Today is a special day here at MIT. Despite the pandemic, our community still celebrates the greatest mathematical constant. As an unofficial holiday, Pi Day is the school’s tribute to the enduring genius of mathematics. What Einstein called “the poetry of logical ideas.” And Galileo “the nature’s language.”
Math is often feared, but here at MIT, it is revered. So, it comes as no surprise that many MIT startups are making it core to their business, no matter the industry, from biotech to consumer products.
This year, one of our alumni startups decided to take it one step further.
In honor of mathematics and Pi day, Waffle, an MIT delta v alumni team from 2018, just raised a “Pi” – an additional $3,141,592, bringing its total pre-launch funding to $5.2 million. This latest round is led by Verve Ventures with the participation of BetterLabs Ventures and others.
Waffle started right here in the beehive of the Martin Trust Center in 2017 where the company’s three co-founders started to devise a better way to insure people through ease-of-use, clever policy design, and, of course, sophisticated math and holistic actuarial modeling. At the core of Waffle’s approach is the notion that insurance should be centered on people, not product, and that coverage should be more robust.
How does this apply to you specifically? Think about everyone who was told during the past year that their insurance policy had a ‘pandemic’ exclusion and weren’t eligible to receive the cash they desperately needed. Think about the businesses that went under or the people who lost thousands on travel cancellation. What is the point of insurance if it doesn’t come through when it’s needed most? Insurance can easily be one of the worst user experiences in the digital age. Heck, even the insurance nomenclature is dehumanizing: people aren’t customers, just policyholders!
Waffle is attempting to take on all these problems at once. In the pitch that its CEO and co-founder Quentin Coolen gave on stage at Kresge Auditorium on Demo Day in 2018, he said, “We look at you as humans, and bringing [you] at the very center of our world.” Fast forward two years, and after a passage through the NY Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars, the original vision remains true. Waffle has established itself as the first and only holistic InsurTech dedicated to offering the ‘YOU’ insurance – one insurance to protect you, everything, and everyone you love. This means your car, home, life, travel, pet, rental, digital life, but also your friends and your family.
To do this, Waffle has partnered with some of the best in the business (Chubb, MassMutual, Hippo, and others) and offers products that are carefully curated to address the particular pain point in each of the particular areas of coverage. This includes purchasing a life insurance policy in 10 questions with no medical exam; or a travel policy that you can cancel for any reason; or even a cyber policy that protects you and your kids from identity theft, hacking, and even online harassment and bullying.
Waffle is proud to share that the company is launching nationwide at the end of this month (March 2021), but in the meantime, feel free to register for their Beta at www.trywaffle.com.
While Waffle is excited for its Pi round of funding and imminent launch, it does so while also wanting to pay tribute to the particularly challenging time for some of the members of the MIT Mathematics Department. Three weeks ago, MIT lost of one its giants when Emeritus Professor Isadore Singer passed away at age 96. A renowned mathematician, he once described how he finds beauty in the music of mathematics. On this Pi Day, all of us remember Professor Singer, think of his loved ones, and celebrate his relentless advocacy for the advancement of knowledge in the field of mathematics.