Finaeo has raised a $2.25 million seed round to support development of its CRM platform for financial advisors.
The round was led by Impression Ventures, with participation from 500 Startups, Robo Ventures, and iGan partners.
Finaeo’s platform includes a digital assistant that helps with administrative tasks like booking meetings, and reduces the need for manual paperwork. It also offers a “sales coach” informing advisors of upsell and cross-sell opportunities. The company’s focus is on the group benefits and individual/voluntary insurance market.
The Toronto-based company — which launched its beta in February 2017 — plans to use the funding to bring on the engineering talent required for the platform’s development.
“The investment enables us to pursue an opportunity to resolve a disconnect in the industry,” said Aly Dhalla, CEO and co-founder. “We believe the future of insurance advisors is the hybrid ‘bionic’ advisor: blending robo-advice, AI capabilities, and the necessary human touch. Insurance advisors are here to stay, but they will need to evolve to stay relevant.”
Dhalla adds that as employers work to build competitive hiring packages, the push for insurance distribution will likely rise – though complex financial products will always need a human touch.
“Unlike ‘transactional products’ such as P&C insurance, life and health insurance is typically part of a broader financial planning discussion where most individuals are not equipped to make a decision without professional advice,” said Dhalla. “Robo-advisors may help you make a purchase, but they aren’t going to help a widow through the necessary life steps required after a loved one has passed.”
The company plans to double down on development of its intelligence features, including automating policy pricing requests across insurers, and make the process more transparent for end buyers. The goal is for Finaeo to take over all administrative and compliance requirements.
“Using the platform to enable the demand-side of the market, Finaeo is establishing a policy marketplace that links customers, brokers, and insurance companies by creating the underlying ‘connective tissue’ to automate the data flow, which traditionally has been a highly manual and cumbersome supply chain process,” said Donald Chu, COO and co-founder. “By connecting the stack, Finaeo morphs into a Digital Intermediary that provides advisors, their clients, and suppliers an end-to-end digital experience.”
Christian Lassonde, founder and managing partner of Impression Ventures, will join Finaeo’s board. “This is an industry ripe for innovation.” said Lassonde. “Finaeo is disrupting the insurance supply chain by digitizing and automating the end to end process, making it more transparent and efficient to purchase insurance. The Fineao team has the capability, background, and proven track record to scale their solution. All of these factors combined is exactly what we look for when making early stage investments.”
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