State Farm Ventures Is on a Hunt for the Top Start-ups
Armed with intuition and lots of data, State Farm Ventures scouts like Aaron Chan navigate Silicon Valley in search of the start-ups with the greatest disruptive potential. They are looking for tech companies that can help us help you - our customers.
“When startups find out I work for State Farm they’re surprised,” says Chan.
State Farm products insure where we live, how we travel, and cover life and wellness. If companies can help us continue to innovate in any of those strategic areas, Chan wants to speak with them.
“That eureka moment where I make the connection between a State Farm need and a solution from a startup is my favorite part of the job,” he adds.
“We are looking for products and services that we don’t currently have or technology that can enhance the products and services we currently offer,” says Mike Remmes, Innovation Executive in Labs @ State Farm. He’s also the architect of its State Farm Ventures, which focuses on research and development.
“We want to invest in companies that can help streamline our processes and operations or provide better services and products to our customers, now and into the future.”
However, venture capital waters are rough and unpredictable.
“Challenging conventional thinking is the point where innovation occurs,” explains Corey Schieler, Director of State Farm Ventures. What his team seeks is alignment between State Farm and startups.
That connection recently happened with a young firm called HopSkipDrive. The company specializes in transporting children to and from school. State Farm Ventures determined that the idea provides a valued service and peace of mind. In fact, it’s not just for customers facing transportation challenges for their children; there may be future alignment to customers with elderly parents facing similar mobility difficulties.
State Farm Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of State Farm. It launched in 2018 with a $100 million investment commitment and has already provided funding to nine companies.
“We try to find companies that are strategic to us. They must benefit our policyholders or advance the interests of State Farm. They must also provide a competitive advantage,” concludes Remmes.
Other investing examples include Cambridge Mobile Telematics. They provide State Farm with the technology behind Drive Safe & Save, our signature discount program. There's also the Whisker Labs' Ting device that can help mitigate or prevent house fire losses.
State Farm has been an innovative company since day one. Then, a farmer named George J. Mecherle decided to create an insurance company that more fairly matched risk to price.
As we approach our 100th anniversary, the pursuit of innovation to better service customers remains our north star.
Pitching ideas to State Farm Ventures has never been easier thanks to the new State Farm Ventures website. To all entrepreneurs seeking funding: innovation is key, but khakis are not mandatory.