The Zebra, an Austin company that lets consumers compare car insurance rates online, has raised $40 million and named a new CEO.
Silicon Valley-based Accel Partners was the lead investor in the Series B deal, which brings the total amount raised by The Zebra to $61.5 million.
Meanwhile, tech industry veteran Keith Melnick has joined The Zebra as CEO. He takes the helm from co-founder and CEO Adam Lyons, who remains at the company as chairman.
Melnick was formerly president of Kayak, a travel search engine and fare aggregator operated by the Priceline Group. Prior to that Melnick was a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, focusing on travel, e-commerce and financial services.
“There is no shortage of interest in the insurance space right now, and we felt Accel was the right partner and aligned with our vision of creating something big,” Lyons said in a statement. “When we met Keith, we knew instantly that we found the talent to help take this company to new heights.”
The Zebra was co-founded in Pittsburgh in 2012 by Lyons, who previously worked in underwriting and brokerage sides of the insurance industry.
After securing funding from Silverton Partners, the company moved its headquarters to Austin in 2013.
The Zebra’s website lets users compare more than 200 of the nation’s top auto insurance carriers to get real-time quotes. The process exposes drives to rates they wouldn’t see through more traditional routes of purchasing, the company says.
To use the service, consumers enter their car make, model and year and their zip code. The Zebra compares thousands of products and in less than 90 seconds presents the best matches.
The service is free to users. Zebra generates revenue by selling policies.
The Zebra will use the new cash infusion to expand product functionality, ramp up marketing efforts, add new lines of insurance and expand its 75-person workforce.
Previous investors in the company include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Floodtage, Ballast Point Ventures of Tampa and Simon Nixon, founder of Moneysupermarket.com, a British price comparison site for financial services.
John Locke, a partner with Accel, said, “There’s an opportunity in insurance to build the go-to digital brand for comparison shopping, just as we’ve lived through from the beginning with what Kayak did for travel. The Zebra team has the product-first DNA and momentum to pull this off.”
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