Slide, a homeowners insurance tech firm founded in Tampa, has closed a $100 million Series A funding round that will accelerate the already fast-growing startup’s capabilities.
Slide uses datasets to power new advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning for homeowners, who can create tailored insurance policies.
The fundraising round was led by Tampa-based private equity firm Gries Investment Funds and venture capital firm TampaBay.Ventures. Skyway Capital Markets served as advisor.
The funding round started several months ago, and within weeks it quickly reached over $50 million. The $100 million raised will allow Slide to accelerate the development of its data-driven technology and operations.
“I knew when I started this company, we would have to have cutting-edge tech in order to process and acquire massive datasets that look at everything down to the transactional-level details, and that’s hard to get,” Slide Founder and CEO Bruce Lucas said regarding the company’s vision.
Lucas previously founded insurer Heritage Insurance (NYSE: HRTG). Under Lucas’ leadership, Heritage grew from a single-state start-up to over $1 billion in annual revenue in 15 states. He also took the company public within 20 months.
Lucas said he can easily imagine Slide evolving on a similar track.
“We are more organically focused on premiums and the overall market conditions are more favorable now, which will accelerate the growth,” he said. “It takes a lot of data to underwrite a policy – the age of the house, the roof and its shape, the proximity to water, the age of the homeowner. We want to know every risk, every claim. I’m very lucky to have strategic partners that will provide $3 trillion total of insured value.”
Lucas couldn’t disclose the name of the strategic partners, but stated the detailed datasets is the fuel behind the company’s growth.
He said the vision of having a public exit with the company is “in the back of their minds” but it would likely be two to three years from now.
Today, Slide has a team of 15 employees, including data scientists that Lucas considers to be the best of the best.
One of which is Slide’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor Hassan Sawaf, whose experience ranges from academia to executive positions where he built and led AI programs at Amazon Web Services, Facebook AI and eBay.
“Slide has an unmatched mix of deep insurance domain knowledge, historical data, and world-leading artificial intelligence, machine learning, and applied science,” said Sawaf in a news release. “While peer companies are still trying to understand insurance optimization and consumer behavior, our experience, and Big Data allows us to drive positive outcomes from the very beginning.”
Lucas said the company’s trajectory would result in growing the headcount by as much as over 100 employees next year.
“In terms of tech talent in Tampa Bay, you are seeing a real evolution here. The talent pool is incredible, and it’s changing the economic dynamics,” he said. “We are becoming recognized as a tech hub nationally.”