Ethos valuation jumps to nearly $3 billion after SoftBank funding By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp’s logo is pictured at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

(Reuters) – Online life insurance platform Ethos said on Wednesday it raised $100 million in a late-stage funding round from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, bringing its valuation to $2.7 billion.

Backed by the likes of rapper Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation and investment vehicles of Hollywood stars Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr, Ethos has received $400 million in funds so far, including proceeds from the current round.

Other investors in the company include venture capital firms Sequoia Capital, Accel, General Catalyst and GV, the venture capital arm of Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc.

The company had raised $200 million in its previous round two months ago that had lifted its valuation to $2 billion.

Ethos, a so-called insurtech company, allows customers to apply for whole-life and term-life insurance policies online and replaces medical exams with health questions to expedite the application and approval process, as per its website.

The company said it intends to “democratize” access to life insurance for a broader demographic of U.S. families, while adding that it works to include more women and more low- and middle-income families under the umbrella of coverage.

Firms like Ethos saw a huge uptick in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, as insurance companies were forced to rely on technology to reach customers. It witnessed a more than six-fold increase in its revenue and customer base year-over-year.

The fast-growing sector has also attracted investor interest, with online homeowners insurance seller Hippo agreeing to go public through a $5 billion blank-check merger deal earlier this year.

San Francisco-headquartered Ethos also said it plans to double employee count by the end of the year expects to issue $20 billion in life insurance coverage in 2021.

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