Today, we’re excited to announce Ascend’s Series A fundraise led by Index Ventures with participation from new investors such as Distributed Ventures and its anchor limited partner NFP, the tenth-largest property and casualty insurance brokerage globally, HSCM Bermuda, a leader in the global reinsurance space, XYZ Ventures, and a series of strategic angel investors including Garret Koehn (Investor at The Batchery and the President of CRC Insurance), Courtney Leimkulher (Founding Partner at Springbank Collective and former CFO of Marsh); Mischief (a venture capital fund led by the CEO of payments infrastructure company Plaid); Nilam Ganenthiran (former President of Instacart); Nathaniel Manning (Co-Founder of Kettle Insurance); and other fintech operators including Misha Esipov (CEO and Founder at Nova Credit), Marc Bhargava (Co-Founder of Tagomi and currently at Coinbase); Mahdi Raza (Partner at Exponent Capital), and Charley Ma (General Manager at Alloy). Also participating were existing investors First Round Capital, Susa Ventures, South Park Commons and FirstMark Capital.
It is with great pleasure and gratitude that we get to work with this amazing group of investors and industry experts to forward Ascend’s mission - make it easier for people to protect the things they care about by simplifying and modernizing the insurance industry’s financial infrastructure.
When we started Ascend in March 2021 we knew first-hand the need for a payments infrastructure product for insurance. However, what surprised us as we went to market was the degree of pain insurance distributors are feeling and the subsequent market pull for Ascend’s payments solution. Ascend to date has been a whirlwind of learning from customers, developing a product, and building a team of 16. We are excited to implement this new round of financing with support from incredible partners and investors, to keep up with the demand for Ascend’s solution and meet the needs of our current and potential customers in this critically important market.
Insurance premiums make up 7.2% of global GDP. Our financial system relies on insurance products as an integral pillar of a functioning economy. As the market and world evolves and all parts of our lives and businesses move increasingly digital – insurance companies of all types will need to adapt in order to continue to serve as a critical risk sharing mechanism. The types of risks we're protecting against, how we’re mitigating those risks and how buyers or insurance find and interact with our insurance providers are all examples of areas that need to evolve for insurance to serve it’s vital societal purpose. To enable these changes, however, first we must build the critical, underlying infrastructure that will allow new types of products, protections, and interactions that provide the established risk-sharing mechanism of insurance for the modern world. Ascend is the first modern payments solution that is purpose-built for the future of insurance.
We’re in the early days of investment and development of insurtech infrastructure. Looking at fintech infrastructure for comparison, it took at least 3-4 years for the likes of Stripe, Plaid, and Marqeta to enable the dramatic rise of consumer and enterprise products built using these infrastructure products. The rise and dominance of fintech business that we’ve seen over the last years was enabled by years of fintech infrastructure investment previously - and we believe we’ll see something occur in the insurance market and subsequently with Ascend.
At scale, Ascend will be the default payments option for the insurance industry — making it easier for people to protect the things they care about. We’re excited to make continued progress toward this end state in 2022 and with our Series A funding and backers in addition to the support of existing team members, investors, and our supportive friends and families.
Andrew & Praveen, Co-Founders
Ascend is the modern insurance payments platform that provides automated all-in-one financing, collections, and payables. Founded by two-time insurtech entrepreneurs Andrew Wynn and Praveen Chekuri, Ascend helps distributors sell more by eliminating labor-intensive, expensive processes while providing customers with the great online checkout and financing experience they've come to expect. To learn more, please visit LinkedIn, Twitter or check out https://useascend.com/.