Multistage investor Munich Re Ventures expands its horizons

In its second fund, Munich Re Ventures hopes to tap into longer-term projects, mainly around insurtech, said managing director Jacqueline LeSage.

Munich Re Ventures, the venture arm of Munich Re Group, recently closed a $500 million fund that it plans to use to look for long-term strategic investments.

Jacqueline LeSage, managing director of Munich Re Ventures, said its second fund will represent a departure from its previous investment philosophy, especially now that insurtech is becoming more familiar to start-ups.

“What we’re doing now is looking more broadly at our different investment areas and have changed our time horizons,” LeSage said.

She said the firm will be investing in companies even if it is not yet certain of their future relevance to Munich Re Group.

Previously, Munich Re Ventures underwrote companies whose strategic value was more near-term. But with this second fund, the firm is more open to working with companies with a longer-term potential benefit to the parent company.

The new fund also allows Munich Re Ventures to expand its geographical scope. LeSage said two potential focus areas would be Latin America and Asia.

Munich Re Ventures invests in early- and growth-stage companies in multiple sectors: insurtech, climate tech, cybersecurity and privacy, commercial and industrial technologies, and the future of transportation.

It has invested in 36 companies, many in insurtech, which is its main focus. Munich Re Ventures portfolio includes first-generation insurtech start-ups. It has also worked with companies developing solutions around insurance within fintech, climate, space economy, and the internet of things.

LeSage said Munich Re Ventures is only able to broaden its horizons because more companies have started to see the value in adding an insurance component to their work and that this has permeated through different sectors.

“Over the last four to six years, insurtech has really taken off. That means that a whole generation of venture capitalists, investors and entrepreneurs have started to understand how it works and how you bring risk transfer against risks,” LeSage said.

She added that the firm has seen more crossover of insurance to other sectors like cybersecurity or climate, which expands the number of companies the firm can work with.

LeSage said it has also become easier to speak to other investors about insurtech because the firm has gone past the need to explain what it is.