Why We Invested in Captain
Natural disasters are the new normal. In 2021 alone the US dealt with 20 extreme natural disasters that cost $1B+ each. That’s almost triple the average since 1980. These events leave behind destruction — to the tune of $145B in uninsured losses and $85B insured ones in 2021. It is low-income and diverse communities who find themselves disproportionately affected. All they want to do, after a natural disaster strikes, is to rebuild and get back to normal as quickly as possible. So they call their insurance.
But the disaster insurance industry is not set up to serve their customers at speed. There are too many hoops to jump through to get your claim closed and your house repaired. Some of these hoops include: submitting a claim, getting the insurer to estimate the cost of repairs, and paying for a deductible you might not have enough money for to get repairs started.
Policyholders aren’t the only ones frustrated with the process. Specialized contractors have to cover materials and labor costs upfront to start working on pre-approved insurance repairs. The result? Many pre-approved receivables for natural disaster repairs remain in limbo. Millions of policyholders are left waiting, unable to get on with their lives. With natural disasters on the rise, more people will face similar circumstances. Communities deserve better and so do the contractors helping them rebuild their homes.
Captain, our latest investment, is building what communities deserve.
How does it work? Captain provides funding to communities affected by natural disasters. It does so by advancing money to contractors to pay for materials, labor, and fees associated with repairs. All within hours and without having to wait on insurer money. It’s a win for all. Policyholders can finance their deductibles at cost, and they have peace of mind knowing their house will be rebuilt quickly. Contractors sell their pre-approved receivables to Captain, and get funding to start working on the repairs upfront.
Investing in Captain was a no-brainer. We are a thesis-driven investor and Captain’s vision fits in with our own to strive for a world where Economic Sovereignty is the new standard for success. This is a company creating systemic change and Economic Sovereignty for historically disadvantaged communities whose priority is to get a roof back over their head after a natural disaster. Contractors and subcontractors — 30% of whom are Latinx — benefit too. They can think about starting or growing their own businesses thanks to the upfront funding provided by Captain.
Captain has the power to transform the disaster insurance industry, and with it the lives of millions of natural disaster victims. Demetrius Gray, the Founder & CEO, has a true passion for the problem he’s solving, and a track-record in the space, making him the right person to build this business. He spent 7 years running a contracting business, and was the Founder & CEO of YC-backed WeatherCheck, a startup monitoring properties for hail damage. Demetrius has taken his learnings from WeatherCheck to build a better and more resilient solution to the problem of natural disaster damage. WeatherCheck was missing a critical piece that Captain now solves: insurers need to be incentivized to help homeowners recover from storm damage. Fronting the insurance payments does just that. Demetrius has put together an all-star team, with depth of expertise across insurance, finance, operations, legal and home contracting. Together they have what it takes to make this a billion-dollar business. Top-tier funds NFX and GGV also bet on Captain to become a breakout company with clear unicorn potential.
We are excited to partner with Demetrius and team on their journey with Captain.
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