Unilazer Ventures, a private equity and venture capital firm set up by former media scion Ronnie Screwvala, has hiked its stake in Easypolicy, an online insurance comparison website, to 70%, ET reported.
Unilazer has further invested $6.7 Mn – $7.43 Mn (INR 45-50 Cr) in the Noida-based startup and Screwvala believes there is space for more than one player in the online segment with insurance companies looking for multi-players. The development follows many other recent funding reports in the upcoming digital insurance segment in India, which still lags behind its peers in the west.
The reason for the investment was Unilazer’s goal to expand the B2C and B2B business and to build brand awareness. “The startup is also in talks to raise an additional $22.28 Mn (INR 150 Cr) in external funding,” ET had earlier reported that Easypolicy had crossed $1.49 Mn (INR 10 Cr) in monthly premiums and was clocking a monthly run rate of $17.82 Mn (INR 120 Cr).
Other investors in Easypolicy include Burman Family Holdings, which has a 4-5% stake, while the company’s founders, Alok Bhatnagar, Divyanshu Tripathi (a founding member of PolicyBazaar) and Neeraj Aggarwala own a total stake of about 25%.
Insurance Cos Making Acquisitions To Contend With Digitisation
A FICCI report released last year said that the insurance industry in India has reached an inflection point. On one hand, it’s grappling with new technology and distribution models and, on the other, it is striving to meet ever-evolving customer needs. The digitisation push is getting more and more customers online for management of insurance-related transactions.
The optimism and the opportunity have not gone unnoticed. Recently, Mumbai-based online insurance brokerage platform Coverfox raised $22 Mn in a Series C funding round led by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. Online insurance startup PolicyBazaar is close to becoming a unicorn following a nearly $200 Mn (INR 1300 Cr) investment led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.
According to an Accenture Survey, 82% executives expect insurers to make acquisitions to better position themselves in the digital world. The report also mentions that 43% of insurers have made or are planning acquisitions of startups or innovative players. “This not only opens up opportunities for insurers but also for the entire digital ecosystem,” the report said.
With the Indian consumer journey increasingly becoming digital and internet penetrating more lives every day in the mobile-first country, essential services such as insurance are poised to undergo a huge change. This will go a long way to ensure that the consumer gets more options and the industry sees more deal-making in future.