NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascend, the first modern insurance payments platform that provides automated all-in-one financing, collections, and payables, today announced that they have raised $5.5M in seed investment funding. The round was led by First Round Capital, with participation from Susa Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Box Group. A series of strategic angels also contributed to the funding including Joshua Motta, CEO of Coalition; Spike Lipkin, CEO of Newfront Insurance; Gordon Wintrob, CTO of Newfront Insurance; Sam Hodges, CEO of Vouch Insurance; Phillip Hodges, CEO of Layr Insurance; Max Bruner, CEO of Anzen Insurance; Tanner Hackett, CEO of Counterpart Insurance; Chad Nitschke, former CEO of Bunker Insurance; Paul VanderMarck CTO of SageSure; Max Mullen & Brandon Leonardo, Co-Founders of Instacart; & Ben Rubin, Co-Founder/CEO of HouseParty.
Ascend's payments APIs automate insurance payments end-to-end — from online point of sale with buy now, pay later financing to the distribution of commissions and carrier payables. This enables insurance distributors to sell more policies by eliminating labor intensive, expensive processes while providing customers with the great online checkout and financing experience they've come to expect. Ascend was built on the premise that, as the insurance industry moves from offline to online, insurance distributors will need to provide a modern seamless customer experience with a payment infrastructure in order to keep pace with the increasing demand for high quality customer experiences.
This latest round of funding will contribute to the expansion and evolution of Ascend – they intend to focus on product development, go to market initiatives, and bringing on new team members.
"The insurance space is seeing a once in a lifetime transformation," says Andrew Wynn, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Ascend. "Today, insurance distributors and carriers aren't enabled with modern technology leaving them stuck with pen and paper processes, outdated systems and complicated operations behind the scenes. This results in a poor customer experience because modern tools for critical things like billing and payments don't exist. Our mission is to modernize insurance's financial infrastructure so that carriers and distributors can be successful in today's digital world."
Andrew and his co-founder, Praveen Chekuri, saw first-hand the challenges that existed on the back end for insurance sellers and how it impacted building strong customer experiences. Property and casualty l insurance payments are outdated, operationally intensive, and offer a poor customer experience, resulting in problems for all players in the transaction, including insurance sellers, buyers, and carriers. This is what inspired them to create a platform like Ascend, which modernizes the insurance payments system and tackles these pain points.
"There is a massive opportunity in insurance infrastructure, which is extremely outdated. With Ascend, insurance sellers/distributors now have an effective way to collect payments, offer financing, and handle accounting and payables," says Bill Trenchard, Partner at First Round Capital. "Automating the many steps of money movement associated with selling an insurance policy, saving lots of time and operational effort will become an industry game changer. We're excited to stand alongside the team as they continue on this journey."
"At Newfront, we pride ourselves on being the foremost modern and technology enabled insurance brokerage," says Spike Lipkin, CEO at Newfront Insurance. "We're excited that Ascend's payments solution shares our vision to deliver the best possible customer experience and simplify tedious, expensive operational processes."
About Ascend is the modern insurance payments platform that provides automated all-in-one financing, collections, and payables. Founded by two-time insurtech entrepreneurs Andrew Wynn and Praveen Chekuri, Ascend helps distributors sell more by eliminating labor intensive, expensive processes while providing customers with the great online checkout and financing experience they've come to expect. To learn more, please visit https://useascend.com/.