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Avaana Capital co-founder takes over reins of insurance-tech startup Coverfox
Sanjib Jha

Sanjib Jha, a co-founder of growth-stage venture investor Avaana Capital, has taken over as the interim chief executive of online insurance aggregator Coverfox Insurance Broking Pvt. Ltd.

Jha is replacing Premanshu Singh, who quit as Coverfox’s CEO last month, according to Singh’s LinkedIn page.

Jha confirmed his appointment as the interim CEO to VCCircle but didn’t disclose any details.

On Wednesday, the company announced the appointment of Jha and said it has also hired former Ola executive Piyush Ranjan as chief technological officer and Manish Sultania as chief financial officer.

Jha will spearhead Coverfox’s operations, streamline resources and mentor mid- and senior-level leadership, it said.

Coverfox is the first company in which Avaana had invested, in late 2018. The investment firm has since then backed two more companies—fintech starup LoanTap and bicycle brand Frog.

Avaana was set up by former TPG executive Anjali Bansal. Jha joined the firm last year. He has previously worked at venture debt firm IntelleGrow, private equity firm Actis and as an adviser to Small Industries Development Bank of India.

Avaana is targeting a corpus of $100 million for its first fund and will back companies in the consumer and financial services segments, VCCircle reported previously.

Jha’s appointment at Coverfox was first reported by The Economic Times. The report said that Jha’s immediate responsibilities include bringing in fresh capital and possibly look for a strategic buyout. The report also said Singh has joined fintech firm Paytm as a senior vice-president managing its financial services business.

Over the past year, news reports have said that Coverfox was in talks with potential investors to raise an estimated $50-60 million in a Series D round of funding and that Paytm was likely to buy the startup. However, no such deal has been sealed.

Apart from Avaana, Coverfox’s other investors include venture capital firms Accel and SAIF Partners and World Bank arm International Finance Corporation.

Coverfox was established in 2013 by IIT Bombay graduate Devendra Rane and MICA Ahmedabad alumnus Varun Dua. Dua quit Coverfox in 2016 to float Acko General Insurance Company, an online insurance policy provider.

Coverfox’s parent company is Glitterbug Technologies Pvt. Ltd. The insurance aggregator raised external funding for the first time, from Accel and SAIF Partners, in 2014 and secured a Series B cheque in 2015.

The company mobilised Series C capital in numerous tranches between 2016 and 2018. Avaana, IFC, Dutch insurance firm Aegon NV, Infosys co-founders NR Narayana Murthy and Senapathy Gopalakrishnan joined this found.

*This article has been updated to include Coverfox's comment.

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