CARY – Ten companies from across the globe joined the inaugural cohort for the 2018 MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars last week to kick off the 13-week program focused on insurance technology startups.

“2018 is going to be an amazing year for Techstars, our companies, and the Triangle,” said Mee-Jung Jang, managing director, in a statement.

MetLife Techstars accelerator

After recruiting companies for six months, the program began on  July 16. The names of the participants were just announced.

No North Carolina companies were selected.

All ten firms have relocated operations to the Triangle and are based out of MetLife’s Global Technology Campus in Cary.

“We wanted an accelerator to help us go farther, faster,” said Charles Merritt, CEO of Buddy, one of two companies that relocated from Richmond, Va. to join the cohort. “Techstars’ track record shaping early companies coupled with MetLife’s expertise in insurance is exactly the right mix to supercharge our company.”

The Accelerator is focused on innovations in the insurance industry, a massive industry that saw $4.5 trillion were spent globally on insurance premiums in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.

The terms of the partnership between the insurance giant and Techstars include a three-year minimum, with one cohort of up to ten companies to run each year.

Techstars, based in Boulder, Colo., launched in 2006 and has emerged as one of the premier accelerator programs for entrepreneurial companies.

As a part of the program, Techstars will connect companies with mentors, including experts from MetLife. Then, the companies will focus on rapid iteration and execution of their products. Throughout the third month, companies will prepare for fundraising and concludes on the Accelerator Demo Day on Thursday, October 18, 2018.

“We chose the MetLife Digital Accelerator powered by Techstars to be surrounded by the most innovative insuretech business models in the world,” said Andrew Bates, CEO of Safely, who relocated from Atlanta, GA to participate. “This industry is ready for massive disruption, and we want to be with the leaders.”

The 10 companies

Here are the 10 ventures with details provided by MetLife and Techstars:

  • Aligned Business (Singapore)—An end-to-end platform that enables carriers to quickly define, underwrite and distribute any category of insurance product to market in record time.
  • AnswersNOW (Richmond, VA)—Platform that supports parents of children on the autism spectrum by pairing them with their own personal certified expert.
  • Buddy (Richmond, VA)—On-demand accident insurance to enable people to explore the world and have adventures.
  • Enroll Hero (Santa Monica, CA)—Personalized recommendation tool that helps seniors pick the perfect Medicare plan in seconds.
  • FitBliss (San Jose, CA)—Digital wellbeing platform that converts your wearable data into a productivity KPI.
  • FIX: Fitness Interactive Experience (Atlanta, GA)—Pioneer in Health Entertainment, delivering a unique blend of gameplay and health behavior change.
  • Halos Insurance (Washington, D.C.)—World’s first consumer insurance platform exclusively designed for nearly accident-free, low-risk consumers.
  • MamaMend (Boulder, CO)—Digital health platform and postpartum guide to inform, empower, and improve health outcomes for new moms.
  • Portabl (London, UK)—A comprehensive subscription service that protects freelancers and gig workers with personalized insurances, savings products and other employee benefits.
  • Safely (Atlanta, GA)—Through robust data analytics, background checks, and a contributory database, Safely provides $1M of commercial insurance for property managers and homeowners who rent on Airbnb and HomeAway.