Bridges and Magenta exit consumer champion Halo after strong growth
- Halo is an innovative, high-growth digital insurance business that helps consumers get better deals on their car hire insurance and GAP insurance
- It was launched in 2009 as a collaboration between Bridges Fund Management, Magenta Partners and Ernesto Suarez
- It has been acquired by Cover-More, a leading global insurance group
Halo, the innovative ‘consumer champion’ insurance business backed by Bridges Fund Management (“Bridges”) and Magenta Partners (“Magenta”), has been acquired by Cover-More, a leading global insurance group.
Bridges and Magenta launched Halo in 2009, backing founder and chief executive Ernesto Suarez. The investors also recruited a strong board chaired by Alistair Tillen, who brought with him a strong track record of building online consumer champions: he was previously a founding director of SimplySwitch, a price comparison business that Bridges backed from start-up stage before successfully exiting in 2006.
Through its online retail platform iCarhireinsurance.com, and partnerships with other aggregators, Halo’s goal has been to help consumers save money by buying cheaper insurance for rental cars online, rather than paying at the rental desk – while also creating jobs in an underserved area of the UK. Today, Halo has websites in six different languages, helping customers save money on their car rental insurance around the world. Halo has also recently moved into a second product vertical with the launch of InsuretheGap.com, which offers GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance policies that are substantially cheaper than those offered by car dealerships.
Halo has enjoyed strong recent growth, with EBITDA increasing at a compound annual rate of 145% over the last four years. It sold 325,000 policies last year, while achieving a 3x return on its cost of customer acquisition. In recognition of its success, Halo won the ‘Insurance Start-Up Award’ at the 2013 British Insurance Awards. It was also recently named as a UK National Champion at the 2016/17 European Business Awards and was highly commended in the ‘Insurance App of the Year’ category at the 2016 Insurance Times Tech & Innovation Awards.
Alison Price, Investment Manager at Bridges Fund Management, says:
“Halo is a great example of a high-growth consumer champion business: its innovative insurance offering has succeeded in disrupting the marketplace and making car rental insurance more affordable and accessible. It’s been a pleasure working with Ernesto and his team to execute the organic growth strategy and scale up the business – and we’re confident that it now has a platform that will enable it to enjoy sustained success under its new owners.”
Tom Matthews, partner at Magenta Partners, said:
“Halo has succeeded in its market thanks to an absolute focus on delivering better value and greater convenience for the consumer. We are not surprised that this attracted the attention of two leading industry players, and we have no doubt that this focus will continue to help it flourish in the coming years.”
Ernesto Suarez, chief executive of Halo Insurance, said:
“Our products and strategy have revolutionised the car hire insurance market. We’ve taken an established product traditionally sold in a sub-optimal setting and delivered it online and on mobile at a much cheaper price with more comprehensive cover. We are now poised to continue scaling the business into additional product verticals. Customers are at the heart of our propositions, so our innovation process with product and design starts with them.” He added: “Bridges, Magenta and Alistair have been hugely active and supportive partners. Over the years, they have helped me build a solid management team, optimise our strategy and accelerate our growth. We thank them for their support and we look forward to further years of success under our new ownership.”
The shareholders were advised by Cavendish Corporate Finance and Osborne Clarke.
About Bridges Fund Management
Bridges Fund Management (formerly Bridges Ventures) is a specialist fund manager focused exclusively on sustainable and impact investment, with offices in London, New York and San Francisco. Since 2002, the firm has raised nearly £900m to invest in high-growth, high-impact SMEs, properties and social sector organisations that are helping to solve some of society’s biggest challenges, with a focus on four ‘themes’: health & wellbeing, education & skills, sustainable living and underserved markets. Since 2002, Bridges has invested in over 50 companies and demonstrated clearly that a focus on positive societal impact can also drive commercial outperformance.
About Magenta Partners
Magenta Partners is a highly entrepreneurial team committed to investing capital in growth businesses. Representing its own and other investors’ money, it seeks to partner with successful and entrepreneurial managers who require capital to take their business to the next stage of its evolution. The team brings a strong track record, with over 20 years’ experience encompassing over 20 growth and leverage transactions across a wide range of sectors and environments.
About Halo Insurance
Halo is a specialist online insurance platform, innovating to give customers the right policy at the right price. It is expert in designing consumer insurance products that are easy to buy online and offer market leading policy cover and customer service at competitive premiums.
Halo Insurance Services Limited was founded in 2009 by Ernesto Suarez, a leading insurance expert specialising in non-standard motor insurance. Its products include car hire insurance, van hire insurance, car club excess insurance and now GAP Insurance, all of which have been designed to offer more cover for a better price than the policies offered at the rental desk or by car dealerships.
Halo operates the retail brands iCarhireinsurance.com in the UK, leihwagenversicherung.de in Germany, Aseguramicochedealquiler.es in Spain, Huurautoverzekering.com in the Netherlands, Assurancelocationvoiture.fr in France, Insuremyrentalcar.com in the USA and now InsuretheGap.com. Halo also provides insurance solutions to a number of commercial partners involved in the provision of aggregator booking services to car hire operators around the world.
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