Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in startups at Madrona and write the DL, a weekly newsletter about tech in the Pacific Northwest

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Seattle's latest unicorn - 3 years to $3.5B!

Seattle startups are known for being understated relative to Bay Area companies, but Assurance must be one of the stealthiest startups ever. Last week, they were acquired by Prudential for $3.5B ($2.35B plus an earnout), and I don’t think TechCrunch even wrote about the acquisition.


So what do they do? They’re a direct to consumer insurance marketplace that allows people to buy life, health, Medicare, and auto insurance online or over the phone with live agents. They carry products from 20+ carriers and use data to match people up to the best products for them.


Here are a few reasons why it is an awesome story:

  • 👶 The company is only 3 years old
  • 💯 It’s the largest InsurTech strategic exit ever
  • 🔥 The company never raised any venture capital


Ok… so how do I do that, too? I think step 1 is put together this team:

  • Michael Rowell, the CEO, was the founder of another direct-to-consumer life insurance company that got acquired by Fidelity
  • Mike Paulus, the President, was the president of an investment analytics company and a partner at a16z focused on InsurTech
  • Allison Arzeno, the Chief Data Scientist, was the CEO of a wearables startup and an analytics consultant to Sequoia
  • John Lorge, the CMO, led EA’s global mobile user acquisition team
  • Check out the rest of the exec team bios here


Clearly, this was not just a group of people with a good idea. They had deep domain and functional expertise along with capital from a previous exit to go build this company. And now they’ve joined the PNW unicorn club! Congratulations!!


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