PremjiInvest to fund Policybazaar.com
New fund-raising comes nearly six months after Tiger Global along with some existing investors infused $20 million in firm
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New Delhi/Mumbai: Online insurance comparison portal Policybazaar.com, run by ETechAces Marketing and Consulting Pvt. Ltd, is in advanced talks to raise as much as $60 million in funds from existing and at least two new investors including PremjiInvest, two people familiar with the development said.
The new round of fund-raising comes nearly six months after Tiger Global Management Llc along with some existing investors infused $20 million into the Gurgaon-based company that runs financial products aggregation websites Policybazaar.com and Paisabazaar.com.
“The documents have been signed and the company is waiting for the money to come into the account before making an official announcement,” said one of the two people, neither of whom wanted to be identified.
“Not all investors have participated in the current round,” he added. Mint could not confirm the name of the other investors participating in the round.
“We are always in talks with investors to raise money,” said Alok Bansal, co-founder and chief financial officer, without commenting on specifics.
Inventus Capital and Tiger Global declined to comment on the development.
Emails sent to PremjiInvest, Intel Capital and Info Edge did not elicit a response till the time of going to print.
Last week, media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. announced the acquisition of an Indian online financial planning services company BigDecisions.com for an undisclosed amount. A month ago News Corp., the media and publishing firm, acquired a 25% stake in the Indian online real estate portal PropTiger.com for $30 million.
Founded in June 2008 by Yashish Dahiya and Bansal, Policybazaar.com helps customers analyse insurance products online based on price, quality and other key features.
According to the company, it gets close to 50,000 unique visitors a day on its site. “The website gets close to 16,000-17,000 people who experience the website and see a quotation on it and conversions are close to 5%,” said Bansal.
“Since the ticket size is between Rs.8,000-10,000 the premium pass through we have is as high as Rs.25-30 crore per month,” he added.
The company gets a profit margin anywhere between 8% and 25% depending on the products.
According to the Policybazaar website, the company since inception has served five million customers seeking both life and non-life insurance.
“The company is looking at increasing the number of transactions by 10 times in the next three-four years,” Naveen Kukreja, group chief marketing officer, said in an interaction with Mint last week. Around 22,000 transactions happen in general insurance products in a month, while the rest are for life insurance products.
In August, the company re-branded its non-insurance business under the new portal Paisabazaar.com as current Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority regulations does not allow companies such as Policybazaar to sell non-insurance products under same portal.
On the new platform, the company is currently selling home loans, credit cards and personal loans.
“In fiscal 2015, we are looking at disbursing Rs.1,000 crore in the loans category. Our target is to increase this to Rs.12,000 crore by fiscal 2017,” said Kukreja.
Policybazaar also wants to expand its product offering by introducing financial instruments such as mutual funds and corporate deposits, according to Bansal.
“We will launch these products by early 2015,” Bansal said in an interview last week. The company is also looking to start listing savings products such as fixed deposits by next year.
“We need buffer money to try and enter into new product lines, to build our brand through television and online campaigns, and to build its future IT (information technology) capabilities,” Bansal said while talking about the company’s burn.
Apart from funding some losses and to build technology capabilities for future, a company such as Policybazaar requires high working capital too as there is a 90-100 day gap from the time a consumer pays the premium online to the time the websites gets its fee. “As we grow, the funding requirement grows too as these items eats up enough cash,” Bansal adds.
Policybazaar currently has over 1,500 employees and the company expects to hire aggressively especially for IT in 2015.