Robert Downey Jr.’s Downey Ventures & Will Smith’s Smith Family Circle Invest in Insurtech Startup Ethos

On Thursday, insurtech startup Ethos announced it secured $11.5 million through its latest financing round, which was led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Robert Downey Jr.’s Downey Ventures, Kevin Durant’s Durant Company, Will Smith’s Smith Family Circle, and a credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank. Founded in 2016, Ethos describes itself as a “new kind” of life insurance that is built for people who do not have time for fine print, extra doctors appointments, or hidden fees. The company is licensed in 49 states and has already processed thousands of applicants for life insurance coverage.

Ethos reported that the investment will be used to accelerate its rapid growth and enhance product development. Sequoia Partner, Roelof Botha, will join the board of directors. Botha stated:

“Ten million new individual life policies are sold annually in the U.S., and Peter and Lingke have identified the opportunity to modernize their delivery and packaging for the next generation. Ethos is revolutionizing the insurance purchasing experience and we’re thrilled to partner with them as they create a simple way for consumers to provide for the people they love.”

Ethos also noted that by using its services, most people can apply and qualify for a policy after a ten-minute application versus the ten weeks it takes through a more traditional process. There is always a non-commissioned licensed agent available to give unbiased guidance. More than 99% of Ethos customers have required no medical exam or blood test to get a policy. Kosaku Yada, CEO of Smith Family Circle, also commented:

 “As an organization built on family-first principles, we admire Ethos’ mission to simplify life insurance and ultimately empower people to protect their families. We’re focused on supporting ideas that positively impact people’s lives and we’re thrilled to help Ethos do that.”

Peter Colis, CEO at Ethos, added:

 “Life insurance is about families, financial empowerment and protection. Intrinsically, it is a good thing. But somewhere along the way, protecting profits, not people, became the industry’s passion. We have the opportunity to rebuild a broken industry and put honesty at its core, ultimately expanding life insurance accessibility to the millions of US families who have college debt, mortgages, spouses and children to care for, and who want to be financially empowered to live their lives without worry. We are proud to partner with Sequoia and our other investors on this mission.”

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