Insurance Start-up Marshmallow Becomes The Second Black-founded Unicorn In The UK

Marshmallow founders Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham. Credit: Marshmallow.

London-based digital-first car insurance provider Marshmallow has just become the UK’s second Black-founded unicorn after raising an $83million Series B – valuing it at $1.25 billion.

The start-up’s founders Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham, who are twins, first launched the platform in 2017 – initially set out to serve ex-pats who struggled to find affordable insurance.

But since its boom and rapid scale in business – the firm now describes itself as a “mass market.” According to Sifted, it is one of only two UK insurance start-ups to be granted a license by the Financial Conduct Authority. The license now means it can sell insurance directly to customers.

The millions raised from their Series B calls for serious celebration, given the damning reports over the past year highlight European tech’s uneven fundraising landscape, especially for people of color.

According to Extend Ventures, just 0.2% of venture capital funding went to Black entrepreneurs in the U.K. between 2009 and 2019. That is 38 businesses in total, and out of those, only one Black female founder raised Series A funding across the 10 year period.

Speaking on the issue, Oliver told Sifted: “The stats that get thrown your way are unbelievable,” adding, “when you’re from certain minorities, you don’t have role models to come and say that they’ve done it.” 

“When you look at the percentage of capital that goes to [founders from] certain universities, it’s so skewed towards the very elite ones — and the people that go there normally have certain backgrounds.”

Oliver Kent-Braham  in Sifted

With more than 100,000 customers signed up, the Kent-Braham twins plan to launch other products and expand throughout Europe.

This could be seen as a wise move since the insurance technology market, also dubbed insurtech, has seen a surge in popularity and investment this year after the virus pandemic shifted more consumers onto online services.

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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