Japan’s Mitsui insurance ups investment in Israel’s Upstream Security

Japanese company leads $62m expanded Series C round in provider of cloud-based cybersecurity solutions for connected and autonomous cars

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Startups and Business editor and reporter.

Upstream Security founders Yoav Levy, CEO (right) and Yonatan Appel, CTO. (Photo: Yarin Taranos)
Upstream Security founders Yoav Levy, CEO (right) and Yonatan Appel, CTO. (Photo: Yarin Taranos)

Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. (MSI) has increased its investment in Israeli automotive cybersecurity startup Upstream Security, the companies announced on Tuesday, bringing Upstream’s Series C funding up to $62 million. This comes three months after MSI led a $36 million investment in the Israeli company.

New investors in the now-completed C round included Israeli insurance company IDI Insurance, 57 Stars’ NextGen Mobility Fund, and French investment club La Maison Partners. Earlier this year, IDI and MSI launched a joint technology hub in Israel.

Founded in 2017, Upstream offers cloud-based cybersecurity and machine learning and big data analytics for connected and autonomous vehicles. The collaboration will further help the Japanese insurer use Upstream’s machine learning and analytics solutions to get insights from the mobility data for insurance purposes.

“The new investment will boost Upstream’s growth and reinforce its leadership in the connected vehicle cybersecurity market, while expanding its offering to current and future customers,” MSI and Upstream said in a joint statement.

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 companies said in May.

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

Upstream is also privately funded by Alliance Ventures (Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi), Volvo Group Venture Capital, Hyundai, Nationwide Insurance, Salesforce Ventures, MSI, CRV, Glilot Capital Partners, and Maniv Mobility.

“The Upstream and MSI partnership will open new data-driven opportunities for both automotive manufacturers, insurance companies, and their customers,” Yoav Levy, co-founder and CEO at Upstream, said at the time.

“With today’s revolution in automotive connectivity and exponential growth in the number of connected vehicles on the road, the demand for automotive cybersecurity and data analytics solutions has increased significantly, and Upstream is well poised to tap this growth and capitalize on the business opportunities shared by our customers and partners,” he added on Tuesday.

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 four years ago by Levy and Yonatan Appel, has raised a total of $105 million to date, including the latest round.

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