Softbank-backed Policybazaar raises $75m to fuel its Middle East expansion

The India-based FinTech company aims to expand its operations in the UAE and wider region

FG81FD View of new business district at Abu Dhabi Global Market square (ADGM) on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates. Alamy
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Policybazaar India, an online insurance platform backed by SoftBank's Vision Fund and Tencent among others, raised $75 million to fuel its expansion in the UAE and the Middle East.

The latest investment was led by global alternative asset management firm Falcon Edge Capital, which has an office in Abu Dhabi. It is also present in New York, London, Miami and Bangalore.

“This investment is the largest financing round in the online insurance space within the UAE,” Policybazaar said on Monday. “The funding will drive aggressive expansion across the UAE and the Middle East.”

Founded in 2008 by Yashish Dahiya and Alok Bansal, Policybazaar features products from all major insurance companies in India with over 400,000 sales transactions every month.

“We believe that the $2.5 billion [insurance] market will continue to see a substantial shift towards digital operations,” Mr Dahiya, co-founder and group chief executive of Policybazaar said. "The coming financial year, we aim to scale five times in size and scale.”

Companies from the Gulf region have increased their investments in Indian start-ups. Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Bahrain’s Investcorp and Investment Corporation of Dubai are backing Bangalore-based e-commerce firm FreshToHome.

Falcon Edge Capital, which has $5bn in assets under management, runs the Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) Fund set up by Adio to help budding Asian businesses gain market access to the UAE and the broader Middle East region. The AWI fund recently backed Verloop.io, a Bangalore-based automation platform with a presence in Abu Dhabi last year.

Policybazaar established itself “over the last 10 years in being the most efficient sales channel for insurance manufacturers, can act as a catalyst to gain market leadership in the GCC”, Navroz Udwadia, co-founder of Falcon Edge Capital, said.

The insurance aggregator has sold "sum assured worth $100m through our term life insurance products and we intend to scale this figure to $1bn in the next 12-18 months", Policybazaar’s chief executive Neeraj Gupta said.

The FinTech is also reportedly planning an initial public offering as it capitalises on a booming digital economy following the pandemic.