Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Amelia Gandara, Principal at Nationwide Ventures to learn more about her firm.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Nationwide Ventures is the venture capital team of Nationwide. In addition to investment, partnership is a key to the mutual success of the companies in which we invest. While we don’t need a signed partnership agreement to make an investment, we want to ensure we can add strategic value to our portfolio companies. Our goal is to protect and improve the financial security of Nationwide’s members by working with startups that help us live up to Nationwide’s mission of protecting people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care.
What inspired the name of your firm?
Being a CVC, we are proud to represent Nationwide in the greater insurtech, fintech and startup communities.
What defines your portfolio?
Ultimately, we want to provide value for our portfolio and customers. From agtech space to fintech, if there is an angle that touches risk management and insurance, we would love to chat! We typically invest in early stage companies, and some of our focus areas include:
- MOBILITY – Provide services for consumers or businesses utilizing new types of mobility, vehicle connectivity and telematics.
- ENTERPRISE/DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE – Invest in the advancing infrastructure behind the insurance and financial services industries in the areas of underwriting, data & analytics, IoT, and alternative distribution.
- LIVING IN RETIREMENT – Products and services to help consumers prepare for and live better in their next stage of life.
- PROPERTY TECH – Assist home and property owners in better protecting and managing their most valuable assets through alternative data and analytics, IoT, risk intervention technologies, and home services.
- FUTURE OF WORK – Empowering employees and business owners. Taking the friction out of business operations, teams and risk management.
How has your firm evolved from its founding to today?
When we first started, we focused on early stage companies. Today, we take a slightly broader approach – both with stage of company maturity and thematic focus. Thematically, we look at industries and technologies that impact our customers but might not be directly in the insurtech or fintech space. For example, we invested in flo (acquired by MOEN in 2020), a IoT/hardware startup that remotely monitors water usage, leaks, and plumbing in the home, with the unique ability to shut off the water remotely. Flo prevents non-weather related water damage, and eventually allows customers to avoid a negative customer experience while mitigating claims. We also grew to focus on more growth stage investing with investments in companies such as Beam, Hover, BlueVine, Extend, etc. Also, today Nationwide has expanded its venture capital funds to $350 million earlier this year.
Why is your firm an NVCA member?
Our team loves the opportunities to learn and gain new perspectives from industry experts. Through the pandemic, the team has taken advantage of numerous webinars and is looking forward to opportunities to connect in person with the broader NVCA community soon.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
Most of our team is based in Columbus, OH, so we are very attuned to and proud of the maturation of the city and Ohio broadly in its support of great Midwest founders. According to Pitchbook and NVCA, last year Ohio startups raised over $2 billion. Some notable raises this year include: Beam Dental raising a Series E at $80 million, and Olive raised $625 million, and Path Robotics raised $171 million. Our team only sees the trend continuing. Ohio is not only a center of gravity for insurtech but also ecommerce, retail, manufacturing, and logistics. Columbus specifically is poised for more growth because of the city having one of the highest concentrations of talent in the country, according to One Columbus. Not only does the region have talent from its various universities, but there is also talent here because of corporations: Nationwide, L Brands, Abercrombie & Fitch, Wendy’s, Cardinal Health, Huntington Bank, and covermymeds.
What’s ahead for your firm for rest of the year?
We are excited to be going to more in-person events again and reconnecting with the insurtech and Columbus startup communities. There is something about being able to connect and have a conversation face-to-face with someone.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less?
Intellectually curious, thoughtful, collaborative, bold, authentic
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