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Laka gears up for European expansion with latest $4.7m investment

Browne Jacobson’s corporate technology team has advised the founders of InsurTech startup Laka on raising $4.7m funding to fund the next stage of its growth strategy.

The round was led by leading venture capital firms LocalGlobe and Creandum, with Yes VC (the venture fund founded by Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, and Jyri Engestrom, co-founder of Jaiku and Ditto) and prominent angel investors, Nick Evans (Chairman of Rapha) and Oren Peleg (former CEO of Fitness First), amongst others, also investing.

The investment will be used by founders Ben Allen, Jens Hartwig and Tobias Taupitz to grow its footprint across Europe, establish its EU base in the Netherlands later this year and further develop its product portfolio. This will include a recovery and health product designed specifically to help cyclists who have experienced injury or accident to access the right services.

Founded in 2017, Laka specialises in insuring high-end bicycles in the UK and has developed a unique insurance model in which the cost of claims is split fairly between customers, with premiums capped at market rate for customer protection. Fewer claims lead to lower costs. On average Laka’s users have saved more than 80% compared to market prices.

Browne Jacobson’s London based team comprised corporate technology partner Jon Snade, associate Harry Pearson and senior associate Nicole Judah. Jon also led the team that advised Laka on its last successful seed round in 2018 which raised $1.5m.

Tobi Taupitz, CEO of Laka, said: “Cyclists should be able to completely trust their insurance providers – through our community-based approach, we are bringing our customers, many of whom have previously been ill-served by legacy players, a product that ensures fair treatment, trustability and transparency.

“We’ve seen a fantastic response from the British cycling community, who have become our greatest advocates, and we’re looking forward to launching Laka across Europe and beyond.”

Remus Brett, partner at LocalGlobe, added: “The beauty of Laka is it returns insurance to its pure, mutual heritage. Laka’s members and their shared interests incentivise positive behaviour which in turn benefits the entire community.

“These principles are over 300 years old, the difference being technology and increasing consumer awareness that traditional insurance models, with complex clauses, excesses and a painful claims process are fundamentally broken.”

Carl Fritjofsson, partner at Creandum, commented: “The word disruption is used all too often in the world of entrepreneurship, but with Laka it actually fits very well. This is a fundamentally unique and different approach that turns the old business model of insurers upside down.

“Laka truly improves the user experience 10x as well as lowers costs for its policyholders, all while providing a fair and transparent insurance coverage. What’s not to love?”

Jon Snade, concluded: “We are once again delighted to have used our extensive market knowledge and sector expertise to help Laka secure investment towards realising its growth ambitions outside the UK. Its business model is genuinely market disrupting and it’s a pleasure to support businesses that are truly innovative.”

Browne Jacobson has built a reputation for its innovative approach to delivering legal services to startups following the launch of the Grow programme in 2017 and which is tailored specifically for high-growth companies at any stage of the start-up journey. The firm works with over 100 high-growth businesses across a broad range of sectors but notably in InsurTech and FinTech.

Browne Jacobson tech team advises on £208m Hastee investment

Browne Jacobson’s corporate technology team has successfully advised London fintech start-up Hastee on securing £208m of funding, comprising of both equity and a unique credit facility, including on the corporate aspects of a new, unique £200m credit line. The investment was led by Umbra Capital and supported by IDC Ventures and others.

Established in 2017 by James Herbert, Hastee will use the investment to develop and grow its award winning, revolutionary Hastee app which allows workers immediate access to 50% of their earned pay on-demand, reducing reliance on payday loans, credit cards and overdrafts.

An employee can withdraw up to £100 free of charge every month. Subsequent withdrawals are subject to a 2.5 per cent transaction fee. The employee withdrawals are initially funded by Hastee which is subsequently reimbursed by employers on each normal pay day. There is no cost to employers and the solution can integrate with existing HR and payroll processes. Clients include London City Airport, IRIS – the largest privately held software company in the UK, recruitment specialists Brightsparks, Avery Care Homes and pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers, whose brands include All Bar One and O’Neill’s, amongst others.

Browne Jacobson’s London based team of Jon Snade and Harry Pearson advised Hastee on all legal matters of the investment, as well as assisting with the corporate aspects of a new £200m credit line from Umbra, which will be used to pay employees directly.

James Herbert, Hastee founder and CEO, said: “We are delighted that our investors, led by Umbra, have chosen to partner with us as we bring financial freedom to people across the country. This investment will help us support a greater number of organisations in reducing financial stress, increasing wellbeing and improving the productivity of their employees and, as a result, their organisations.”

Browne Jacobson corporate finance and tech partner Jon Snade added: “We are delighted to have advised Hastee on this significant investment package for the business. Hastee has seen incredible growth since it was formed two years ago and this latest investment will play a huge role in helping to reach new clients and sectors. It shows that there remains a strong appetite amongst investors in fintech starts ups such as Hastee that offer cutting edge tech solutions which have strong prospects of delivering a healthy return on investment.”

Browne Jacadvobson has built a reputation for its innovative approach to delivering legal services to start ups following the launch of its hugely successful Grow programme in 2017 and which is tailored specifically for high-growth companies at any stage of the start-up journey. The firm works with over 100 high-growth businesses through Grow across a broad range of sectors but notably in fintech and insurtech.