Disruptor 50 2020

18. Root Insurance

Founders: Alex Timm (CEO), Dan Manges
Launched: 2015
Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
 $527.5 million
Valuation: $3.6 billion
Key technologies:
 AI, cloud computing, machine learning, software-defined security
 Auto insurance, financial services
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

George Kavallines

Tech start-ups have flooded into the insurance industry, promising consumers an easier and faster process. Among the newer firms is Root Insurance, which uses smartphone technology for car insurance. Rather than rely on historically biased demographic data to determine rates, Root's mobile-first technology enables everyone with a smartphone to get a rate based primarily on their driving behavior. Credit score, Zip code and even driving history have less to do with Root's rating, enabling low-income, immigrant and young drivers, who have traditionally been placed in high-risk pools through no fault of their own, to escape the punishing rates that can significantly impact their lives. Root claims it can save drivers up to 52% on their car insurance. 

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Last year the company expanded its core auto insurance offering to 29 states and is now available to more than 65% of the U.S. driving population. Roots also launched a renters' insurance product for its existing auto customers in Ohio, Missouri, and Utah. The company also added additional services to its portfolio. Myles is an app that provides free roadside assistance, and the On My Way Family GPS Tracker is a free location-sharing app that lets family members know when loved ones arrive at their location in real time, eliminating the need for texts or calls.

Root is clearly finding support in the investing community. In September it raised $350 million from a group of investors including Coatue Management and DST Global, bringing total funding to $527.5 million. The company has also joined the unicorn club, having reached $3.6 billion in valuation.

A look back at the CNBC Disruptor 50: 8 years, 209 companies