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Japan’s Mitsui insurance invests $36 million in Israel’s Upstream Security

Injection of funds is part of C funding round of startup, which offers cloud-based cybersecurity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Upstream Security's monitoring and control center for vehicle cybersecurity (Yarin Taranos Photography)
Upstream Security's monitoring and control center for vehicle cybersecurity (Yarin Taranos Photography)

Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. (MSI) on Thursday said it has set up a strategic partnership with and invested $36 million in Israel’s Upstream Security as part of the cybersecurity startup’s C funding round.

The injection of funds is part of a larger amount of money the startup hopes to raise in its C funding round.

Upstream offers cloud-based cybersecurity and machine learning and big data analytics for connected and autonomous vehicles. The collaboration will help the Japanese insurer use Upstream’s machine learning and analytics solutions to get insights from the mobility data for insurance purposes. Through the partnership, MSI and Upstream will “bring the power and benefits of automotive telematics data into the hands of the insurers and policy-holders,” the companies said in a statement.

In addition to MSI, I.D.I. Insurance Company, one of the Israel’s leading insurance companies, also took part in the investment round, injecting $2.5 million into the firm and bringing the total funds raised in the round to $38.5 million. Earlier this year, I.D.I. and MSI launched a joint technology hub in Israel.

Yoav Levy, right, and Yonatan Appel, co-founders of Upstream Security (Yarin Taranos Photography)

The strategic partnership between Upstream and MSI “will help revolutionize the car insurance industry,” allowing insurance companies to use connected vehicle data to “gain meaningful insights for various insurance-related areas including improved risk management and enhanced customer experience,” the statement said.

The rapid growth of the connected car ecosystem has brought along with it an increased interest in telematics-based services. Upstream’s cloud-based mobility data platform expands MSI’s data analytics capabilities and enables MSI to provide additional risk-related services based on driver usage and behavior, the statement said.

MSI aims “to improve the customer experience through digitalization,” said Masashi Ippongi, director and managing executive officer at Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance. “Upstream’s data analytics vantage will help MSI satisfy the consumer demand for higher-value and next-gen insurance products, applications, and services.”

“The Upstream and MSI partnership will open new data-driven opportunities for both automotive manufacturers, insurance companies, and their customers,” said Yoav Levy, co-founder and CEO at Upstream. The collaboration with MSI will expand Upstream’s existing mobility data platform and help develop “deep and long-lasting relationships with their customers and automotive OEMs in Japan.”

Established in 1918, Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. merged with Sumitomo Marine & Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. in 2001 to form Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd.

Upstream, founded in 2017 by Levy and Yonatan Appel, has raised a total of $81.5 million to date, including the latest round, from investors including Alliance Ventures (Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi), Volvo Group, Hyundai, Nationwide Insurance, Salesforce Ventures, CRV, Glilot Capital Partners, and Maniv Mobility.

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