BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

M’sian startup PolicyStreet bags RM25mil funding & coveted insurance license at a go

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PolicyStreet, an insurtech (insurance technology) startup has bagged RM25 million in a Series A fundraising round. It was led by Altara Ventures, Auspac Investment Management, Gobi Partners, and the Leong family of Mah Sing Group.

With some fresh funds, PolicyStreet aims to expand into new markets in the region. At the same time, it plans to double down on its technological capabilities and marketing efforts to provide a greater variety of insurance products. 

This is part of the startup’s effort to meet the growing demands of insurance protection in the digital and gig economies.

Claiming the funds

VC firm Altara Ventures invests in pre-A, Series A, and Series B stage companies building innovative solutions in fintech and healthcare, along with consumer and enterprise software.

Meanwhile, Auspac Investment Management is a Singapore-based fund manager investing in SEA startups in the sectors of healthcare and consumer tech. Gobi Partners (Gobi) is a venture capital firm investing in emerging and underserved markets across Asia, with US$1.1 billion in assets under management.

This RM25 million funding comes after PolicyStreet had raised a total of RM7.8 million in equity crowdfunding (ECF) on PitchIN in June 2020, during the height of the pandemic. Supported by KK Fund and Spiral Ventures, this funding round was recorded as the largest amount raised on an ECF platform in Malaysia. 

The announcement of today’s Series A round coincides with PolicyStreet securing in-principle approval for a combined Reinsurance and General Insurance license from the Labuan Financial Services Authority. This license is granted by the financial regulator for Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC). 

Dictionary Time: Reinsurance, or insurance for insurers, transfers risk to another company to reduce the likelihood of large payouts for a claim. Therefore, it allows insurers to remain solvent (having assets in excess of liabilities) by recovering all or part of a payout.

Investopedia

Businesses that hold these licenses essentially get the benefit of gaining access to permitted risks in Malaysia including marine, aviation, and transit. It also enables businesses to set up an office in KL without the requirements to comply with detailed regulations governing businesses in Malaysia.

“[Having this license] will allow us to venture upstream to develop our own innovative insurance products to cater to the fast-growing needs of the digital economy in SEA,” added Wilson Beh, co-founder of PolicyStreet.

PolicyStreet is also the one out of two insurtech companies in the region to be granted this insurance license. “However, the same license has also been granted to leading global reinsurance and insurance companies. We are proud to join the ranks of the reputable list of insurance players,” Wilson clarified to Vulcan Post. 

Founded in January 2017 by former banking and insurance professionals Yen Ming Lee, Wilson Beh, and Winnie Chua, PolicyStreet has digitalised the way insurance is marketed and sold in Malaysia. 

Wilson stated that their backgrounds have aided in attaining the above licenses as the team already understands the importance of regulation and compliance. 

Strategic partnerships that impressed funders

In recent years, PolicyStreet has been strategically partnering with other tech companies to address the gaps in insurance protection in the digital space. Some of its latest partnerships include:

  • airasia money in providing digital car insurance to airasia Super App customers,
  • foodpanda in insuring all of foodpanda’s delivery partners, 
  • myTukar, a pre-owned car buying and selling platform under the Carro Group of companies, and 
  • Red Ideas Holdings, a technology company that developed neighbourhood community app JagaApp.

Wilson added, “We power up the digital and gig economy to effectively insure their users with innovative plans. I believe our strong business traction and the track record in partnering with large and strategic companies has further supported our investment thesis.”

And these efforts are promising, as Gobi Partners’ Thomas G. Tsao stated in a press release that PolicyStreet will be well-positioned to lead the charge when it comes to building new insurance and protection policies as digital adoption continues accelerating.

The larger PolicyStreet team in a virtual meeting / Image Credit: PolicyStreet

Eyeing more opportunities

With the RM25 million in hand, PolicyStreet aims to expand into new markets in the region. While the startup did not provide details on where it plans to target first, its team will be eyeing neighbouring countries where insurance penetration is low, thus presenting big opportunities.

Today, the insurtech startup serves not just end-users but also businesses in providing customised employee benefits and group personal accident insurances. Its corporate clients involve small to large businesses along with tech companies.

CEO Yen Ming Lee said, “We are excited to introduce new sachet-based and on-demand insurance products with our new license to power up the digital ecosystem, while continuing to provide value to all our existing customers in South East Asia.” 

Furthermore, Yen Ming Lee is confident that PolicyStreet’s new investors will help the company grow in becoming SEA’s leading insurtech provider.

  • You can learn more about PolicyStreet here.
  • You can read other articles we’ve written about PolicyStreet here.

Featured Image Credit: Yen Ming Lee, Wilson Beh, and Winnie Chua, co-founders of PolicyStreet

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