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1. Amazon backs Indian insurance startup
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) participated in a $65M Series C round for Indian insurance startup Acko at a $300M valuation. Other participants: Flipkart founder and former CEO Binny Bansal, former SoftBank Managing Partner Kabir Misra, Intact Insurance, and other existing marquee investors like Accel Partners and TechPro Ventures. Total funding now stands at $107M.
Acko combines a direct to consumer automotive insurance, which has insured around 200K cares, and third-party partnered microinsurance around other companies' products. An example of the latter would be driver protection for about 15 companies including Amazon and Ola.
2. Stash raises $65M, partners with Green Dot
Investing app Stash raised $65M in a Series E round and unveiled new services including mobile-based banking accounts from Green Dot (NYSE:GDOT) and “Stock-Back,” which gives spending users points that are either ETF shares or stocks. Stash didn’t disclose a participant list, but Breyer Capital was likely one of the backers. Valuation is now reportedly “much higher” than the $350M in its Series D round.
The new Green Dot banking service comes with a debit card, no monthly maintenance fees, an ATM network, and personal advisor guidance. The product could expand Stash’s existing user base, which has an average age of 29 and average income under $50,000 a year.
Competitors: Other fintech startups include Robinhood and Acorns.
3. Airbnb competitor gets $24M
Airbnb (AIRB) competitor Zeus raised $24M towards its goal of taking over rentals for business travelers needing to stay a month or longer. The total includes a previous $2.5M seed from Bowery and plus an $11.5M Series A led by Initialized Capital and $10M in debt to cover fixed costs like furniture purchases.
Zeus has a managed ownership model where the startup takes responsibility for all of the furnishing, upkeep, and renting while the property owner profits. Zeus has a $45M revenue run rate from renting 900 homes in 23 cities, up 5x in a year, and has a 90% occupancy rate. Zeus will use the new funding for new homes, improving the landlord software portal, and new partnerships for services like cleaning and furnishing.
Former BCG Digital Ventures head Jeff Schumacher left the firm to launch 55 Catalyst Capital, an investment and financial services firm focusing on decentralized technology and digital assets. Schumacher was an early investor in blockchain and cryptographic tech. Joining him are former Enigma Capital partner Juan Bruce and former GM Ventures venture partner Jason Nolte