With the news of a newly secured Series B financing round for Minneapolis-based insurtech company Player’s Health, we caught up with CEO Tyrre Burks for a quick Q&A about the raise, the challenges of COVID-19, new offerings for the company, and what comes next.
tech.mn: Walk us through your process of securing your Series B funding. There are some familiar faces onboard (Eos Venture Partners and Will Ventures from Series A), but what changes did you make to your strategy in securing this new round?
Tyrre Burks: Our approach to this round was focused on adding strategic investors that could be force-multipliers in supporting our growth as an insurtech startup with a vision for change in sports. Insurance capacity is scarce in the sports insurance market. Greenlight Re plays a pivotal role that allows us to offer our own proprietary insurance products to support our clients. RPM has been an early investor in some of the largest insurtech/fintech startups in the world with investments in HIPPO and SOFI, just to name a couple. With these firms as partners, we are now positioned to establish ourselves in the marketplace.
tech.mn: With two major expansions to the business over the last couple years (PH Protect and PH Cover), what’s next for Player’s Health and what role will this funding round play in those goals?
Tyrre Burks: In 2020, we grew from supporting 400 sports organizations to over 2,500. This funding allows us to increase operational efficiencies within the business and allow us to support the entire insurance value chain from risk management, distribution, underwriting, and claims. We have everything in one platform that provides our sports organizations with the best experience possible.
tech.mn: PH Protect, in particular, is an interesting addition to the product lineup. Can you walk us through the decision to add an abuse/regulations branch to the company as opposed to staying in the injuries/recovery segment?
Tyrre Burks: Sports should be a safe place for kids to be and we’ve seen that isn’t always the case. Our mission is to protect athletes and we decided to truly dedicate our business to that, we needed to extend into abuse prevention. You see so many instances of abuse in sports, like Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics, USA Cheer, Jerry Sandusky, and many more. It needs to stop and PH Protect was designed to get organizations to that place where they feel confident in screening their staff and that if something does happen, their members are empowered to come forward. All-in-all, the insurance industry has seen significant losses due to the lack of risk management policies, protocols and infrastructure. PH Protect allows us to be proactive in managing abuse claims. This helps not only the sports organization, but the insurance carrier partners we have that are taking on the risk. It’s a win-win.
tech.mn: What kind of changes to your business have you seen from COVID-19 and its impact on youth sports? How have you navigated these challenges?
Tyrre Burks: COVID-19 has presented a big aspect of uncertainty into youth sports. It can be difficult navigating the insurance process and getting our clients onboarded when they’re not sure when they’ll be able to play and what restrictions come with that. Even if they can play, because every state is different, you never know when that will change. Prior to COVID-19, sports organizations merely talked about risk management, whereas in the wake of COVID-19, they actually had to implement risk management policies to ensure the safety of their athletes, coaches, and parents. We took a proactive approach with our organizations by writing a COVID-19 Return to Play policy. With this policy, we partnered with Kinduct, a tech company that provides athlete management systems, to bring a daily COVID-19 assessment application to our clients so they can feel more confident in having safe practices and competitions.
tech.mn: As someone who has considerable experience with injuries on the football field, what are your thoughts on the future — especially when it comes to youth football — of the sport? Do you think leveraging data and risk management can help make the sport safer or are the risks inherent to the game itself?
Tyrre Burks: Absolutely, in the 5 years we have been in existence, we have tracked over 60,000 injuries. We have over 100 data points we are collecting to better understand the environment, time, the mechanism, and treatment of an athlete before, during and after injury. We segment this data by sport, injury type, gender, age, and the list goes on and on. In the future, not only will Player’s Health have the largest database of injuries in amateur sports, we will provide the best path of care to the best providers. Our focus to provide these young athletes with the best care possible remains our number one priority. This funding has allowed us the opportunity to make our vision a reality.