Three insurance giants teamed up to invest in Hover, a startup that uses a 3D-imaging cell-phone app to speed up and reduce the cost of roof repairs.
Travelers Insurance, State Farm Ventures and Nationwide led the $60 million Series D financing round for the company, which can create detailed roof measurements from just a few smartphone photos.
Hover was founded in 2011 by A.J. Altman, a former U.S. Marine infantry officer. It targets both homeowners and professionals, with the bulk of its revenue coming from contractors and insurance companies, who traditionally would have to send out a crew to assess a damaged roof for repair.
“These insurance carriers might be dealing with several hundred thousand exterior claims a year on a building,” says Hover CEO Altman. “Those numbers add up.”
Jim Wucherpfennig, a vice president at Travelers, says his company started using Hover to better process claims. “There’s really two important attributes, the first being accuracy, and the second being speed. The measurements that the platform provides us are as good or better than our best claim professional that we have.”
Hover has a tiered pricing model. Homeowners can take pictures for free, while commercial clients may pay anywhere from $20 to $200 for a single job, to $2,500 or more per year for bulk use. The company is on pace to generate $70 million in revenue over the 12 months, still a small slice of the reported $45 billion roofing contracting market.
Altman hopes to boost sales partly by expanding Hover’s e-commerce division. Already, customers can scan a roof, determine the estimated cost of repair and order supplies all through the Hover platform. “We have integrations with two of the top three distributors in North America,” he says.
Prior to founding Hover, Altman worked as an engineer at Intel, then spent time consulting for the Department of Defense before joining the Marines.
“When I got out of the Marine Corps in 2009, I moved back to the Bay Area… and was in a kind of discovery mode,” he says. While talking to some other engineers, he learned about “3D math and photogrammetry.” The iPhone was taking off, and through experimentation Altman stumbled on home repairs as the ideal marriage of both technologies.
“I didn’t know how big the market was,” he says. By luck, the concept “had killer product-market fit and exploded, and [it] has grown exponentially ever since.”