Briefed while Tovala solves the dinner dilemma

In the Media

5 min read · Jun 2, 2020

“We grew our digital business faster than anyone at a time when we believed that as more pies were baked, we’d keep getting a slice. But we aren’t seeing the return from the platforms benefiting and making money from our hard work. Now, after many years of this, the squeeze is becoming a chokehold. Platforms are not just taking a larger slice of the pie, but almost the whole pie… 36,000+ lost jobs in journalism is enough to take your breath away.” – Nancy Dubuc, the CEO of Vice Media, in a memo announcing layoffs at the media company.

Happy and healthy 

Tictrac, the London-based health engagement platform, has raised $7.5 million in a round led by Puma Private Equity, bringing its total funding to date to $17 million.

Founded in 2010, Tictrac offers a health and wellness platform and it works with insurers, employers and government bodies across the US, Europe and Asia. The company relies on content contributed by well-known health and fitness influencers, covering fitness, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, recipes and blog posts, and it allows users to follow the content or experts they relate to. The Tictrac app features personalized guidance, rewards and promotional offers, customized health dashboards, and tools to identify user health risk, among other things.

In 2017, Tictrac partnered with Aviva and Munich Re to launch apps that promote health and wellness. In 2018, it partnered with Generali Employee Benefits to launch CIAO, a mobile health app designed to help clients promote healthy behaviors within their organizations. And in 2019, Prudential announced a strategic partnership with the company to provide personalized wellness services to consumers in Asia.

“Now more than ever, companies have a greater role and responsibility in supporting the health of their workforce. And while businesses are focused on sustaining retention and productivity – particularly with so many people working remotely – they are now tasked with trying to navigate health issues such as burn-out and striking a healthy work-life balance.” – Martin Blinder, CEO and founder of Tictrac.

Timing is everything

Rene, the travel insurance startup “addressing tomorrow’s travel needs today,” is live.

Founded in 2019 and led by Argentinean entrepreneur Atilio Luis Spaccarotella, Rene sees the future of healthcare and insurance evolving into “caresurance,” a user-centered approach that focuses on people’s daily wellbeing, giving them access to the right type of care, when and where they need it. The LA-based startup – backed by Lair East Labs – a startup accelerator for founders interested in launching businesses in the US with access to Asia Market, offers travel intelligence, travel insurance, and wellbeing travel benefits for both individuals and businesses.

Rene, which is currently available on the App Store, allows users to buy travel insurance with the option to add adventure sports coverage. Users also get access to telemedicine services provided by Teladoc, along with other benefits such as live location sharing, customized emergency information, and a worldwide directory of hospitals and doctors.

The startup lists Tokio Marine HCC and IMG as partners.

Smart AC has officially launched out of stealth mode with $10 million in funding for its air conditioning and heating health platform that “digitizes the experience of AC ownership, extends equipment life and saves homeowners money.”

Founded in 2018, the Texas-based company offers three sensors that monitor temperatures, airflow, air filter life and drain lines. The Comfort Sensor monitors the temperature of the air coming from vents during each heating or cooling cycle. The Filter Sensor tracks the lifespan of air filters by monitoring pressure and airflow changes over time. The Water Sensor guards against leaks and clogs in AC drain lines. On top of the sensors, offers the Hub, which sends the sensor data to the cloud so the app can deliver intel and recommendations to help users reduce their overall AC costs.

The company is launching with a discounted membership rate of $5 per month as well as discounted hardware rate starting at $99. Membership includes a lifetime warranty on the hardware, daily system health checks, discounted air filters, active water leak monitoring to enable home insurance discounts, and live chat with HVAC technicians in the app. The company also offers air filter subscriptions, as well as annual AC tune-ups in select markets through the service network.

“Over 70 million homes have central air in the U.S., making indoor comfort a regular way of life. People don’t often think about their HVAC systems, taking it for granted, until the day the AC or heat goes out. Our proactive approach offers homeowners the opportunity to save thousands in repairs and energy over the lifespan of their system. None of us would own a car without a dashboard; we’re that dashboard for your AC.” – Josh Teekell, CEO and founder of

Bottom Line: Hippo‘s next partner.

A partnership as old as time 

The Hartford announced an extension of its long-standing auto and home insurance program for AARP members until Jan. 1, 2033. The program has been endorsed by AARP for 35 years.

In addition, The Hartford has selected Duck Creek OnDemand, the provider’s SaaS solution, as its new technology platform. The investment will accelerate the company’s ability to respond to “a changing marketplace with sophisticated and contemporary products.”

“We are proud to continue our well-established and market-leading program for the age 50-plus market that comprises deep expertise, specially designed products, excellent claims service and high customer satisfaction. With this renewal of our shared commitment to serve the needs of AARP members, we have launched a major initiative to harness the power of digital data and advanced technology to ensure we are well-positioned to the meet the changing needs of our customers.” – The Hartford’s President Doug Elliot.

“For more than 35 years, The Hartford has served and protected AARP members on the road and in their homes. We are pleased that The Hartford will continue to meet the unique needs of our members and the 50-plus property and casualty market at large.” – President and CEO of AARP Services John Larew.

Powerful combo

Neptune Flood “the first AI driven flood insurance company to provide fast, easy and better flood insurance,” is partnering with auto and home insurance provider Plymouth Rock to offer flood insurance coverage through its network of independent agents as hurricane season approaches.

“We’re proud to partner with Plymouth Rock to provide a complete end-to-end insurance solution for homeowners. Homeowners insurance from Plymouth Rock with flood insurance from Neptune is a powerful combination to protect customers from the approaching hurricane season.” – Trevor Burgess, President, and CEO of Neptune Flood.

“Our platforms are tailored to provide the ultimate customer experience – fast, easy, and customizable to the client, with additional coverage options. We are thrilled to collaborate with Neptune Flood and to leverage their technology to offer our clients a comprehensive insurance solution to better protect their homes from flooding.” – Bill Martin, President, and CEO of Plymouth Rock Home Insurance Group.

Bottom Line: counting partner #3.