Growing Dallas life insurance startup Bestow gets a $70 million boost from investors

Laveta Brigham

Bestow, a Dallas technology startup that’s making a national push to sell life insurance online, is getting a $70 million boost to accelerate its growth. The new investment brings the company’s total backing to $145 million. Bestow intends to use the money to launch new products, expand its platform and […]

Bestow, a Dallas technology startup that’s making a national push to sell life insurance online, is getting a $70 million boost to accelerate its growth.

The new investment brings the company’s total backing to $145 million.

Bestow intends to use the money to launch new products, expand its platform and seek new distribution channels and partnerships. The capital comes from new and existing investors, including Breyer Capital, Valar Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Core Innovation Ventures, Morpheus Ventures and Sammons Financial.

Launched three years ago, Bestow boasts that 85% of its applicants are new to life insurance and 70% are buying a policy on a mobile device. The company uses algorithms to cut down on the time required to buy life insurance and it doesn’t require a phone screening, doctor’s visit or blood test.

“While the adoption of technology has transformed many financial services, the life insurance industry lags far behind in its ability to appeal to a digital consumer,” Bestow co-founder and CEO Melbourne O’Banion said in a statement. “This funding allows us to propel our vision to scale protection to millions of underserved families.”

Bestow said its sales have risen more than 450% year-over-year, though it has declined to provide revenue specifics. An online business intelligence site estimates that the company’s annual revenue is between $10 million and $100 million.

The insurtech company said it has written policies totaling more than $10 billion in coverage.

Jonathan Abelmann (left) and Melbourne O'Banion are co-founders of Dallas-based life insurance startup Bestow.

Earlier this month, Bestow announced a deal to buy Centurion Life Insurance Company from Wells Fargo. Centurion is licensed to sell life insurance in 47 states and the District of Columbia, giving Bestow a footprint to expand nationally.

Bestow also is an agency for a larger and older life insurer, North American Co. for Life and Health Insurance. The life insurance and annuities industry is estimated to be worth $723 billion a year.

With 125 employees now, Bestow plans to add another 75 next year.

“We strategically built Bestow’s digital infrastructure and services to support virtually any life insurance product across any channel,” said Jonathan Abelmann, co-founder and president of Bestow.

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