Meet the insurtech: Openly

The agent channel has been of greater interest to insurtechs recently, with industry and customer inertia helping to keep distributors a valuable part of the value chain despite digitalization.

Openly, a home insurance startup, has recently launched with this in mind. It is live in Illinois and Arizona, with a $7.65 million seed round of funding, led by Gradient Ventures, in tow.

“People think it’s the past, however we think it’s the future to still work through agents,” shared Ty Harris, CEO and Co-Founder of Openly.

Building its own systems from the ground up, including third-party data integration and predictive modeling, Openly believes its product, service and support will independent insurance agents to satisfy customers’ needs swiftly and correctly.

“Our goal is to help agents as they work to modernize their businesses. We let them offer their customers better, faster and more economical products with comprehensive insurance protection for a wide range of needs. We're pleased to have the support of such heavyweight investors and reinsurers to fuel our growth into 2020 and beyond,” states Harris.

Using one word to describe Openly, Harris picked “premium,” designed for customers that seek broad, innovative and responsive coverage. It’s launch locations were selected due to high agent interaction from customers there; with the new funding it is looking to expand to more states to achieve a diverse agency platform in possibly Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Both founders have insurance history. Wielbut has experience as the VP of Technology at Goldman Sachs, and ran a successful retail insurance agency. Harris served as the Chief Product Officer at Boston-based Liberty Mutual. Harris shared that one of the hardest things about starting a startup was juggling a new life with his family while also beginning a new business.

"The expertise that Ty and Matt share makes them the perfect team to tackle the challenge of modernizing home insurance. Openly offers a combination of pricing sophistication, cutting edge technology, insurance expertise, and innovation that is unparalleled in the industry," said Zachary Bratun-Glennon, Partner at Gradient Ventures.

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