As the insurance industry adapts to life in the 21st century (heh), an AI startup that has built computer vision tools to enable remote damage assessment announces significant funding round of growth.
Docile, which works with auto insurance companies to allow users to take and submit photos of damaged cars which are then “read” for valuation, has raised $ 60 million, a Series D that values Tractable at 1 billion dollars, the company said.
Tractable says he works with more than 20 of the world’s top 100 auto insurers, and has seen his sales increase 600% in the past 24 months, which CEO Alex Dalyac told me translates to by “well in eight figures of annual turnover”. He also told me that “we would have grown even faster if it hadn’t been for COVID.” People who stay at home mean a lot less people on the roads and fewer accidents.
Its business today is primarily based on car accident recovery – where users can take photos using regular smartphone cameras, uploading photos through a mobile website (not typically an app. ).
But Tractable’s plan is to use some of the funding to expand deeper into adjacent areas: natural disaster recovery (especially to assess property damage) and used car appraisals. It will also use the investment to continue to develop its technology, in particular to help develop better techniques for processing and analyzing AI-based images that are taken on smartphones – by nature small.
Insight Partners and Georgian Partners co-led the round and that brings the total raised by the company to $ 115 million.
Dalyac, a trained deep learning researcher who co-founded the company with Razvan Ranca and Adrien Cohen, said that the “opportunity” (if you can call it an accident) Tractable identified and built to repair is that it is usually time consuming and stressful to deal with an insurance company while you are also facing a problem with your car.
And while a new generation of ‘insurtech’ startups has emerged in recent years, bringing more modern processes into the equation, the major incumbent insurance companies – the ones that Tractable targets – typically don’t have the necessary technology. to improve this process.
This is reminiscent of the tension between fintech-fueled neobanks and incumbent banks, which are now scrambling to invest in more technology to catch up with their time.
“Getting into an accident can be anything from hassle to trauma,” Dalyac said. “It can be devastating and then the recovery process is pretty darn slow. You face so many points of contact with your insurance, so many people have to come back and check things out. It’s hard to keep track and know when things will really get back to normal. Our belief is that this whole process can be 10 times faster, thanks to breakthroughs in image classification. “
This process currently extends not only to taking pictures for claims, but also to help determine when a car is beyond repair, in which case which parts can be recycled and reused elsewhere, also using computer vision technology from Tractable. Dalyac noted that this was a service popular enough over the past year that the company has helped recycle as many cars “as Tesla sold in 2019”.
Customers who have integrated Tractable to date include Geico in the United States, as well as a large number of insurers in Japan, in particular Tokio Marine Nichido, Mitsui Sumitomo, Aioi Nissay Dowa and Sompo. Covéa, the largest automobile insurer in France, is also a client, as is Admiral Seguros, the Spanish entity of the British group Admiral, as well as Ageas, a leading British insurer.
Japan is the company’s biggest market today, Dalyac said – the reason is that it has an aging population, but one that’s also very strong on mobile use: by combining these two, “l automation is more than added value; it’s a must, ”said Dalyac. He also added that he believes the United States will soon overtake Japan as Tractable’s largest market.
New directions in real estate and other car applications will also open the door to a broader set of use cases beyond working with insurance providers over time. It will also bring Tractable potentially into new competitive environments. There are other companies that have also identified this opportunity.
For example, Hover, which has devised a way to create 3D images of houses using regular smartphone cameras, is also considering selling its technology (originally developed to help make estimates on repairs). residential) to insurance companies.
For now, however, it looks like the opportunity is big enough that the race is more geared towards meeting demand than beating the competition to do so.
“Tractable’s acceleration in large-scale growth is a testament to the power and differentiation of their applied machine learning system, which continues to improve as more companies adopt it,” Lonne Jaffe, MD at Insight Partners and Tractable board member, said in a statement. “We are delighted to be doubling down on our partnership with Tractable as they work to help the world recover faster from accidents and disasters that affect hundreds of millions of lives. “
Emily Walsh, Partner at Georgian Partners, added, “Tractable’s industry-leading computer vision capabilities continue to fuel incredible customer return on investment and growth for the company. We are excited to continue to partner with Tractable as they apply their artificial intelligence capabilities to new multi-billion dollar market opportunities in the used vehicle and disaster recovery industries.