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It’s been nearly six months since reports first surfaced that insurtech unicorn Wefox was plotting another major fundraise. But 2020 passed and no announcement came. So what happened?
The short answer is that Wefox appears to have put its fundraising efforts on hold. Until now.
Sifted can reveal that the Berlin-based startup has recently hired Goldman Sachs as it tries to close out a Series C raise that has dragged on since last year. Bankers from Goldman recently put on a webinar for dozens of prospective investors in the fintech firm, according to people close to events.
The same sources told Sifted that Wefox is hoping to raise around €150m, but that may be in addition to funds already secured as part of a round that has stretched out across six months or more. The company raised in the region of €100m in the second half of last year, they added.
That chimes with a report from Business Insider in October that Wefox was raising €200m, of which €110m had already been banked.
That initial chunk was brought in with the assistance of FT Partners, the investment bank focused exclusively on fintech. But the pair stopped working together late last year, after an apparent lull in the fundraising effort.
One source with knowledge of the matter suggested FT Partners began working on a raise for a similar company during the hiatus, which presented a potential conflict of interest.
Spokespeople for Goldman Sachs, Wefox and FT Partners declined to comment.
Founded in 2014 and formerly known as FinanceFox, Wefox offers simple insurance policies for cars, household items and personal liability. The startup secured unicorn status through two Series B investments of $125m and $110m and in 2019, led by Mubadala Ventures and OMERS Ventures respectively, at a valuation of $1.65bn.
Wefox chief executive Julian Teicke told Sifted last week that the company recently broken even.
Landing the Wefox gig is welcome news for Goldman, after the investment bank’s private fundraising team was snubbed last summer in favour of TransferWise’s in-house muscle on a $319m secondary raise (the bank is, however, running point on the fintech firm’s all-important IPO).
The sort of valuations late-stage fintech firms like Wefox are hoping to command are not always easy to come by.
Starling Bank, for instance, reportedly had to trade in the services of JPMorgan for those of Rothschild to nab a £272m raise led by Fidelity Investments at a pre-money valuation of £1.1bn.
For the banks, the big prize is a role as bookrunner on a hoped-for IPO. Whether or not Wefox is nearing that stage in its evolution is unclear, but one source described the hiring of Goldman as a “very strategic” decision.