The concept of "disrupting" an industry has become a key buzzword for startups (and established companies) looking to make their mark across sectors--but Bold Penguin's founder and CEO Ilya Bodner is bucking this trend.
His company, which seeks to help streamline the process of buying and selling commercial insurance, is not trying to replace the agent-based insurance model but rather augment it: "We're really a people company that happens to build technology that happens to build that technology in commercial insurance. We're not disruptive. We're not all these big buzzwords. We're actually solving a fairly big problem for a lot of people that are just trying to find efficiency gain. We're not trying to get too cute with it. And in a lot of ways, even though we're new, we're an old-school business: We provide a product, we charge a fee for service, and we hope our customers pay their bills on time. And that's not exactly an everyday thing for a new startup."
Of course, Bodner's words belie Bold Penguin's true impact in the commercial insurance sector. The Columbus, Ohio-based startup has managed to reduce the commercial insurance quote timeline from weeks to hours or minutes. The almost one million business quotes Bold Penguin has generated so far stand to markedly change how agents search for markets and how business search for agents--a fact that's reflected in its recent successful financing round.
Announced earlier this week, Bold Penguin has raised $32 million in its Series B funding round with an investor roster that includes Lightstone, Guggenheim Insurance, Hudson Structured Capital Management, Lockton and existing investor Stone Point Capital. This latest financing bring the startup's total funds raised to over $50 million.
According to Bodner, his company plans to use these new funds to continue along the path it's currently forging, accelerating research and development and building out Bold Penguin's employee roster. The company also plans to begin expanding its Excess and Surplus (E&E) lines that look at the specialty markets that insure high-risk segments that standard insurance carriers won't touch.
Bold Penguin co-founder and chief technology officer Ben Clarke renders the company's ultimate goal simply and succinctly: "We are trying to be the infrastructure, the supply chain for commercial insurance."