January 18, 2017 / 11:57 PM / 7 months ago

Startup League set for U.S. expansion, eyes next funding round

TORONTO (Reuters) - League Inc, a Toronto-based startup that has excited investors because of its potential to streamline health benefits and the insurance market, will soon offer insurance products in the United States and complete its Canadian roll-out, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The two-year-old company is also eyeing overseas expansion and broadening its services this year, which could prompt another round of funding this fall or next spring, CEO and founder Michael Serbinis said in an interview.

"Coming out of the summer/September, if we're on plan to do this, we'll probably raise at least $100 million," said Serbinis, who founded Kobo, a digital reading platform that competes with Amazon's Kindle. "Fall would be the first window to consider it."

League lets businesses offer employees customized healthcare benefits through its app. There are no forms, and unlike the costlier, traditional insurance model, employers get back what is not spent.

Small businesses are a key customer base for League, and large employers such as Toronto's University Health Network are also using it. The business will expand to hospitals across Ontario, Serbinis said.

The company, which began operating a year ago, now expects total Canadian contract values to top C$250 million ($188.47 million) this year, Serbinis said. He reiterated his previous target of C$1 billion in 2018.

League does not disclose its revenue, but Serbinis said the company's commission rate was less than 10 percent of each contract's value.

League began offering insurance products last October, including life, accidental death, and disability coverage. Those products will soon be available across Canada and offered in parts of the United States, Serbinis said.

He said he has plans to set up shop in at least one other country this year.

League has spent millions of dollars on legal fees to obtain separate licenses for provinces and states. Serbinis said such regulatory hurdles are one reason there is little competition in the market.

"Selling ebooks was way easier," he said.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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