Insurance aggregator yallacompare secures $4.25m in new funding round

Kuwaiti insurer Gulf Insurance Group acquired a 9.6% stake in the company

Dubai, United Arab Emirates- interview with Jon Richards, founder and chief executive of Yallacompare. Grace Guino for The National for Alice Haine’s story
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Middle East insurance aggregator yallacompare raised $4.25 million (Dh15.61m) in its latest funding round.

The company praised the investor, Kuwait insurer Gulf Insurance Group, for showing courage in a “turbulent economic climate”.

Gig, which is listed on the Kuwait stock exchange and has a presence in Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain and Egypt, took a 9.6 per cent stake in yallacompare.

The proceeds of its investment are set to be used to fund the company’s growth in the UAE and expand its insurance comparison business into new territories.

“We are all too aware of how fortunate we are to bring in fresh capital at this time and we very much appreciate the courage that gig have shown to invest in yallacompare in this turbulent economic climate,” said Jon Richards, chief executive of yallacompare.

“Closing this deal at this time will be transformational for us and have a big impact on our industry.

"This latest round will allow us to grow quicker than ever before, which has a knock-on effect to consumers and insurers alike.”

Yallacompare, which was launched in 2016, is among a crop of comparison platforms in the UAE that help residents decide which financial products are most suited to their needs.

The insurance aggregator already raised $11.5 million (Dh42.24m) from three previous rounds.

The third fundraising round was in January last year, when yallacompare secured $8m from STC Ventures, managed by Iris Capital; Dubai venture capital company Wamda Capital; and Argo Ventures, the early stage investment arm of global insurance company Argo Group.

Yallacompare, which operates insurance aggregators in the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt, employs more than 120 people at its offices in Dubai and Egypt.

Gig chief executive Khalid Al-Hasan said the company is "keen to strengthen and develop its digital services and this acquisition is a step [forward] for the group in the adoption of digitisation the characteristic of this era".

Jonathan Rawling, chief financial officer at yallacompare, said the pandemic did not affect the timing of the transaction, as “there are a lot of steps including negotiation, due diligence and contract finalisation” and “this stage is generally conducted by lawyers working on documents via email”.

“We hope it will inspire other investors to follow gig’s lead in taking a long-term investment view rather than mothballing plans until the pandemic passes,” he said.