Virtual insurer OneDegree raises $27M in funding round

Virtual insurer OneDegree raises $27M in funding round

(Bloomberg) –OneDegree Hong Kong Ltd., a virtual insurance firm, raised $27 million in a fresh funding round to fuel an Asia expansion and investments in artificial intelligence.      

The company attracted fresh cash from global financial institutions as well as additional capital from its biggest existing backers such as Gobi Partners, BitRock Capital and Sun Hung Kai & Co., Alvin Kwock, the firm’s co-founder said in an interview this week. He declined to name the new investors since their strategic partnership will be announced later.

Having first focused on pet insurance, the seven-year-old firm has since expanded into parcel, fire, home and health products. It also insures digital assets from hacking and malware and theft.

The firm raised $28 million in a funding round in 2021. It now expects to need one more funding round before considering an initial public offering, according to Kwock, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. veteran.

“Based on our profitability schedule, we expect to generate profit by the end of 2024,” Kwock said. The digital insurer was approached do to a SPAC listing last year, but the firm will not go public until it has larger business scale and turns profitable, he said. 

OneDegree posted an underwriting loss of HK$74.4 million in 2021, widening from HK$28.1 million in the year before, according to the Insurance Authority.

A fast growing business is now digital asset insurance as Hong Kong seek to establish itself as a hub for the crypto business. The Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong’s market regulator, has required insurance coverage for firms to be approved for a virtual asset trading platform license.

OneDegree has received more than 100 digital asset insurance inquiries so far this year, of which half of the potential clients are outside Hong Kong, said Kwock. 

The firm recently reached a partnership to integrate Microsoft Corp.’s artificial intelligence service into its automated chat box and cybersecurity solutions. 

The company has been providing their technology platforms to Malaysian, Taiwanese and Vietnamese insurance companies and Kwock is seeking to expand across Asia, with the Middle East as the next target.

–With assistance from Kiuyan Wong.