Lassie raises €23M to build the future of preventative pet insurance

The round was led by Balderton, with participation from existing investors Felix Capital, Inventure, Passion Capital and Philian.

Lassie is the world’s first preventive pet insurance ecosystem, empowering pet owners to have healthier, happier and fitter pets. Beyond a simple insurance platform, the company coaches owners to better care for their four-legged family members through bespoke, app-based courses and advice in return for premium reductions and rewards that can be spent in the Lassie e-commerce store. The startup has already made successful inroads in Sweden as well as Germany, where it launched in January this year. Lassie now has more than 60,000 customers on its books, including over 400 dog breeds and over 200 cat breeds. The funding will be used to develop Lassie’s ecosystem offering, build the team and strengthen its international presence. 

Lassie co-founder and CEO Hedda Båverud Olsson was inspired to found the company after growing up with a veterinarian parent who focused on providing preventive care to their beloved family pets to help them avoid sickness. Together with insurance expert, Sophie Wilkinson (a former head of pet insurance at a Nordic insurance company), and technology lead, Johan Jönsson (a full-stack developer with experience at Spotify and King), the team launched Lassie in 2021 in its home country of Sweden, uniquely poised to take on the multi-billion dollar pet insurance market.

Prevention is better than expensive vet bills

Pet insurance has seen little innovation, with owners paying monthly premiums to avoid a large vet bill if a pet becomes sick or needs an operation. Yet the bureaucratic process behind claims and compensation leaves customers frustrated and facing growing premiums year-on-year with little to show for it. While human life and health insurance companies have taken advantage of the advent of big data and analytics to shift focus to preventive health insurance, no one has attempted this in the pet insurance space, until now.

Lassie provides bespoke insurance products coupled with coaching for cat and dog owners to learn how to keep happy, healthy and fitter pets. Its app features online courses, including videos and articles advising owners on everything from what foods to avoid, how to reduce stress amongst pets, the best ways to train a new puppy or kitten and accessible exercises. Owners who complete the courses receive rewards every insurance year, from lower premiums (between €25 to €50 cheaper a year) to points they can spend in Lassie’s in-app store. For any queries, owners can connect with Lassie’s support team directly in the app, which also makes it easier to file and settle claims.

We’ve long been passionate about the potential for technological disruption in insurance. However, it is a really hard sector to break into and scale up in, with challenges around underwriting, marketing costs and claims operations. As a result, we have been highly selective in our investing and Lassie is our first new insurance investment in the last five years. Hedda and the Lassie team have made it look easy. Lassie’s deep expertise, focus, efficiency and leadership in the space are unparalleled and we’re delighted to be supporting the team on this next phase of growth.

Rob Moffat, Partner at Balderton

The booming pet services market

Lassie has launched as pet ownership is booming in Europe. Nearly half (46%) of all European households own a pet, following an explosion in dog and cat ownership during the Covid-19 pandemic. Attitudes to pets are changing too – a survey by pet charity Blue Cross found that 95% of respondents view their pets as members of the family, whilst European countries are introducing laws that consider the welfare and rights of pets during divorce and separation. As well, owners are spending a collective €23.5BN annually on related services and products from specialist pet food, to accessories and insurance to ensure their best friends live as long as possible, with adoption rising across Europe including Sweden (68%), UK (30%) and Germany (20%).

Over the next 12 months, Lassie is looking to expand to another European country as well as develop its product, including furthering the development of generative AI to automate claims and strengthen its personalisation engine, to better serve its customers and support more healthy pets.

The Lassie app

The Lassie app

Our four-legged family members are some of the most valuable parts of our lives – they provide love, companionship and happiness. In return, we want to ensure that they have long, happy, and most importantly, healthy lives. This is what we set out to do with Lassie by empowering owners to have all the resources at their fingertips to provide their pets with the care they deserve as well as bespoke insurance should the worst happen. We’re proud of everything we’ve achieved so far but we know there is still much more work to be done and we’re delighted to have the support of Balderton, to help us as we grow further.

Hedda Båverud Olsson, co-founder and CEO of Lassie

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