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German 'insurtech' startup Wefox eyes profitable 2021 -CEO

BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - German insurance technology startup Wefox expects to achieve revenue of 300 million euros ($365 million) and be profitable at the operating level next year, its founder and CEO, Julian Teicke, said in an interview.

In pursuit of that goal, the six-year-old firm has just launched in Switzerland. It has also secured a licence to operate in Poland and will soon go live there, while it plans to bring new products to the Italian market.

Wefox is among a clutch of “insurtech” startups seeking to disrupt a hidebound industry. In contrast to digital competitors that sell direct to consumers, its platform serves brokers who offer advice to consumers.

The advisory model is capturing the bulk of new business at digital insurers, Teicke told Reuters. “Insurance is a push product. It’s very difficult to build a profitable (direct-to-consumer) business.”

Revenue is on track to more than double this year, he said.

Wefox has sold 500,000 active policies to 350,000 customers on its branded platform ONE, while it also hosts 3,500 independent brokers.

The Berlin-based company raised a total of $235 million from investors in 2019 in its Series B funding round. Its latest expansion positions it to potentially tap venture investors for a new slug of growth capital in 2021, say sources familiar with the matter.

Teicke said Wefox’s drive towards profit differentiated it from U.S. rival Lemonade, whose shares have rallied threefold since it floated on the stock market in July despite making heavy losses.

“We are building up this financial profile where we’re not going to be a money-eating monster,” Teicke said. “We are under a lot less pressure than our digital peers.” ($1 = 0.8223 euro)

Reporting by Douglas Busvine in Berlin Editing by Matthew Lewis

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