UK: Flock, a London-based startup pioneering the use of real-time data in insurance, has raised a £2.25M Seed funding round from a range of global investors. Flock’s round was led by Anthemis, a VC focused on Fintech and Insurtech investments. Other investors included Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play, Seed and Speed, and London VC Downing Ventures (who are re-investing having led Flock’s pre-seed round in 2016), along with a number of angel investors. Flock will use the money raised in this round to launch its drone insurance platform internationally, as well as expand its London tech team.
Flock emerged in 2016 from academic research undertaken by its Founder, Antton Peña, and CEO, Ed Leon Klinger, who published papers on drone flight risks at Imperial College London and Cambridge University, respectively. Flock’s first product, Flock Cover, is a ‘pay-as-you-fly’ insurance application that allows drone pilots to insure their flights for as little as one hour from their smartphone.
The Flock Cover app aggregates real-time data, including hyperlocal weather conditions, population density, proximity to high-risk areas (such as airports), and more. Flock’s algorithms then analyse this data to quantify the risk of any given drone flight in a matter of milliseconds. Through a partnership with Allianz (the world’s leading aviation insurer) Flock Cover converts this quantified risk metric into an intelligently and fairly priced insurance premium, allowing pilots to purchase hourly insurance policies for their flights. Over 1,000 commercial drone pilots now use Flock Cover, which launched earlier this year in the UK, representing a dramatic departure from flat-rate ‘annual’ premiums in favour of Flock’s on-demand, flexible alternative.
As the drone industry grows towards the $127Bn sector it’s forecasted to become by 2020 (PwC), safety has become an increasingly important concern for pilots, governments and insurers alike. Flock Cover offers drone pilots a real-time risk report for every flight, as well as a recently-launched ‘predictive risk analysis’ feature which allows pilots to pre-emptively identify and plan for flight risks up to ten days in advance, rewarding safer flights with cheaper insurance premiums.
Flock Cover’s commercial drone insurance policies start from £5 per day. Flock recently announced ‘recreational insurance for the price of a coffee’,u nlocking its product for recreational pilots from £3 per day in the UK.
Ed Leon Klinger, Flock’s CEO, says that Flock Cover is already having an impact on the drone industry. “Our customers are now planning their flights carefully on the app, scheduling their take-off time to minimize their flight risks, and saving money as a result’. Ed believes that customers are switching to Flock Cover because they find it simple and fair: ‘On the Flock Cover app, it takes less than twenty seconds to get covered. Pilots pay for insurance only when they need it, and instantly receive a fully-customized policy for their flight. He added: ‘It flies in the face of traditional insurance’.
Matthew Jones, Director at Anthemis said, “We are very excited to be working with the team at Flock’, adding: “Ed, Antton and the team are a talented group of entrepreneurs and technologists, and Flock represents a great addition to our growing portfolio of insurance-related investments. The team has shared an exciting long-term vision with us — we are looking forward to supporting them through this next phase of growth, and are ready to help make that vision a reality.”
Flock’s global ambitions attracted global investors, including Plug and Play in Silicon Valley. “We have seen an increased appetite from the insurance incumbents and consumers for new insurance solutions for emerging types of risks and exposures” commented Ali Safavi, Global Head of Insurtech. “We think that Flock plays well into this trend, and considering their great vision and team, we were convinced to be more supportive of their journey.”