Aflac announced that as part of its overall corporate venture strategy, the company is increasing its original investment in the Aflac Ventures Fund from $100m over three years to $250m over three to four years, as opportunities emerge.
To date, the Aflac Ventures Fund has made eight investments in mainly early-stage companies both in Japan and the US, with individual investment size ranging from $1m to $6m and ownership stakes from 3% to 14%.
In addition to equity investments, in most cases Aflac US and Aflac Japan maintain commercial relationships with target companies in support of mutual growth initiatives.
Aflac Corporate Ventures president Nadeem Khan said: “We are pleased with the investments made to date, as well as their growth prospects and application to our core business.
Our focus continues to be on growth-stage, innovative and scalable companies. As we increase the fund size, we are diversifying into later-stage deals and fund-of-fund opportunities.
“This supports our overall strategy to invest in companies with missions relevant to Aflac’s core business and restates our commitment in this space. This also provides greater market reach and drives deal flow by building partnerships with the start-up ecosystem and other corporate and strategic investment groups.”
Aflac Ventures Fund is a subsidiary of Aflac Corporate Ventures. In addition to funding activities, Aflac Corporate Ventures is the holding company for Empowered Benefits, acquired by Aflac in 2015 and rebranded as Empowered to denote its recently broadened scope.
Empowered is a technology company located in Charlotte, NC, that provides cloud-based benefits administration and exchange platform solutions to insurance carriers, brokerages and employers. Empowered specializes in the benefits administration space and is the technology engine powering Aflac’s Everwell enrollment platform in the US.
Empowered recently expanded its technology center to include digital innovation and the development of growth opportunities in the digital distribution space. Aflac Ventures maintains offices in Charlotte, NC; Sunnyvale, Calif.; and Tokyo, Japan.
Aflac Incorporated executive vice president and chief financial officer Frederick Crawford said: “The central mission of Aflac Corporate Ventures is to support the organic growth and business development needs of Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. with emphasis on digital applications designed to improve the customer experience, gain efficiencies, and develop new markets in an effort to enhance and defend long-term shareholder value.
“From a fund perspective, it’s all about getting in on the ground level to incubate businesses, innovate technologies and captivate consumers with great experiences as these early-stage companies continue to mature. In terms of Empowered, it is a technology based platform that is agile and capable of incubating and accelerating go-to-market growth strategies serving our core markets.”
Source: Company Press Release.