Root Insurance valuation hits $3.65 billion in latest round led by DST Global and Coatue – gpgmail


Root Insurance,  lang=”EN”>an Ohio-based car insurance startup that uses smartphone technology to understand individual driver behavior, said Monday it has raised $350 million on a $3.65 billion valuation in a Series E funding round. 

The amount of the round was reported last month, citing anonymous sources. This official announcement fills in the remaining details, including that DST Global and Coatue led the funding round. Existing investors Drive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Scale Venture Partners, and Tiger Global Management all participated in this round, along with several new investors, according to the company.

The car insurance company, founded in 2015, has now raised $523 million with an additional $100 million in debt financing. The funding will be used to scale up in the 29 U.S. states where it currently operates and expand into new markets. The additional capital will also be used to develop new product lines, Root said.

The company said last year it planned to be in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2019. 

“Root is transforming auto insurance, the largest property and casualty insurance market in the U.S., by leveraging technology and data to offer consumers lower prices, transparency, and fairness,” Tom Stafford, managing partner of DST Global, said in a statement.

Root provides car insurance to drivers. The company has differentiated itself by using individual driver behavior along with other factors to determine the premium customers pay.

Drivers download the Rootmobile app and take a test drive that typically lasts two or three weeks. Root provides a quote that rewards good driving behavior and allows customers to switch their insurance policy. Customers can purchase and manage their policy through the app.

Root has said its approach allows good drivers to save more than 50 percent on their policies compared to traditional insurance carriers. The company uses AI algorithms to adjust risk and sometimes provide discounts. For example, a vehicle with an advanced driver assistance system that it deems improves safety might receive further discounts.

The company’s business model has attracted customers. Root wrote more than $187 million in insurance premiums in the first six months of 2019, 824% growth over the same period in 2018.


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Building brands on Amazon, investing in customer success, quantum computing, and virtual reality – gpgmail


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It’s back-to-school season, and we’ve lined up a special Extra Crunch promotion for students. We are offering students a special subscription rate of $50 per year (regular price: $150) with similar discounts for international members. All you have to do is send an email using your school address to extracrunch@Gpgmail.com and our founder success team will get you all squared away. We also offer volume discounts for student groups.

How to use Amazon and advertising to build a D2C startup

It seems like every week there is a well-funded team launching another new direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand. From mattresses to pet treats, digital-native vertical brands are seeing peak attention and funding from both founders and VCs. Part of the reason for all that attention is that it has never been easier to use the tools of the internet to build these brands from the ground up, opening up formerly closed markets.

Ecommerce consultancy VMG Ignite’s Matt Altman and Tyler Elliston discuss their framework to using Amazon as a commerce platform with Facebook ads to build a new D2C brand. It’s a deep and lengthy piece filled with actionable insights that can really help jumpstart your new product or category, or at the very least, giving you insight into how many of these modern brands come into being.

3. Product display ads (Limited to Amazon advertising console users only)

PDAs live on each product page below the buy box and a few other spaces on the product page. These ads can be used in a variety of ways since they allow up to a 50 character headline and a logo.

Three great ways to use them are for defense, frequently bought together, and competitor targeting.

Defense – You can buy placements on your own product pages to keep competitors off your listings. These are great to keep customers focused on buying your product since there are several ads featured on each product page.

Frequently bought together (FBT)– This is a great opportunity most sellers don’t take advantage of. On every product page, there is an unpaid placement of items that are FBT. With the click of a button, all of these items will be added to your cart and it takes very few actual sales to claim these positions. FBT can be used to target your own products to increase basket size or complementary products to drive incremental sales from future placements on product pages.

Competitor targeting– You can also target competitor ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Number) to be the last ad a person sees before adding a competitor’s product to their cart. Make sure to use your 50 character headline to call out why your product is the better choice. Bonus Tip: Add coupons to the products you feature in these ads to grab attention and increase click-through.


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Customer success isn’t an add-on – Start early to win later – gpgmail


What comes first: Sales or Customer Success? Many growing startups pressure themselves to start selling as soon as there’s a viable product to sell. “Set up Customer Success functions” goes on the to-do list. After all, we don’t have to worry for another year, right?

Using the proprietary Scale Studio dataset of hundreds of SaaS startups, we’ll look at the metrics that venture investors use to link your company’s valuation to success in Customer Success — then dive into the tactics for adapting your CS program to your company’s high-touch or low-touch sales model

A year passes, and the company’s first renewals come due. Everyone from the CEO on down scrambles to do whatever it takes to make those charter customers happy and win contract extensions. After all, those customers aren’t just any customers — they’re the company’s first references, critical to landing new business and raising funds from investors. Every effort goes into making them happy.

The problem is, of course, that bringing in the CEO and CTO and VP of Sales on every renewal isn’t exactly a scalable process. Nor the basis for a long-term Customer Success strategy. 

Customer Success — a formal, process-driven, value-creating operational activity — needs to be structured to scale. And it needs to be top-of-mind from day one. Here is a look at the data and strategic rationale for launching CS early in a startup’s growth to avoid inefficiency and mistakes down the line. 

The case for customer success: Valuation

To venture investors, a well-run CS operation at an early-in-revenue startup communicates that your company has a sophisticated go-to-market strategy with a customer-centric foundation. This can translate into a valuation boost along two paths: accelerated revenue growth and increased predictability. And growth is a key driver for valuation with venture investors


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