Insurance Startup Turtlemint Nears Unicorn Status With New Round
(Bloomberg) -- India’s Turtlemint raised $120 million in a round led by Amansa Capital, Jungle Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners, gaining funds for expansion as a swath of technology-driven companies race to sell insurance policies in an under-penetrated market.
Vitruvian Partners, Marshall Wace and early Turtlemint investors also participated in the Series E round. The Mumbai-based company reached a “slightly less than unicorn valuation” in the deal, co-founder Dhirendra Mahyavanshi said Friday, referring to the tech industry’s term for startups valued at $1 billion or more.
The Sequoia Capital-backed startup will use the funds to expand to new geographies, particularly the Middle East and Southeast Asia, as well as to invest in its distribution, underwriting and claims technology. Turtlemint offers online training to insurance agents in smaller cities and towns, helping them to sell coverage to consumers. Rivals sell insurance directly to customers, including Paytm, Policybazaar and the Amazon.com Inc.-backed Acko.
“Insurance is a knowledge-based product best validated by buying through experts,” Mahyavanshi, 43, said on a video call.
Turtlemint has tapped more than 160,000 insurance advisers, helping it scale fast without significant spending. Nearly three-quarters of the startup’s business comes from outside the country’s biggest 30 cities and the company offers its service in six major Indian languages, including Hindi, Kannada and Tamil. India’s insurance penetration was about 4.2% in the year ending March 2021, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s India Brand Equity Foundation.
Mahyavanshi, a 10-year veteran of the insurance industry, co-founded the startup in 2015 with Anand Prabhudesai. It sells about 12,000 policies daily, including health, life, vehicle and personal accident policies, and has reached an annual revenue run rate of $380 million, he said. It also offers its insurance training and selling platform to banks and insurers as subscription software.
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