With $60M in New Funding, Ethos is Opening an Office Here in Austin

August 27, 2019
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Ethos, a San Francisco-based life insurance company, plans to start its next chapter in Austin. 

The company announced on Tuesday that it has raised $60 million in Series C funding along with plans to open a second office in Austin. The company joins a growing list of tech companies flocking to the city: last year, 46 companies relocated to Austin, bringing with them more than 9,000 new jobs, according to Crunchbase

The city’s combination of tech talent, startup ecosystem and the success other companies have had relocating here made it an attractive option for the company, Brittany Yoon, Ethos’ VP of operations, told Built In.

Of course, Texas’ family-centric culture made it a perfect fit for the company, too, she added. 

“We love Texas,” Yoon said. “Life insurance is about protecting people in their most vulnerable moments, and for some people, it’s the most selfless thing they can do. It’s important for us to have that cultural alignment of people who are family-oriented and have strong values.”  

Founded in 2016, Ethos uses technology to simplify the long and complicated process of obtaining life insurance. Traditionally, people interested in life insurance must trust an agent to find the right insurance policy for them, fill out weeks of paperwork and then undergo invasive medical exams.

The process is complex enough that only 41 percent of Americans are covered by life insurance, despite 71 percent claiming to want coverage, according to the company.

Life insurance is about protecting people at their most vulnerable moments.”

Ethos’ platform streamlines the process and boils it down to three steps. It starts with asking customers five basic background questions to understand their health and age. Within seconds, customers receive three general policy choices to apply for, or the option of creating their own. The platform uses predictive analytics to help remove traditional barriers that keep people from gaining coverage.

The latest round of funding has come as the company’s product has taken off. Since October 2018, the company has quadrupled its revenue and grown from 12 employees to more than 70.

The Austin office will allow Ethos to continue that growth, Yoon said. 

“When you see a lot of companies succeed after launching in Austin or having a presence there, it is really encouraging,” Yoon added.

The company will initially start its team out of a WeWork, with plans to hire about 20 employees across a variety of engineering and customer operations roles. The company sees the office as a central hub, with major growth plans, rather than just a satellite location. 

Ethos is in the process of completing its WeWork lease and plans to start growing its team in Austin immediately, Yoon said. 

GV led the round, along with participation from Goldman Sachs and existing investors Sequoia Capital and Accel. 

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