Emerging from stealth mode last Thursday, Captain, a fintech platform that helps homeowners rebuild after natural disasters, announced that it raised $104 million.
The total financing consisted of $100 million in debt financing from CoVenture and a $4 million seed round backed by NFX, GGV Capital and Red Swan.
Captain aims to help homeowners recover faster by paying general contractors up front to do rebuilding work.
Neither homeowners nor contractors need to work with insurance companies or wait for insurers to process and approve claims before beginning work. Instead, Captain helps homeowners get their repairs completed within 30 days by advancing money to their contractors to pay for materials, labor and fees associated with repairs, and deals with the insurers.
For storms like Hurricane Katrina or Sandy, the average primary recovery period is 14 months, with smaller storms still requiring up to five months for repairs and financing, Captain said in a media statement.
In a blog post explaining why lead investor NFX invested in Captain, Pete Flint, general partner of NFX, listed “investing in a repeat founder with deep expertise,” even before fixing a broken insurance model fraught with delay. Flint was referring to the fact that Captain’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder Demetrius Gray previously founded WeatherCheck, a Y-combinator company that monitored mobile and immobile properties for hail damage and other impacts of severe weather.
“A Kentucky native and meteorology entrepreneur, Demetrius Gray is no stranger to storms,” Flint wrote.
“Growing up in Kentucky, I saw firsthand the devastation natural disasters such as hailstorms and tornadoes brought to surrounding communities, and it’s the reason I created Captain,” said Gray in Thursday’s media statement about the funding. “As the largest and only pool of capital in the U.S. to buy insurance claims, we’re on a mission to get families back into their homes faster by directing the necessary funds to the relevant groups—up to six times faster than before,” he said.
Since launching, Captain has deployed $5 million in under 30 days for the nation’s most storm-damaged areas and partnered with 50 contractors throughout the U.S.
In addition to accelerating the deployment of capital to contractors, Captain will use the money to support company growth, aiming to expand the company’s sales and engineering teams, including hiring key positions such as vice president of engineering, head of growth and head of talent.
Long-term, Captain is scaling itself and raising additional funding to keep up with climate volatility.
With its latest round of funding secured, Captain is also preparing for California’s fire season by actively recruiting homebuilders and remediation contractors throughout the state, while also working with homeowners, contractors and insurers in states most impacted by tornadoes and hail. Captain is headquartered in San Francisco, with operations in Louisville, Ky.