- Daily Zen
The UK-based digital pet insurer Bought by Many has attracted a valuation of $2 billion and secured a series D round investment of $350m led by Sweden-based investment group EQT. Many Group is the parent company of Bought By Many in the UK and ManyPets in Sweden and the US.
Bought By Many was established in 2012 in London, UK, by CEO Steven Mendel and CTO Guy Farley, to provide digital-first insurance for pets. It launched exclusively into pet insurance in 2017 and now covers almost half a million pets globally, including in the US, where it launched earlier in 2021.
The company says pet adoption has witnessed an uptick during the lockdown period with many now having the time and inclination to indulge in a pet. The lockdown and the remote work options now give owners time to spend time with a pet, including walks as and when needed.
“Pets aren’t just for lockdown, but that trend is not just for lockdown either,” Many Group’s chief executive Steven Mendel told the Financial Times. In the UK alone, 3.2m households have bought a pet during the crisis, taking the country’s total number of pets to more than 34m, according to data from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. “There has genuinely been a complete change, and I think a lasting change, in working practices as well,” Mendel added. That “has enabled people to be at home more and therefore to enjoy some of the benefits of homeworking”, he said.
The insurer saw an opportunity to expand the business and came up with certain tweaks in its policy requirements, including relaxing a necessity for regular check-ups and for certain records to be kept. They have even introduced more affordable options for cash-strapped pet owners for insurance coverage. Bought By Many’s underlying insurance is provided by Great Lakes Insurance, a part of Munich Re Ventures of Germany.
Many pet insurance providers are offering innovative insurance coverage policies to attract a larger customer base. Moreover, with increasing healthcare cost for pets, pet owners are readily adopting pet health insurance, thereby fostering market growth.
Mendel said, “Our mission is to make the world a better place for pet parents. By creating unique policies, dramatically improving customer experience, and working closely with vets, we have made it possible for pets to be healthier and for them to enjoy longer, happier lives with their owners. We have hit several exciting milestones over the last four years, including our expansion into Sweden and the US, but most importantly we have gained the trust of hundreds of thousands of happy customers. With the support of EQT Growth and existing investors, we are now poised to reach millions more pet parents, as we continue to develop an enhanced pet health offering that takes care of every angle.”
The pet insurance market size was pegged at $6.9 billion in 2020 and is estimated to grow at 7.7% CAGR between 2021 and 2027. The number of people now buying pet insurance has gone up with one in three pet owners in the UK buying insurance, compared with six in 10 in Sweden, where pet insurance originated, and two in 100 in the US. It is the fast-growing US market where Many Group’s marketing and other spend is focusing, Mendel said. At present, the company offers pet insurance in only Illinois and intends to expand to all the remaining 50 states within one year.
As well as EQT, existing investors, including the UK’s Octopus Ventures and Munich Re Ventures, took part in the latest funding round. Many Group generated gross written premiums of $220m globally in the past 12 months.
The company, which is currently lossmaking, has no plans to go public, said Mendel. “I’m not saying never, but not just now.”