leader in the insurtech space, but we need to keep evolving and leveraging the right technologies to stay ahead.”

Pogreb said Next — seen as a prime IPO candidate — is on the lookout for more insurtech acquisitions.

Poole, CEO of Juniper Labs, and his two team members will join the Next team. They initially will focus on building out Next Insurance’s workers’ compensation offering, and ultimately will help drive Next Insurance’s machine learning capabilities.

“Next Insurance and Juniper Labs believe that data is a key differentiator in the effort to provide a better online experience at a more affordable price,” Poole said in a news release.

Poole and his team will be part of Next Insurance’s machine learning and data analytics group, and will help launch Next Insurance Data Labs.

“This strategic acquisition of Juniper Labs’ technology and expertise in workers’ compensation will deepen our investments in relevant technologies such as machine learning, which will help scale pricing and decision-making,” Pogreb said. “We look forward to bringing on the Juniper Labs team to further our goal of being the one-stop-shop for small business insurance.”

Aside from workers’ compensation policies, Next also sells general liability, professional liability and commercial auto insurance coverage.

Founded in 2016, Next Insurance has received a total of $631 million in VC funding. Of that amount, the startup landed $250 million in September, pushing its valuation to $2 billion.

CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent growth fund, led the Series D round, with participation from insurtech VC firm FinTLV, reinsurance giant Munich RE Group, Israel’s Bank Hapoalim, Psagot Investment House, Japan’s MS&AD Insurance Group and VC firm Group 11. Previous investors Redpoint Ventures, TLV Partners, Ribbit Capital, American Express Ventures and Zeev Ventures did not contribute to the Series D round.

Next Insurance has more than 100,000 customers in the U.S. The company has grown its workforce this year to almost 400, with plans to add another 200 employees in Palo Alto, Austin and Israel by March 2022.

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