A Tampa insurance tech company has raked in $100 million in early fundraising, one of the highest haul of any Tampa Bay startup.
Slide, an upstart insurer designed to build custom policies based on giant caches of detailed underwriting data, closed its Series A funding round earlier this month, after setting an initial goal of $75 million.
Considering most Series A rounds net no more than $15 or $20 million, Slide’s nine-figure haul puts them in a strong financial position entering 2022.
“A $100 million A-raise is a monster in any industry,” co-founder Bruce Lucas said. “It gives us the certainty to know that our capital is secured and that we can just focus on operations and create the best possible company.”
More than half of Slide’s fundraising came from local investment groups, including Tampa’s Gries Investment Funds and TampaBay.Ventures, Lucas said. He credits that total to the success of the last local company he co-founded in 2012, Heritage Insurance. Heritage raised $60 million in early funding and went public in 2014, and now has hundreds of employees. Last year, before Lucas left, the company announced plans to move its headquarters from Clearwater to Westshore City Center in Tampa.
Slide is expected to launch in five states, including Florida, in early 2022. Lucas had hoped to be operational by now but put it off while searching for “a cast of all-stars” to lead the company. It took months to build a bank of detailed risk and underwriting data for at least $3 trillion worth of claims, a dataset that Lucas said “dwarfs the entire insurtech homeowners’ segment combined.”
“It’s the secret sauce that’s going to drive all our data analytics, A.I. and machine learning processes, and that took a little while to procure that level of data,” he said.
Lucas said Slide is operating out of a shared workspace in the Westshore area at the moment. He likes that area, though the company will explore other new developments for a permanent headquarters in the coming months. The company currently has 15 employees, but, Lucas said, that could expand to nearly 100 by the end of next year.
Having secured so much capital, the company likely won’t launch another funding round anytime soon, Lucas said. But he believes other investors would leap at the chance to buy in, as demand for homeowners’ insurance options in Florida remains strong.
“There’s a big market opportunity here in Florida if you know what you’re doing,” Lucas said. “The market’s growing, residents are growing and it’s one of the largest housing markets in the United States. If you have that secret sauce of track record, big data, good technology, all combined together in a rapidly growing homeowners’ market, there’s potential for very big upside.”