UK AI start-up Tractable becomes unicorn with latest funding

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Tractable has raised $60 million in a late-stage funding round led by investors Insight Partners and Georgian, which values the British artificial intelligence start-up at $1 billion.

Tractable uses AI to speed up the time taken to process motor insurance claims and says its $1 billion valuation makes it the first British unicorn company focused on "computer vision" technology, which helps computers to understand pictures.

Other computer vision unicorns are mainly based in China and the United States.

A driver who has had a car accident submits photos of the damage to their insurer. Tractable’s AI immediately analyses the pictures against its database of previous incidents, to assess if the car is repairable, and what repairs are needed.

Over 20 of the world's top 100 motor insurers use Tractable, the company said, including GEICO, the United States' second largest motor insurer.

The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on Tractable's revenues as fewer drivers on the roads led to lower claims, said Alex Dalyac, Tractable CEO. But revenues have still grown 600% in the last two years.

"We saw a big reduction in accidents - up to 40% and that does result in lower volumes," Dalyac said, though he added the pandemic had increased demand for automated claims processing.

In addition, Tractable is using its technology to help car recyclers identify reusable parts.

It plans to use the proceeds of the funding round to expand into buying and selling of used cars and into home insurance, for instance by quickly calculating typhoon damages to homes in Japan.

Tractable raised $55 million from previous funding rounds, in which Insight and Georgian also participated, along with Ignition Partners and Zetta Venture Partners.

Founded in 2015, Tractable, which has 200 employees, is keen to boost diversity in a typically male-dominated sector, Dalyac said, adding that more than 20% of its software engineers are women, above the industry average.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Barbara Lewis

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