​Montreal Insurtech Breathe Life raises $4.5 million CAD to accelerate U.S. expansion

Breathe Life Team

Montreal insurtech startup Breathe Life has raised $4.5 million CAD in a seed round of equity funding from ​Diagram Ventures​, ​Real Ventures​ and other angel investors. The amount of equity sold was is not being disclosed.

“Helping families secure their financial future is the heart of everything we’re doing.”

Breathe Life provides life and health insurers, distribution organizations, and advisors with white-label solutions to quickly and cost-effectively onboard new clients. It provides clients a way to find life insurance without going to a broker. This seed round is the company’s first, and CEO Ian Jeffrey said the company is hoping to close a Series A round sometime in 2020.

“The financial world hasn’t changed in about 100 years. The distribution has been the same and they’ve never embraced technology,” CEO of Breathe Life Ian Jeffrey told BetaKit. “That’s created a huge market gap in this segment of the population that doesn’t have life insurance.”

Breathe Life was founded by ​Arach Tchoupani​, ​Jean-Nicholas Hould​, ​Sébastien Malherbe​, and Jeffrey in January 2018​. The Breathe Life platform features a single-session quote creation and application process. Breathe Life enables consumers to purchase products on their own from the comfort of home and financial advisors to reach and engage new audiences more quickly and easily.

Related: National Bank partners with Breathe Life on life insurance offerings

“The importance of life insurance, experienced firsthand by members of the founding team, can’t be understated,” said John Stokes a partner at Real Ventures. “Ian and his team’s mission to enable the coming generation of middle-market consumers to educate themselves about life insurance and purchase online was truly compelling.”

The company’s four founders are entrepreneurs with experience in launching, operating, and scaling technology companies in Canada, Silicon Valley, and New York City. The startup has so far partnered with four financial institutions and life insurance providers, including National Bank. Jeffrey said the company is planning a US expansion to corner some of the insurance market.

“The insurance market in Canada really pales in comparison to the U.S. insurance market,” Jeffrey said. “The real push for this the first step was to get some carriers and distributors in Canada, generating real money and real revenue. This funding is really to accelerate our U.S. penetration.”

Jeffrey said there were 25 discussions already ongoing in the U.S, but the company’s goal is to launch with about five carriers perhaps by the end of 2019. Long-term, Jeffrey said he’d like to see Breathe Life go global.

“Helping families secure their financial future is the heart of everything we’re doing,” Jeffrey said. “We’ve built a technology that enables [insurers to] sell to that market in a way that is cost effective and that protects the future of the millions that don’t have life insurance today. There’s no reason why this technology can’t be used globally.”

The company’s team currently sits at 20 people, and Jeffrey said Breathe Life is looking to expand to at least 30 by the end of the year. It is currently looking to hire software developers, business developers, and product owners.

Image courtesy Breathe Life.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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