Setting the record for Austin tech's largest investment round this year, The Zebra announced a $40 million Series B funding on Tuesday along with news that it has hired a new CEO.
Silicon Valley-based Accel Partners led the round, which is its largest ever in an Austin tech company and one of its first in the U.S. insurance industry. Silverton Partners, Floodgate, Ballast Point Ventures, Mark Cuban, Daher Capital and Birchmere Labs also participated.
Former KAYAK president Keith Melnick joins the auto insurance marketplace as CEO. KAYAK, along with tech giants Facebook, Dropbox, Spotify and Venmo, has also received investments from Accel Partners.
“The company has been in hyper-growth mode,” said Joshua Dziabiak, co-founder and COO of The Zebra. “Given that insurance is the fourth largest consumer expenditure, the opportunity ahead of us is massive. We’ve been fortunate enough to assemble the right team that has helped create the momentum necessary to become the leading insurance marketplace… and we’re just getting started.”
The Zebra will use the funding to strengthen its product, add new insurance channels, increase staff headcount, deepen strategic partnerships and boost marketing and brand efforts.
"We’re hiring across the board, but most notably in our marketing, analytics and engineering departments,” said Dziabiak. “We’re also seeking to expand our human resources team to help support the growth.”
Since its 2012 launch, The Zebra has raised $61.5 million in capital and has reported revenue growth of more than 80 percent year over year.
"The insurance industry is where the travel industry was 10 years ago,” said new CEO Keith Melnick, in a statement. “While the industries vary in players, complexity and structure, it's clear to me that the time is ripe to create a similar sort of easy-to-use, yet powerful, consumer experience for both those shopping for and those providing insurance. It sounds simple, but it definitely is not, and it can revolutionize the industry. The Zebra gets that, I get that, and we share a vision and a plan to get it done."
Image provided by The Zebra.