Kin Insurance, a Chicago-based startup making it easier to get homeowners insurance, officially launched today and announced a $4 million seed round.
Kin’s round was backed by a handful of VC firms and angel investors. Commerce Ventures, Omidyar Network, 500 Startups and Chicago Ventures all participated, as did angel investors from companies including Avant, Square, Capital One, LinkedIn and Facebook.
“Insurance is a huge part of the economy that hasn’t seen much tech innovation. We are excited to back such an experienced team solving big problems in a giant industry,” said Dan Rosen, founder and managing director of Commerce Ventures, in a statement.
Kin’s platform enables homeowners to insure their property and possessions with just a few clicks.
Its tech gleans publicly available data to automatically fill in mind-numbing sections of insurance applications, such as what types of shingles are on the roof and how many feet of fencing a property has. All a user needs to do is provide their address and pick from a few coverage options.
When Built In Chicago spoke to Kin in April, the company was beta testing in Florida. The Sunshine State is still its only market, but there are plans to open up new states, with CEO and co-founder Sean Harper telling Built In Chicago that Kin will be in the majority of the country “by this time next year.”
Kin was built using pre-seed funds and with investment received from participating in 500 Startups. That being said, the platform is still a work in progress and some of this seed round will go toward making improvements.
“This round is being used to acquire more customers, to invest more in the product and to continue making things better,” Harper said. “We’ve got a long list of stuff that we want to do on the tech and product side.”
Kin did most of its hiring before its seed round was finalized. The team currently sits at 14 employees, although there are one or two more roles that need to be filled. While hiring is not in the immediate plans it may come sooner than later as Kin faces little competition in an antiquated market ripe for disruption.
“Ninety-four percent of homeowners insurance is still sold through local brokers and agents but only 24 percent of people under the age of 40 actually want to buy that way, and these are the people who are now buying the most houses,” Harper said.