Insurance Marketplace The Zebra Reaches Unicorn Status With $150M Raise

Austin-based The Zebra seeks to bring transparency and simplicity to insurance shopping. With unicorn status unlocked, the company is looking to continue its growth by making at least 100 new hires over the next year.

Written by Cassidy Ritter
Published on Apr. 12, 2021
Insurance Marketplace The Zebra Reaches Unicorn Status With $150M Raise
CEO Keith Melnick
CEO Keith Melnick. | Photo: The Zebra

Insurance comparison site The Zebra announced Monday it raised $150 million. The recent capital raise brings The Zebra’s valuation to more than $1 billion, indicating unicorn status for the company. The Series D round was funded by new and former investors, including Accel and Weatherford Capital, according to a news release.

“Startup isn’t the right word anymore. The Zebra is a full-fledged tech company that is taking on — and solving — some of the biggest challenges in the $638 billion insurance industry,” Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and early investor in The Zebra, said in the release.

The Austin-based company allows users to compare more than 100 insurance companies online, receive real-time quote comparisons and talk to an agent over the phone to find out what policies might be the best fit for them. The Zebra currently offers comparisons for auto and home insurance but plans to expand into life, pet and renters insurance, CEO Keith Melnick told Built In.

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The Zebra saw steady growth last year with net revenue increasing to $79 million — up $42 million from 2019, according to the release. The company’s headcount also increased last year from approximately 200 employees to 325. The Zebra was also profitable for a few months last year.

“We got to prove that this business model works ... so, now I’m in that let’s grow this thing like crazy [phase],” Melnick said. “So I looked at it and said, the business looks good, there’s enough interest in the company, let’s go raise some capital so we can really lean into the growth.”

The recent funding will be used to grow The Zebra’s team and build the company’s brand. The Zebra plans to hire at least 100 new employees in Austin over the next year, Melnick said. Hiring will take place across the company and include engineers, developers, finance, marketing and accounting. All positions will be based in Austin.

“My goal is that we will be an Austin-based company with an Austin-based employee base,” Melnick said.

The Zebra’s Austin office remains closed but Melnick plans to gradually reopen the space as employees feel comfortable doing so.

Last February, The Zebra raised $38.5 million to provide more customization and bring its platform to a wider audience. Since launching in 2012, The Zebra has raised more than $250 million, according to the release.

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