Today B3i the blockchain insurance platform announced an investment from Japanese firm SBI Group, bringing the number of shareholders to 17. Two months ago, B3i confirmed a round of funding which we estimated at $20 million and brought in three new investors. Based on corporate filings, SBI invested an additional 1.9 million Swiss Francs ($1.9 million). Nowadays most funding rounds don’t have a hard cut off point, so SBI may not be the last investor in the current round.
“SBI will bring a depth of experience to the company and offer opportunities for expanding global partnerships with associated businesses,” said Antony Elliott, Chairman of B3i. “We look forward to deepening our relationship with the wider SBI Group and the Japanese market as we explore the application of B3i’s offerings in the Japanese insurance sector and beyond”.
B3i’s initial solution is to use blockchain to automate an Excess of Loss reinsurance contract. It’s exploring further reinsurance and commercial insurance applications.
SBI made its investment via its SBI AI & Blockchain Fund. The fund aims to encourage innovation between investor and investee companies by helping investors to adopt new technology and enhancing the value of startups.
“B3i is a great showcase of the insurance industry using blockchain technology based upon R3’s Corda,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, SBI Group CEO. “Synergy can be expected between B3i and SBI Group as well as SBI’s other investee companies.”
Some of those synergies were experienced before the investment. SBI has a stake in enterprise blockchain company R3, and B3i’s technology leverages R3’s Enterprise Corda protocol. Several initiatives in the insurance sector have adopted Corda.
The Japanese conglomerate has five insurance subsidiaries as well as an insurance holding company. The operating companies include life, general insurance, agency, and short-term insurance.
In the blockchain sector, SBI owns 60% of SBI Ripple Asia, which set up a Ripple based Japanese domestic and cross border payments network called MoneyTap with 13 other banks as shareholders. MoneyTap enables bank-to-bank transfers outside of banking hours.
Apart from enterprise blockchain investments, SBI has a virtual currency subsidiary which runs a cryptocurrency exchange. Additionally, SBI has extensive interests in the financial and asset management space.
B3i’s other shareholders are Achmea, Aegon, Ageas, Allianz, AXA, Deutsche Rück, Generali, Hannover Re, Liberty Mutual, Mapfre Re, Munich Re, SCOR, Swiss Re, Tokio Marine, VIG Re and Zurich Insurance Group.
B3i will be presenting at the Hanson Wade Blockchain for Insurance conference in London on June 18-19th.