Stere Closes $2M Seed Funding Round led by Fin VC

Investment will enable Stere to transform the marketplace connecting insurance capacity providers with managing general agents, program administrators, and embedded insurance platforms.


NEW YORK, NY, December 14, 2021Stere, a digital ecosystem designed to tackle speed-to-market, capacity sourcing, and other challenges faced by managing general agents (MGAs) and insurance companies in the capacity conversation, today announced that it has closed its seed funding round. The $2 million round is led by Fin VC (“Fin”), with key participation from Plug and Play Ventures, Sandalphon

Capital and Hartford Investment Management Company (HIMCO). Other participants in the round include angel investors Rob Johns, First VP, Alliant Insurance Services and Charter Board Member, TiE of Oregon, and Shamir Karkal, co-founder and CEO of Sila, Inc.


Stere has created a digital and scalable version of what today is an inefficient manual marketplace. Stere’s digital ecosystem connects “capacity seekers” such as managing general agents (MGAs), program administrators and embedded insurance platforms with "capacity providers" – insurance carriers and reinsurers. Data analytics aids MGAs, brokers, and others with a more efficient process generating smarter and more profitable results.


Through Stere’s digital ecosystem, MGAs and other capacity seekers have unprecedented access to insurers and reinsurers as well as difficult-to-reach alternative risk capital providers. This accelerates speed-to-market and assures an optimal fit between an MGA and a capacity provider. Capacity providers benefit from a "smart underwriting pipeline" for vetted MGA programs and embedded insurance opportunities.


“Matching insurance capacity seekers with capacity providers is an inefficient process that relies on outmoded conventions and technologies. Stere simplifies the process and significantly improves the chances of long-term successful partnerships,” said Dogan Kaleli, CEO of Stere. “We are delighted that our investors recognize the enormous opportunity to modernize and transform this essential process within the insurance supply chain.”


Stere’s target market of managing general agents, program administrators, and embedded insurance programs currently comprises approximately a $100 billion insurance industry segment. This market sector is expected to grow rapidly, especially as embedded insurance—insurance packaged with a product or service and purchased at the point of sale—becomes more prevalent. To date, Stere has brought aboard more than 40 MGAs representing $1.2BN in annual premium. Additionally, three embedded insurance deals have closed.


“Stere is well positioned to succeed in a fast-growing segment of the insurance industry that is ripe for modernization,” said Emy Donavan, Venture Partner of Fin. “The company has identified a clear need in the insurance program business, and offers an innovative, technology-driven solution. We are pleased to support Stere’s growth in this dynamic market.”


“Plug and Play is excited to invest in Stere,” said Eugenio Gonzalez, Principal of Plug and Play Ventures. "Stere is using technology to make the traditional, relationship-oriented insurance program segment more data driven and efficient. With this investment, Stere will be in a strong position to bring much-needed change to this rapidly expanding area of the insurance industry.”


Stere will use the funds from this round to grow staff, enhance its portfolio of data analytics, expand its footprint in the MGA and embedded insurance segments, and launch new APIs to better facilitate integration between capacity seekers and providers.


Stere, based in New York, was formed in 2021 by Dogan Kaleli, former Head of Programs North America for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.


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About Stere

Stere is a digital ecosystem for insurance programs. With Stere, program leaders source capacity and access digital tools to launch sooner and grow faster and smarter. Stere clients are “capacity seekers” such as MGAs, program administrators, and embedded insurance programs, along with their ecosystem partners such as carriers, fronting carriers, reinsurers, brokers, program consultants, and technology providers. Visit www.stere.io or email hello@stere.io for a demo.


About Fin

Fin is a global asset management firm focused on full life cycle investing in B2B FinTech companies across the US, UK, and Europe, with offices in San Francisco, New York and London (Q1 ’22). Fin’s investing platform includes Pre-Seed (Regatta), Early Stage (Flagship), Growth Equity (Horizons), and Public Equity (Constellation) strategies, and has invested in over 50 portfolio companies globally. The firm focuses broadly across FinTech in six sub-sectors: Embedded Finance, Asset Management/Capital Markets, CFO Tech Stack, InsurTech, Enterprise Blockchain, and Enabling Tech/Infrastructure. Led by Founding Partner Logan Allin (SoFi Ventures, Invesco) and General Partner Peter Ackerson (McKinsey, Wells Fargo), the firm has built the first global asset management platform exclusively focused on FinTech. The senior leadership team includes Ren Riley (Oak Investment Partners, Robertson Stephens), Christian Ostberg (Thomvest Ventures, Eden), Alka Gupta (eBay, PayPal), Emy Donavan (Resilience, Allianz), and Mike Hurst (City National Bank, Exactuals) as Partners.


The Fin team is comprised of former corporate and start-up operators and takes an active value-added approach to investing. It stewards portfolio companies through all stages of growth using its Operating Playbook to support business development, capital formation, corporate development, board advisory and talent sourcing. Fin is proudly an ESG-compliant manager and UN PRI signatory, focusing on advancing ESG metrics across its portfolio to drive stronger and more durable long-term companies.


About Plug and Play Ventures

Plug and Play is the leading innovation platform, connecting startups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we're present in 35+ locations across five continents. We offer corporate innovation programs and help our corporate partners in every stage of their innovation journey, from education to execution. We also organize startup acceleration programs and have built an in-house VC to drive innovation across multiple industries where we've invested in hundreds of successful companies including Dropbox, Guardant Health, Honey, Lending Club, N26, PayPal, and Rappi. For more information, visit https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/


About HIMCO

HIMCO has been providing investment advice for over 40 years. With more than 130 investment professionals and approximately $106 billion in assets under management, as of Sept. 30, 2021, across the fixed income, alternative and equity markets, we are able to deliver tailored strategies to insurance, sub-advisory and other institutional clients. HIMCO's broad capability set allows it to develop strategies based on each client’s individual needs while navigating various market environments. HIMCO offers both broad-based and sector specific investment capabilities.


About Sandalphon Capital

Sandalphon Capital is a leading early-stage venture capital fund based in Chicago focused on Pre-Seed, Seed and Series A investments in North America. Sandalphon invests across B2B SaaS, Marketplace and Consumer sectors and has backed companies such as Kin Insurance, Provi, LogicGate and Supernova. Their investment in Stere was led by their Founding Partner Jonathan Ellis (formerly at Macquarie), who covers the insurtech sector for the fund. For more information, visit sandalphoncapital.com