On March 20, BriteCo disclosed it has raised a $2 million seed financing round. This cash infusion will help the Illinois-based startup ramp up its business plan: partnering with jewelers to help consumers insure their fine jewelry and watches within minutes of purchase.
BriteCo will operate as a program administrator for the insurer HDI Global and be available exclusively through partner jewelers. The company has no deductible and uses advanced price analytics and predictive models to automatically update protection each year. Jeweler partners, in turn, can take advantage of what is being billed as an “easy to use, cloud-based Appraisable Management System” designed to be faster and more accurate than traditional manual processes used by the industry.
Once an appraisal is completed on the startup’s appraisal management system, customers get an immediate insurance quote via email or text, letting them purchase coverage even before they leave the store if they wish. Investors include Brian Spaly, the founder of Trunk Club (a personalized mid-to-high-end clothing service based in Chicago), and Jeff Taylor, the former chairman and CEO at Cole Taylor Bank.
Carrier Management submitted some introductory questions to BriteCo founder and CEO Dustin Lemick, himself a former jeweler, who said he sees his company as offering something new for the insurance industry. Here are highlights of his responses:
Q: Why did you form BriteCo?
Lemick: Two reasons: First, as a third-generation jeweler, I knew many consumers weren’t getting sufficient protection, but they had no way of knowing that. Many times there were coverage gaps, issues with appraisal values, claims complications, and the list goes on. Second, I knew that this could be a powerful new tool to help independent jewelers thrive by providing a better customer experience, a new revenue opportunity and more in-store traffic.
Q: What do you plan to do with the seed funding?
Lemick: It will support our continued product development, sales and marketing.
Q: Why should carriers pay attention to you?
Lemick: We have cracked the code for a large and underserved market by giving consumers protection they can’t say no to. We bring a unique approach to underwriting, distribution and the claims process. Also, because we offer the first online appraisal management system, we know that we’re selling protection based on accurate information.
Q: Will you be working with other carriers, other than HDI Global?
Lemick: HDI is an incredible partner and we couldn’t be happier with the relationship.