Online insurance startup PolicyBazaar has become the latest entrant into the once elusive unicorn club, after it raised over $200 Mn from global tech investor SoftBank. The series F funding round was the result of almost six months of hectic negotiation between the Gurugram based PolicyBazaar and Tokyo headquartered SoftBank.
Although PolicyBazaar has still not confirmed the valuation details, several reports claim that the latest funding has valued the startup a little over $1 bn.
Existing investor Info Edge, parent company of Naukri.com, and TrueNorth also participated in the funding round. Info Edge is said to be in talks with another existing investor PremjiInvest (investment arm owned by Azim Premji) to buy latter’s stake for an estimated $32 million.
PolicyBazaar is the latest recipient of funds from SoftBank’s much talked about ‘Vision Fund.’ The other high profile startups to receive funds from Vision Fund are Flipkart, OYO Rooms and Paytm Mall.
The Gurugram based startup, which is operated by eTechAces Marketing & Consulting, counts big names like Tiger Global Management and Temasek among its investors. Last year, the startup claimed that it has managed to achieve breakeven a total revenue of $33.8 Mn (INR 220 Cr) during the last financial year. There were also reports during the same time that it is planning to raise fresh capital through IPO route. However, now this plan seems to have been shelved by the management.
Buoyed by increasing internet and smartphone penetration, India’s online insurance market has made impressive stride over the years. Apart from PolicyBazaar, other competitors like Coverfox, BankBazaar and PolicyGenius have managed to capitalize on increasing demand for online insurance. However, several industry experts claim that IRDA – regulatory body of insurance industry – needs to formulate far more user-friendly policies to encourage online insurance market.