Hudson Structured invests in “buy now, pay later” insurtech Ascend

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Hudson Structured Capital Management (HSCM), the reinsurance, insurtech, insurance-linked securities (ILS) and transportation focused investment manager, has provided Series A investment capital and facilitated a $250 million lending commitment for a “buy now, pay later” focused insurtech named Ascend.

ascend-logoAscend secured a $30 million Series A round recently, which was led by Index Ventures and featured numerous other established venture capital investors and strategic angel investors.

Notably, Hudson Structured, through its Bermuda reinsurance investing arm HSCM Bermuda, participated, as too did Nathaniel Manning, a Co-Founder of artificial intelligence and wildfire risk focused startup Kettle Insurance.

Ascend’s offering is a modern insurance payments platform, which as well as point-of-sale technology also supports buy now, pay later financing for the distribution of commissions and carrier payables.

Here, Hudson Structured has demonstrated its ability to be more useful than just through investing in Ascend, by facilitating a $250 million lending commitment to finance insurance premium loans through Ascend’s platform facilitated.

Ascend says its technology, “Enables insurance brokers, MGAs, and carriers 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.”

“We’ve seen an enormous surge in demand over the last six months since we launched. Our payment software greatly reduces purchase friction for customers buying insurance while simultaneously reducing or eliminating traditionally labor-intensive operational processes for brokerages, MGAs, and carriers,” explained Praveen Chekuri, Co-CEO, and Co-Founder at Ascend. “With this new funding, we can meet that demand and help more customers use Ascend’s embedded payments and buy-now-pay-later offering. We’re excited to have the backing and financial support of these investors to help insurance distributors and carriers sell their products more effectively and build out the future of the insurance infrastructure.”

The Hudson Structured facilitated lending capacity (facilitated being the key word, this is not funded by HSCM) will be used to streamline commercial and personal lines of insurance loans, which Ascend says will reduce friction through modern financing infrastructure and the increasing demand for high-quality customer experiences.

Buying commercial insurance is shockingly complicated – I’ve seen this pain point firsthand from our investments in companies like Coverwallet, Vouch, Coalition, and Newfront Insurance,” Mark Goldberg, Partner at Index Ventures commented. “Building a modern checkout experience that feels more Shopify and less like filing tax forms is the biggest opportunity in the insurance market today. There’s an immediate need for the type of verticalized and embedded end-to-end payments product that spans brokers, MGAs, and carriers” says Goldberg. “Ascend will redefine how insurance is bought and sold for the coming decade and we’re excited to see this team execute and grow so quickly.”

Vikas Singhal, a Founding Partner of HSCM Ventures at Hudson Structured Capital, also said, “Ascend is reducing the administrative and operational burden of binding and paying for a policy and is embedding financing options of such premiums right at the point of sale. We believe this offers substantial value to all stakeholders but especially to the end policyholder.”

This is the latest example in Hudson Structured’s approach to insurtech investing, which typically extends beyond the pure financing round.

In this case, buy now pay later technology has been incredibly popular in financial technology (fintech) circles and by enabling access to a facility to support that, it enables Ascend to leverage Hudson Structured’s deep industry expertise and contacts to help grow its business.

The investment manager often finds ways to use its intellectual capital to support the insurtech’s it invests in, aligning its end-investors demands for returns with a proactive approach to managing relationships and supporting the businesses in its insurtech portfolio.

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