Descartes Underwriting scores $18.5m Series A

Paris-based Descartes Underwriting, an insurtech company, has secured $18.5 million in Series A funding.

Paris-based Descartes Underwriting, an insurtech company, has secured $18.5 million in Series A funding. The investors were Serena, Cathay Innovation and BlackFin Capital Partners.


Paris, September 10 – Descartes Underwriting, the InsurTech company specializing in climate risk modeling and data-driven risk transfer, today announced that it has raised $18.5 million in a series A funding round by leading global venture capital firms Serena, Cathay Innovation and BlackFin Capital Partners. The fresh round of capital comes 18 months after raising $2.5 million in seed funding from BlackFin Capital Partners.

Descartes Underwriting is disrupting the insurance industry by scaling up parametric insurance, leveraging new technologies and data science to challenge traditional insurance models. Founded by a team of experienced insurers and reinsurers, Descartes works with corporate brokers to design and underwrite innovative, bespoke and affordable insurance solutions. In 18 months, close to 100 corporates around the world, including Fortune 500 companies, and governments have already chosen Descartes’ to build resilience in the face of climate change and other natural catastrophes.

“This is a good time to further expand our footprint. Non-life insurance is going through an existential crisis due to the growing impact of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic: in addition to large losses, the sector is suffering from a lack of trust,” said Tanguy Touffut, CEO and Co-founder of Descartes Underwriting. “With the support of our partners, we aim at rebuilding customer trust through a new generation of products that are tech-driven, fully transparent and providing swift claims payment.”

The new financing will be used to support Descartes’ global expansion to the United States and Asia. While headquartered out of Paris, Descartes covers a wide variety of geographies including Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia and plans to open new offices in New York and Singapore. Descartes will also use the funds to grow its product range, target larger deals and deepen its tech capabilities and data science team.

Tanguy Touffut added: “This investment will fully support our ambition to grow and lead the global parametric insurance space in the corporate segment. We are proud to work with Cathay Innovation and Serena, both of which have incredible track records, an entrepreneurship mindset and are the perfect match to support our global development.”

Marie Brayer, Partner at Serena commented: “Descartes Underwriting has the rare potential to offer a good, transparent alternative to a multi-billion dollar industry as well as to provide emerging countries and global industry leaders with options to face global climate change with more resilience. We are really proud to back such an amazingly talented team.”

Jacky Abitbol, Partner at Cathay Innovation, further added: “Climate change is a massive challenge for many businesses through the world. By providing innovative parametric insurance products, Descartes Underwriting’s experienced team is supporting corporates of all sizes to cope with growing weather-related vulnerabilities. We are thrilled to support Descartes’ visionary management team as they bring their next-gen AI solutions to the global stage. Together, we will make a positive impact on the insurance sector and the world through technology.”

Julien Creuzé, Managing Director at BlackFin Capital Partners, concludes: “We are very happy to continue backing Descartes Underwriting and its stellar team which develops truly innovative insurance products for large corporates. Descartes Underwriting is one of the fastest growing insurtechs, we are glad to see Cathay and Serena joining forces with existing stakeholders to support its global expansion.”

About Descartes Underwriting
Descartes Underwriting is an InsurTech founded in 2018 by seasoned insurers and intrapreneurs. Descartes Underwriting is structured as an Underwriting Agent, underwriting risks on behalf of tier-one (re)insurers and Insurance-Linked Securities funds. The team works with brokers and offers parametric insurance and innovative insurance policies to protect companies and governments against natural catastrophes and emerging risks. Descartes is driven by the conviction that new technologies can deeply change the insurance sector, deliver superior customer value and bring to life the promise of smoother and faster claims management along with new solutions for emerging risks. The InsurTech has been awarded the Finance for Tomorrow prize in 2018, InsurTech of the year in 2019 and European Finance Summit start-up competition in the Insurtech category in 2020. Descartes is based in La Grande Arche in Paris. For more information, contact us at and follow us on Twitter @DescartesUWing

About Cathay Innovation
Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital partnership, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital. It was founded around the shared conviction that supporting entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform bridging 3 continents – North America, Europe and China – constitutes a particularly powerful value-creation strategy. As a multi-stage fund, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs, committed to the sustainable transformation of the world through technology. Such transformation is accelerated by leveraging Cathay Capital’s extensive network with corporates and solid experience in operational excellence. Cathay Innovation has offices in San Francisco, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. To learn more, please visit or follow us on Twitter @Cathayinnov.

About Serena
Founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, Serena invests in bold ventures and provides them with on-demand expertise and operational support in Paris, New York and Singapore. Serena’s core belief is that VCs should work for their portfolio companies, not the other way around. Serena’s portfolio companies leverage our very experienced team of Operating and Venture Partners such as Bertrand Diard (founder of Talend), Pascal Petit (founder of Net2S, an 800 people software integrator), Amélie Faure (founder of Generix and CEO of multiple SaaS companies), Alexandre Winter (founder of Placemeter acquired by Netgear), Jerome Stioui (founder of Accengage acquired by Airship) and David Bitton (founder of Wengo acquired by Vivendi). Our portfolio companies also benefit from the support of a very active C-Level community through the Serena Squad platform, open exclusively to present and past portfolio companies, each contributing to the others’ success. In just ten years, the firm has already contributed to the emergence of many success stories such as Aramis (acquired by Peugeot), The Fork (acquired by Tripadvisor), Cheerz (acquired by Cewe), Selectron, or RSI Video Technologies and has currently 40 handpicked startups in its portfolio such as Dataiku, Evaneos, Malt, IbanFirst, CybelAngel, or Lifen.cec

About BlackFin Capital Partners
BlackFin Capital Partners is a fully independent private equity and venture capital firm focused on financial services in Europe. BlackFin manages 3 buyout funds and 1 venture fund (BlackFin Tech) for a total of €1.8bn under management. Since its final closing in 2018, BlackFin Tech invested in 12 of the fastest growing European fintechs and insurtechs including Friss (insurance fraud detection software), Akur8 (insurance risk and pricing modelling software), Ravelin (payment fraud detection software), Viabill (buy-now-pay-later), Agicap (cashflow management tools for SMEs), Epsor (employees savings and retirement plans), Likvido (invoice to cash software solution for SMEs), MemoBank (fully regulated bank for SMEs) and Pretto (fully digital mortgage broker). BlackFin Capital Partners’ 30 investment professionals are spread across 3 offices in Paris, Brussels, and Frankfurt. For more information, go to our website at, Twitter @BlackFin_tech, or Medium at