Insurance tech startup Zego has joined the coveted unicorn club on the back of a new $150m funding round pushing its valuation past the $1.1bn mark.

The London-based business claims to be the first UK insurtech to reach unicorn status, which is when a privately held company is valued at $1bn or more.

Founded in 2016, Zego uses multiple data sources to offer motor insurance to fleets of business vehicles and self-employed drivers. The company has previously partnered with delivery companies such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo to provide flexible pay-as-you-go policies to their gig economy workers.

To date it has provided more than 17 million insurance policies, covering more than 20,000 vehicles.

The latest private equity round brings Zego’s total funding to more than $200m. Venture capital group DST Global led the Series C raise. All of Zego’s previous backers also participated in the round, including Taavet Hinrikus, founder of Wise, which was formerly known as TransferWise.

New investors joining the raise include venture capital firm General Catalyst, with its founder and MD Joel Cutler joining the Zego board.

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By GlobalData

Zego said it will use the capital injection to double-down its presence in Europe and expand into new markets. It aims to double its headcount in areas such as engineering and data science by the end of 2021.

Sten Saar, CEO and co-founder of Zego, described the funding round as “a huge milestone” and a “validation” of its product.

“It is clear that the way people use vehicles is undoubtedly changing, and what’s become ever more apparent is that the traditional, rigid model of insurance is no longer fit for purpose,” he added. “We founded Zego to offer a more effective solution for customers, and with the support of our amazing backers and the work of our team, we are in the best possible position to expand this offering on a global scale.”

In December 2020 Zego acquired telematics app Drivit in a move to bring real-time driver behaviour data in-house and provide more tailored insurance policies. Portugal-based Drivit’s mobile platform turns smartphones into a telematics device that captures driving data, such as GPS and gyroscope and accelerometer data. This data can be combined with traditional motor vehicle data, such as age and vehicle, to provide more tailored

“The shift to digital is occurring across multiple industry categories and is increasingly occurring in the insurance industry,” said Tom Stafford, managing partner at DST Global. “We are excited to partner with Sten and the team at Zego as they leverage internet, technology, telematics and data-driven decisions to provide the best insurance products at the best pricing for their customers.”

Read more: Insurtech nets $2.5m seed funding as Covid-19 accelerates automation demand