Dallas-Based Bestow Named To 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50

Like the fast-growing digital life insurance company says, "we do things a little differently around here."


While technology and its adoption has transformed many financial services, the life insurance industry “lags far behind in its ability to appeal to a digital consumer, says Melbourne O’Banion. The co-founder of Dallas-based Bestow set out to change that in 2016.

The startup, which is billed as a “new breed of life insurer built for future generations,” intends to democratize access to financial products in a $7 trillion life insurance industry.

This week, the fast-growing company marked a milestone: Bestow was named a 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50. The annual list of 50 forward-thinking and ambitious startups are all said to be “on the path to becoming the next generation of public companies.” Previous winners include Airbnb, Peloton, Stripe, and Transferwise.

As the company puts it, “we do things a little differently around here.”

How Bestow works

Dallas-based Bestow aims to reimagine life insurance and expand the market. Built from the ground up as a tech platform, customers can buy a policy on a mobile device in as little as 5 minutes and instantly secure coverage without a phone screening, doctor’s visit, or blood test.

One of the first fully digital life insurance companies, Bestow hasn’t let COVID stop its mission—or momentum. Though it was only launched four years ago, the startup has already raised $145 million and plans to make its coverage accessible to millions.

Last year, Bestow acquired of Centurion Life Insurance Company, which has licensing in 47 states and the District of Columbia. It then completed a $50 million Series B, and announced the launch of the Bestow Foundation to give financial support to those in need during a crisis or disaster.

In 2021 Bestow continued making major moves. It took a “big step forward” by partnering with insurance unicorn Lemonade to potentially reach a million new customers. And, among the 500 companies listed on Forbes’ recently published America’s Best Startup Employers 2021 list, Bestow landed the No. 2 spot.

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  • Bestow CEO and Co-founder Melbourne O'Banion [Image: Courtesy Fort Lion Studio]

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