Consumer Technology: Innovation in the everyday
Uncovering the vast array of life management technology changing the way people live and manage their lives.
2020 saw many changes in the way people live and manage their lives. We see this has accelerated the adoption of “life management technology”, a trend that is set to grow as it reflects many aspects of life that people have little or no desire to return to the old way of doing things.
Farewill is the London-based company that blends technology with customer service to help dealing with death “easier, faster and fairer”. Services include an online will-writing service, a probate application service, and cremation arrangement. Investors clearly see the potential in this sector as Farewill successfully raised an additional £20m investment in July 2020.
Sharing parental responsibilities after a relationship breakdown should be managed sensitively and efficiently. Several companies have developed apps addressing this challenge – Our Family Wizard operates globally from its US headquarters and attracted significant growth capital investment in 2020. 2Houses is a Belgium-based app used by families in 170 countries to help with organisation and communication for the well-being of children that has received investment from Inventures, the Impact Venture Capital Fund. Given the number of offerings in this area, perhaps we will see some consolidation in the not too distant future.
Fintech continues to be the sector that attracts most investment in Europe. Whilst innovations in banking and payment technologies have attracted the highest investment amounts, there are many interesting companies that are addressing the important areas of financial wellness and accessibility.
Stockholm-based Anyfin, enables consumers to refinance personal debt to manage interest charges and repayments. In May 2020 Anyfin announced its $30 million Series B round, led by the EQT Ventures fund.
The Bank of England regulates c400 credit unions in the UK but they are often overlooked as finance providers. Happy Money in the US works with credit unions to turn borrowers into savers, to date they have helped consumers repay $2bn credit card debt. With a run rate of $65m in 2019, the company successfully raised $70m at a valuation of $495m.
Innovation in insurance is supporting access to those consumers typically underserved, while also enabling more efficient process of claims. Marshmallow uses technology to provide cheaper and more inclusive insurance to “the people that other insurers won’t”. The company closed a $30m investment round in November 2020 at a reported $310 valuation. Tractable, which has developed AI for faster accident and damage appraisal, announced the closure of a $25m Series C round in February 2020, led by Georgian Partners.
As consumers look to technology to help manage their own lives, this has extended to care of their pets, which has in turn supported investment in a growing number of UK and European pet tech start-ups. Bought by Many, which provides pet insurance to more than 200,000 pets, raised £78m in growth capital in May 2020 from FTV Capital and existing investors. Online vet, Firstvet announced in November 2020 that it has closed a $35m Series B round led by Mubadala Capital. The Swedish start up reportedly experienced 150 percent year-on-year growth in July 2020 compared to the previous year. Barkyn and KatKin providers of tech-enabled personalised pet care, announced respective €5m and £4.5m investment rounds in the second half of 2020.
We think all of these examples indicate there are many very interesting developments in the tech sector that are addressing meaningful needs of consumers. We would love to talk to companies seeking investment in the sector and to investors looking for exciting investment opportunities.