Nationwide plans to more than triple its venture capital fund and also increase the division’s alignment with its corporate development strategy.
The Ohio-based property-casualty insurer is growing the fund to $350 million, up from an initial $100 million. Expectations are that the additional funding will be used, in part, to nurture high-growth potential insurance and financial services startups that directly advance Nationwide’s growth and customer service strategies.
Nationwide CEO Kirt Walkers said the company has had “tremendous” interest from startups looking to partner with the company and grow. The venture fund expansion, he said, would allow that to continue.
“We’re excited about the opportunities to identify and accelerate InsurTech and fintech [products and services] that will help better protect people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care,” Walkers said in prepared remarks.
Nationwide’s venture capital investment initiative began in 2015 with the launch of its ventures team. The insurer debuted its $100 million venture capital fund two years later, with a focus on InsurTech and fintech startups in areas including digital infrastructure, home products and services, living in retirement, small and medium-sized businesses, telematics and fleet management, and cybersecurity and risk.
To date, Nationwide’s venture capital arm has invested in 25 companies and helped facilitate 31 partnerships between startups and Nationwide business units. Startups in which Nationwide have invested include HOVER, Planck, Socotra, Next Insurance, Snapsheet and Flo Technologies.
In a vote of confidence for its venture capital unit, Nationwide said it aligned Corporate Development capabilities to include the venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic partnership teams.
The groups look for unique collaboration opportunities that help business units meet new or developing customer needs, Nationwide said.