XL Catlin’s venture capital arm is the lead investor in a $16.5 million financing for Windward, a maritime risk analytics firm based in Israel.
XL Innovate led the Series C financing, though previous investor Horizons Ventures participated along with individuals such as Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff.
The financing also calls for Tom Hutton, an XL Innovate managing partner and former CEO of catastrophe modeling firm RMS, to become a board director.
Windward plans to use the cash infusion, in part, to fuel the expedited development and rollout of its marine insurance products. Hiring more people and expansion of Windward’s London office is also part of the equation, as well as a broader market expansion.
Hutton, in prepared remarks, said that XL Innovate has worked with Windward for two years, sensing an opportunity in the marine insurance space. He noted that the company has worked hard to develop a client base for its marine risk analytics products, “earning the trust of governments and law enforcement agencies globally and now expanding into insurance.”
Hutton added, “We look forward to supporting Windward further, with our new equity investment complementing our existing commitment of time and resources.”
Windward started using its technology to quantify marine risk for governments. Its technology, adapted for the marine insurance industry, continuously monitors and analyzes what ships are doing, gathering data such as how, where and when they operate, what they do in rough weather, and how they maneuver in ports.
The company’s models use these vessel operating patterns and behavioral traits to predict how likely it will be for a ship to have an accident in the year ahead. The company’s proprietary data and machine learning algorithms are integrated into insurers’ technical pricing models with the idea that this will lead to better underwriting decisions and better profitability.
Windward claims that its Windward Intelligence product is selling well—a system that helps intelligence, law enforcement and security agencies protect their national interests by revealing potential threats.
Windward launched in 2010 and has raised $38.9 million to date from investors including Aleph, Horizons Ventures, former CIA Director David Petraeus and former BP CEO Lord Browne of Madingley.