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Sequoia leads investment in online insurance platform Turtlemint
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Online insurance platform Turtlemint has raised $25 million (Rs 178 crore at current exchange rates) in a fresh funding round led by the Indian arm of global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Turtlemint said in a statement that existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Ventures had also participated in the round.

Mumbai-based Turtlemint’s co-founder Dhirendra Mahyavanshi told TechCircle that the fresh capital will be used to expand the platform’s network of point of sale persons (PoSPs), an industry term which refers to licensed insurance experts.

The money will also be used to develop training content for these individuals and to ramp up Turtlemint’s technology platform, Mahyavanshi added.

The startup, which claims to have pioneered the PoSP model, said that it currently has 25,000 PoSPs across more than 700 cities.

“The digitisation of the insurance value chain is a huge opportunity and benefits all the participants – customers by providing access to the right products, agents through significant business growth and productivity, and insurers through improved transparency,” said Anup Gupta, managing director at Nexus Venture Partners.

The fresh fundraise comes after a gap of nearly three years. Turtlemint had raised an undisclosed amount from Nexus and Blume back in February 2016.

Turtlemint

Turtlemint was started in 2015 by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduates and former Quikr colleagues Mahyavanshi and Anand Prabhudesai.

The four-year-old startup claims to offer customers a wide variety of policies from more than 20 insurers for cars, two-wheelers, life and health insurance. 

The platform takes into account over 15 factors such as family composition, cashless hospital network near the consumer, and special cover needs like maternity and in-home care to recommend the appropriate health insurance cover and the right policy for the customers and their families, the statement added.

Consumers can purchase the insurance online using the desktop site, proprietary app Mintpro, or by engaging a PoSP to complete the process.

“A lot of customers, while depending on online research to learn more about the available policies, ultimately prefer to buy their insurance from an intermediary they can personally interact with. We developed MintPro to bridge this online-offline gap,” Mahyavanshi said.

Sequoia, which closed its sixth India- and Southeast Asia-dedicated fund last year, was the most active venture capital firm in the country in 2018. It made 31 investments overall comprising both new and follow-on deals, according to VCCEdge, the data and research platform of News Corp VCCircle. In 2017, Sequoia had struck 41 bets.

Deals in the space

The insurance-tech sector has attracted considerable investor interest of late. Industry experts believe it could possibly usher in the next wave of innovation and disruption in the fintech space.

Last month, media reports stated that Mumbai-based online startup Acko General Insurance Co. Ltd may raise $25 million (Rs 175 crore) from Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal. In May last year, it raised $12 million (around Rs 80 crore then) in a funding led by e-commerce giant Amazon.

In July, Go Digit Infoworks Services Pvt. Ltd, the parent of online insurance startup Digit Insurance, raised $45 million (around Rs 310 crore then) from existing investor Fairfax Holdings.

The month before that, ETechAces Marketing & Consulting Pvt. Ltd, the operator of online insurance selling platform PolicyBazaar.com and lending marketplace PaisaBazaar.com, raised more than $200 million (Rs 1,360 crore then) in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

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