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CIT GAP Funds Invests in Buddy to Provide Accident Insurance for Outdoor Lifestyles

675 Days ago

Richmond startup launched first on-demand accident insurance to help people fearlessly enjoy an active and outdoor lifestyle

Herndon, VA, Nov. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds has invested in Richmond, Va.-based Buddy, provider of on-demand accident insurance for people who participate in an active, outdoor lifestyle. Buddy’s accident insurance, supplemental coverage for general health insurance plans, is designed to help people get back on their feet after an unexpected accident and offset the costs associated with an injury. Buddy plans to use the investment from GAP Funds to integrate with and launch existing closed partners, expand to all 50 U.S. states, and implement retention marketing to increase repeat and upsell business.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, there are roughly 142 million annual outdoor adventurers and athletes in the U.S. who take 11 billion outings each year. The rising costs of an unexpected accident put many outdoor enthusiasts at serious financial risk. In fact, since 2011, the average deductible for an individual health insurance plan has risen to over $4,000, or a 63 percent increase in deductibles. Those numbers do not include the costs for gear repairs, altered travel plans, and missed work, all of which put additional burdens on active individuals. Buddy solves this issue by providing accident coverage designed to be purchased in the moment, where customers can choose term lengths from a day up to a year. Policies are then delivered instantly for immediate coverage.

“Outdoor adventures nowadays typically take us down a path of the unknown, where often times unexpected mishaps can occur. We have heard countless stories from our friends and customers who have been injured pursuing their outdoor passions. Here at Buddy, we are our own customers,” said Charles Merritt, CEO of Buddy. “Our mission is to help people fearlessly enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle by insuring them against the unexpected costs of an accident. We are grateful for the support of CIT GAP Funds, whose investment will help us scale our marketing efforts and expand nationally.”

The Buddy Accident policy covers most outdoor and adventure sports, with premiums ranging from $9.72 per day to $600 per year for individuals, and separate plans available for families and kids. Policies are sold and serviced through API, mobile and desktop website, and chat functions. Buddy’s proprietary software platform and natural language programming (NLP) unify all customer, partner, and carrier data for speedy interactions. Buddy covers users for the amount of time they sign up for, no matter how many activities they engage in during that time, and benefits help cover out-of-pockets costs such as deductibles and copays after an accident. Benefit payouts include cash for ambulance rides, urgent-care visits, emergency surgeries, and more. Because the benefits are paid directly to the user, they can also be used for things like repairing damaged gear, missed work, or even childcare.

“The cost of healthcare is increasing, and the average deductible for an individual health plan today has exceeded what many Americans have in their checking or savings accounts, forcing many to go into debt to pay unexpected hospital bills. Buddy recognized that for outdoor enthusiasts, this cost can be even higher when you consider the types of injuries these individuals may sustain,” said Alex Euler, Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds. “Buddy’s outlook is encouraging – when we can instantly deposit a check into bank accounts with a picture, but it takes days to get someone on the phone to talk about health insurance, something needs to change. CIT looks forward to being part of Buddy’s growth as they expand into more states across the country.”

For more information about CIT, please visit https://www.cit.org/.


About Buddy

Buddy provides the first and only on-demand accident insurance for people who lead active lives. Founded in 2017 by Charles Merritt, Jay Paul, and David Vogeleer—all outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers—Buddy’s mission is to help people lead active, outdoor lives.

By working with the outdoor community through partnerships and storytelling, Buddy will provide better financial outcomes when someone gets hurt. Since 2011, out-of-pocket costs for healthcare have sky-rocketed, leading to a use of alternate funding sources like GoFundMe or Facebook fundraisers, or, even worse, the complete refusal of needed medical care. Buddy’s coverage fits a modern lifestyle. It’s distributed through API, web, and chat. Users can get covered for as little as a day or as much as a year. All benefits are paid directly to the consumer so they can spend it how they see fit. A day of coverage costs less than a burrito. And you can get covered in less than 3 minutes today in AZ, CO, KY, NC, OH, TN, TX.

About CIT GAP Funds

CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.citgapfunds.org.

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing for Commonwealth Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies, create high paying jobs and accelerate economic growth throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT accelerates next generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development initiatives, and expansion of broadband throughout Virginia. Our programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Broadband/Rural Broadband | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. Contact: 2214 Rock Hill Road #600, Herndon, VA 20170 | 703.689.3000 | www.cit.org

You can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Taylor Hadley
LaunchTech Communications

Sara Poole
Center for Innovative Technologies

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