Former Airbnb finance executive Teodora Gouneva joins NEXT as CFO as company launches new mobile app and triples gross written premium run rate
PALO ALTO, CA — NEXT Insurance, the leading digital insurtech company transforming small business insurance, today announced the appointment of IPO veteran Teodora Gouneva as the company's Chief Financial Officer, following another year of significant growth, innovation and business momentum. She steps into the role previously held by Michelle Cheung, who will now serve as NEXT's first Chief Corporate Officer and will lead the company's legal, people and operations functions. As CFO, Gouneva will drive the company's financial operations and continue to scale its performance and management processes to further equip the company for sustainable growth. Gouneva joins NEXT after another year of milestones: the company tripled its gross written premium last year - reaching a $650 million run rate - and kicks off 2022 with the launch of a new mobile app.
"I'm very excited to join the dedicated team at NEXT who truly cares about helping unlock the potential of entrepreneurs and small businesses everywhere, and I'm looking forward to building on the company's achievements in 2022 and beyond," Gouneva said. "I am passionate about how technology and innovation can improve and advance age-old industries that people rely on everyday. NEXT's mission to transform small business insurance for the good of their customers aligns incredibly well with my interests and expertise," Gouneva said.
Gouneva brings over 20 years of experience working in finance at major investment banks and hypergrowth technology companies, including PayPal and Airbnb where she supported their successful IPOs. She also has extensive acumen in M&A, equity and debt financing, international expansion and new product launches. As the VP of Finance at Airbnb, she built the business finance function and created performance and financial management processes needed to enable growth as a public company. Prior to Airbnb, she spent over 15 years at PayPal in various finance leadership roles, including CFO of acquired companies Venmo and Braintree.
NEXT continues to innovate, launching a mobile app that provides customers with on-the-go access to their policies. Now available on the App Store and Google Play, NEXT's mobile app allows customers to easily access and share certificates of insurance (COIs), manage their coverage and payments, file claims, and more. With more than half of NEXT's direct customers accessing their online accounts from mobile devices, the new app will rise to the needs of today's small business customers and make solving insurance needs even easier.
This news comes on the heels of yet another successful year for NEXT. In 2021, the company secured a $250 million funding round at a $4 billion valuation, received an "A- Excellent" rating from AM Best, launched a successful rebrand and more than doubled its headcount. Additionally, the company solidified a robust multi-channel acquisition model and today is one of the largest direct digital insurance providers for small businesses seeking out general liability insurance, workers comp, professional liability and more.
"We are thrilled to have Teodora join NEXT and her appointment marks a significant step in our journey towards scaling our business and becoming the number one insurance provider in the U.S. for small businesses," said Guy Goldstein, CEO and co-founder of NEXT. "2021 was another incredible year at NEXT, and I could not be more proud of our team for making such significant and bold strides to support our mission to help entrepreneurs thrive. In 2022 we are determined to continue providing affordable, customized and accessible insurance coverage for our customers."
Key 2021 Growth Highlights At a Glance:
- Continued Path Towards Being the #1 U.S. Small Business Insurance Provider:
- Tripled gross written premium reaching $650 million run rate
- Raised a $250 million funding round doubling the company's valuation to $4 billion
- Tripled customer base, now serving over 300K small businesses
- Renewed Commitment to Small Businesses, Revamped Brand:
- Unveiled a new strategic rebrand integrating small business owners into every part of the company's business, culture and ethos
- Committed $4 million to support small business owners over the next three years
- A Supercharged Year for Partnerships:
- Completed acquisition and integration of AP Intego which included deep partnerships with leading small business software ecosystems like Intuit, Gusto, Square and Toast among hundreds others
- Launched first embedded insurance solution, NEXT Connect
- Announced its participation in the Amazon Insurance Accelerator, providing third party sellers with simple and affordable insurance coverage
- Solidified partnerships with Amazon Business Prime and Avetta
- Agent Growth:
- Grew independent agency channel premium by 6x
- Grew independent agents by 2.5x
- Released a brand new agent portal with enhanced client management tools and resources to help agents grow their business
- Product Innovation to Support Becoming a One-Stop-Shop:
- Unveiled Commercial Property coverage and Business Owner's Policy (BOP)
- Launched Liquor Liability coverage for restaurants
- Built a pay-as-you-go offering for workers' compensation
- Coverage and NEXT Carrier State Expansion:
- Increased product availability to all 50 states + DC
- Grew NEXT carrier coverage to 41 states
- Phenomenal Customer Service:
- Achieved an average review of 4.7+ on Google and an NPS score of 75
- Launched claims automation for instant customer self-service
- Notable Recognitions:
- NEXT was the only small business insurtech to receive an "A- Excellent" rating by AM Best
- NEXT received numerous accolades this year, including Forbes Fintech 50, Inc's Best-Led Companies, Forbes America's Best Start Up Employers, CB Insights Fintech 250, BuiltIn's Best Companies in the Bay Area and duns
- NEXT Insurance Continued to Grow its Team:
- Grew employee base by 2.4x bringing total headcount to nearly 950
NEXT is hiring! We are hiring key positions on our data science, engineering, marketing teams and more. Visit our careers page and apply today!
About NEXT Insurance:
NEXT Insurance is transforming small business insurance with simple, digital and affordable coverage tailored to the self-employed. Trusted by 300K business owners, NEXT offers policies that are easy to buy in 10 minutes or less and provides 24/7 access to Live Certificates of Insurance, Additional Insured, and more, with no extra fees. Revolutionizing a historically complicated insurance industry, NEXT utilizes AI and machine learning to simplify the purchasing process and drive down costs by up to 30% compared to traditional policies. Founded in 2016, the company is headquartered in Palo Alto, has received a total of $881 million in venture capital funding, is rated "A- Excellent" by AM Best and has been recognized by Forbes Fintech 50, Inc.'s Best-Led Companies, and Forbes Best StartUp Employers. For more information visit NEXTInsurance.com. Stay up to date on the latest with NEXT on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and our blog.
Head of Corporate Communications