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Policybazaar raises $20M to scale technology & marketing; Rs 270 Cr in insurance premium in FY14

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Online insurance company PolicyBazaar (Etechaces) has raised Rs 119 crore (around $20 million) in funding, though the investors have not yet been disclosed. Info Edge, which was the first company to invest in PolicyBazaar, mentioned in a notice told the BSE that it hasn’t participated in this round of fund raising, and its stake in Etechaces has been diluted to 23%. “Etechaces has undertaken ESoP dilution of about 10%”, Info Edge also mentioned. So far, Info Edge has invested Rs 32.5 crore in Policybazaar.

Speaking with MediaNama, Policybazaar founder and CEO Yashish Dahiya said that the company is not planning to announce the names of its investors for the time being, because they haven’t got a clearance from the investors to disclose their names. Policybazaar reported around Rs 270 crore in insurance premium this last fiscal, and is targeting Rs 2000 crore in the next three years. For this, it needs to invest in technology, and scaling its technology. “The interesting part was that the company was going to be profitable this year, and did not need the funding. This (investment) now allows us to invest in technology and scale technology, and of course, we will continue to invest in marketing. There’s one player that is becoming the largest online or offline player. If you look at our business, in insurance distribution, we’re as big as the largest, which is why investments are coming in. Can we grow this 10x in the next 3 years? We’ve grown by 28 times in the last three years, when the (insurance) market has been flat or declining. 10x should be possible. We will reduce our commission rates over time.”

Policybazaar is spending on increasing its tech team, improving its mobile offering. A few months ago, it appointed Satkam Divya as an Associate Director, leading the the mobile commerce business for the company. Divya has worked with companies in the financial services space like Netambit, TimesofMoney and ICICI Bank, and was also the founder of Rupeetalk.com.

Raising money because of the FDI limits?

Dahiya declined to comment on whether this money has been raised from an Indian investor or a foreign investor, saying only that it is a financial investment, and not a strategic investment.

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Readers should keep in mind that, as of January this year, Policybazaar had exceeded the FDI limit of 26% set by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), with as much as 38% of Policybazaar owned by foreign investors.

Read: PolicyBazaar Exceeds FDI Limits For Web Aggregators; Insurance Regulator Rethinks Clause.

At the time, Policybazaar’s investors included Inventus Capital and Intel Capital. Info Edge was its only Indian investor. At the time that the IRDA announced its draconian insurance guidlines, Dahiya had told us:

“There are two killers though. One 26% FDI, who will invest if FVCI’s cannot, we are already at 38%. Insurers are already barred. The 2nd and one you have missed is, every three years, even if you apply for renewal in time, if the IRDA cannot approve your licence in time, you will need to stop business. ”

Also read: Why You Shouldn’t Launch An Insurance Web Aggregator In India

Info Edge Investments

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– Meritnation: invested Rs 10 crore, and has 55.81% stake. Read more
– Zomato: Rs 57 crore in November 2013, before which it invested Rs 55 crore in February 2013. Has 50.1% stake. More here and here
– Policybazaar: Invested Rs 2.5 crore in April 2013 (a total investment of Rs 32.5 crore). Now holds 23% stake.
– 99 Labels: wrote off Rs 29.3 crore invested. More here
– Nogle: wrote off Rs 2.6 crore invested. More here

Other investments include Happily Unmarried and MyDala.

 

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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