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Descartes raises $18.5mn to expand global footprint

Climate risk InsurTech Descartes Underwriting has raised $18.5mn from venture capital firms Serena Capital, Cathay Innovation and BlackFin Capital Partners.

The Paris-based firm plans to use the financing to expand into the US and Asia by opening offices in New York and Singapore, as well as to grow its product range, target larger deals and deepen its tech capabilities and data science team, Descartes said in a statement on Wednesday.

Descartes CEO and co-founder Tanguy Touffut said now was a good time to expand the company’s parametric insurance offerings, despite the challenges facing the market.

“Non-life insurance is going through an existential crisis due to the growing impact of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to large losses, the sector is suffering from a lack of trust," he said.

“This investment will fully support our ambition to grow and lead the global parametric insurance space in the corporate segment,” he added.

Decartes received $2.5mn in seed funding from BlackFin 18 months ago and, since then, has provided climate and nat cat-related services to around 100 clients, including Fortune 500 companies and governments.

BlackFin managing director Julien Creuzé praised Descartes for developing “truly innovative insurance products” for large corporate clients, and for its rapid growth.

Marie Brayer, partner at Serena, said Descartes had the potential to offer a “good, transparent alternative to a multi-billion-dollar industry” and provide emerging countries and industry leaders with options when facing up to climate change.

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