Online insurance policy aggregator eTechAces Marketing and Consulting Pvt Ltd, which runs the site PolicyBazaar, is looking to raise Rs 100 crore ($18 million) from equity investors in a bid to scale up and develop the existing business, CEO Yashish Dahiya has said.
“For the coming two years, we will focus more on delivering innovative products and services, which would require more capital prior to an IPO,” said Dahiya. According to him, the company is looking to raise the third round of funding by the end of 2012 to see through its expansion plans for the next two years and get it IPO-ready.
PolicyBazaar raised Rs 40 crore last year from Info Edge (Rs 10 crore) and Intel Capital (Rs 30 core) in its second round of funding. After drawing out Rs 13.3 crore in May 2011, it has just received the balance of over Rs 26 crore in the second tranche. The firm has scooped up around Rs 60 crore in the first two rounds.
According to Dahiya, the firm has set a marketing budget of Rs 30 crore, of which Rs 8-10 crore will be solely used for brand building.
PolicyBazaar offers a comparison of various insurance policies and loans based on price, quality and key benefits. It claims to have 70 lakh unique registered users who typically spend about 2-3 minutes on the site, researching financial products such as loans and insurance options. Out of them, 1.5 lakh are buyers. The number of monthly transactions is in the range of 10,000-20,000, compared to 3,000 last year and it goes up to 25,000 during peak seasons.
The company currently employs 1,000 people for its call centre (staff strength was 300 a year ago) and intends to hire more to ease customer acquisition and satisfaction.
“The call centre helps us in qualifying leads and guiding customers, and offers nothing more than what the website offers,” explained Dahiya. “Unlike offline insurance agents, we don’t put unnecessary pressure on them. These people just guide the customers and answer their queries, but don’t sell insurances,” he added.
He said that PolicyBazaar is growing at a rate of 100 per cent month-on-month and targeting Rs 53 crore in revenue for FY2012. The company is yet to break even.
In tune with its expansion policy, the firm will develop new insurance products such as critical illness cover.
“We will bring forth more policies for personal accident cover and also work towards redefining term insurances. For example, if somebody dies suddenly, it may be a better idea if the beneficiaries receive the money in smaller tranches and for a longer period (say, Rs 8 lakh per month), rather than getting Rs 1 crore at a go,” added Dahiya.