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Rhino looks to replace renters’ security deposits with a small monthly fee

October 1, 2019 No Comments

Rhino, the insurtech startup incubated by Kairos and co-founded by Kairos CEO Ankur Jain, has today announced the close of a $ 21 million Series A round led by Kairos and Lakestar.

Rhino was founded in 2017 with the goal of getting back to renters the billions of dollars that are locked up in cash security deposits, all while protecting landlords and their property. As it stands now, landlords usually take one month’s rent to cover any damage that might be done to the apartment during the lease. This is piled on top of first and sometimes last month’s rent, and even at times a broker’s fee of one month’s rent, which adds up to an incredibly steep cost of moving.

Because of certain regulations, this money is held in an individual escrow account and can’t really generate interest, which results in billions of dollars zapped out of the economy and instead sitting dead in some account.

Rhino is looking to give renters the option to pay a small monthly fee (as low as $ 3) to cover an insurance policy for the landlord. Rhino is itself a managing general agent, allowing the company to both sell and create policy plans for landlords through partnerships with carriers.

Thus far the startup has saved renters upwards of $ 60 million in 2019, with users in more than 300,000 rental units across the country.

“The greatest challenge is working against legacy and industry norms,” said Rhino CEO and co-founder Paraag Sarva. “That start has begun, but there is a huge amount of inertia behind the status quo and that is far and away what we are most challenged by day in and day out.”

To help speed up the process, Rhino is working alongside policymakers to enact change on a federal level.

Alongside the funding announcement, the company is announcing its new policy proposal that was created in collaboration with federal, state and local government officials. The policy essentially allows for renters to be given a choice when it comes to cash deposits, including allowing residents to cover security deposits in installments or use insurtech products like Rhino to cover deposits.

Rhino says it will be sharing the policy proposal with 2020 presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Rhino is one of a handful of companies that has been incubated by Kairos, a startup studio led by Ankur Jain with the goal of solving the biggest problems faced by everyday Americans. The studio focuses on housing and healthcare, with companies such as Rhino, June Homes, Little Spoon, Cera and a couple of startups still in stealth.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Instagram hits 1 billion monthly users, up from 800M in September

June 21, 2018 No Comments

Instagram’s meteoric rise continues, dwarfing the stagnant growth rates of Snapchat and Facebook. Today Instagram announced that it has reached 1 billion monthly active users, after passing 800 million in September 2017 with 500 million daily users.

That massive audience could be a powerful draw for IGTV, the longer-form video hub it’s launching for creators today. While IGTV monetization options are expected in the future, content makers may flock to it early just to get exposure and build their fan base.

While Snapchat’s daily user count grew just 2.13 percent in Q1 2018 to 191 million, and Facebook’s monthly count grew 3.14 percent to reach 2.196 billion, Instagram is growing closer to 5 percent per quarter.

Hitting the 1 billion user milestone could put pressure on Instagram to carry its weight in the Facebook family and bring home more cash. Facebook doesn’t break out Instagram’s revenue and has never given any guidance about it. But eMarketer estimates that Instagram will generate $ 5.48 billion in U.S. ad revenue in 2018, up 70 percent from last year. It reports that Instagram makes up 28.2 pecent of Facebook’s mobile ad revenue.

IGTV could open even more premium mobile ad inventory that traditional television advertisers crave, which helped push Facebook’s share price up more that 2.2 precent to $ 202.

The Instagram brand increasingly looks like Facebook’s life raft. Sentiment toward Facebook, especially amongst teens, has been in decline, and it’s constantly rocked by privacy scandals. But many users don’t even realize Facebook owns Instagram, and still love the photo-sharing app. With the 1 billion user badge, businesses and content creators may take the photo and video app even more seriously. Selling windows into your friends’ worlds is a lucrative business.


Social – TechCrunch


WhatsApp hits 1.5 billion monthly users. $19B? Not so bad.

February 1, 2018 No Comments

 Facebook’s $ 19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp sounds smarter and smarter. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on the Q4 2017 earnings call today that WhatsApp now has 1.5 billion users and sees 60 billion messages sent per day. That’s compared to 1.3 billion monthly users and 1 billion daily active users in July. Read More
Social – TechCrunch


Twitter Home to Majority of 10 Million+ Monthly Global Big Brand Mentions [Report]

February 16, 2013 No Comments

Global Fortune 100 companies were mentioned a total of 10,400,132 times online during a month-long period, with most of those mentions happening on Twitter. Each company was mentioned an average of 55,970 times on Twitter, yet 18 percent still don’t have accounts to monitor and interact with mentions, according to the third annual Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-Up.

The study examines how Fortune 100 companies use social media sites Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

Read More