Digital insurance platform PolicyBazaar has raised $200 million from Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund in a Series F funding. This fresh round of funding values PolicyBazaar to nearly $1 billion, catapulting it into the unicorn club.
The deal was led by the Vision Fund with participation from existing investors including InfoEdge, the parent company behind jobs platform Naukri.com. The startup’s other investors are Softbank, Temasek, Tiger Global, True Northland and Wellington Management, although an announcement from PolicyBazaar didn’t specifically mention if any of those names took place in this latest round (apart from InfoEdge).
PolicyBazaar was founded in 2008 initially as an information portal for learning about insurance and insurance programs. Today, the company operates its own digital insurance brand and acts as a marketplace that aggregates and selects deal from across the industry. Parent company EtechAces expanded into the lending marketplace and financial advisory services with the launch of PaisaBazaar in 2014. The platform sells loans, credit cards, gold funds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and corporate deposits.
PolicyBazaar claims 100 million visitors in website traffic per year with a transaction volume of nearly 300,000 per month. The company further claims that the insurance aggregator is used to purchase over 20% of life insurance coverage in India and 7% of the country’s retail health coverage. With the fresh infusion of funding, PolicyBazaar estimates it will have 10 million customers by 2020.
As for SoftBank, it adds to its growing investments in India. The Japanese tech investor has previously backed online retailers Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm, online grocer Grofers, Ola Cabs, and even Uber. In April, the SoftBank Vision Fund sold its stake in Flipkart to US-based retailer Walmart Inc. In April, Softbank’s holding company, SB Investment Holdings and its affiliates, including the $100-billion SoftBank Vision Fund, are offering to invest $400 million in Paytm Mall.
What is Softbank’s Vision Fund?
Softbank’s “Vision Fund” was launched in 2017 and has raised money from the likes of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which put in $45 million into the fund in an attempt to diversify out of oil. Saudi’s PIF is a sovereign wealth fund which makes investments on behalf of the country. Apple Inc, Qualcomm, Foxconn and Sharp Capital and also Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Fund also back the Vision Fund. With $93 billion in its pocket, Vision Fund became the largest private-equity fund ever held. The fund will enable long-term, large-scale investments to fund growth in the technology sector.