Who Invests in Your Startup is as Important as How Much

Breathe Life CEO Ian Jeffrey is on a role. His company’s got traction, competitors are slow, the market is huge and he’s recently closed $6 million in seed financing. Life is good!

“InsurTech today is like e-commerce in 1993” according to the young CEO. “80% of policies still require a lot of paperwork. The process is complex, time consuming and prone to human error. We’re getting rid of all of that and the industry is waking up.”

Indeed they are. Breathe Life’s recent raise was oversubscribed, meaning Jeffrey’s company was offered more equity financing than it needed. This put them in the enviable position of being able to narrow down the suitors, and pick and choose who they wanted to work with. They chose to accept investment from a handful of industry executives from places like AXA, PayPal and RGA, among others. A fairly rare occurrence in the world of equity financing and venture capital.

The company is just 18 months old and has raised over $7 million already, and boasts clients like National Bank, La Capitale insurance and Viaction. Jeffrey says the future is bright, explaining that competitor iPipeline was acquired for USD 1.6 billion over the summer. He sees a landscape with few other competitors, a massive global insurance market and increased openness on the part of the insurance industry in working with startups

“Our main competition is internal teams at insurance companies” he says. “The industry has for a long time believed that if they didn’t build something themselves, it can’t be any good. That’s now changing.” He cites Breathe Life’s shorter time to market, lower cost and its ability to scale its AI across multiple insurers as the primary advantages of buying his company’s product over an insurance company building its own.

After recently moving into new offices in Montreal’s posh Old Port neighbourhood, Jeffrey continues to move his business forward, and is looking to hire for multiple positions.


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