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[Funding Alert] Insuretech Platform Turtlemint Raises $30 million The funds will be used to boost insurance and financial product penetration at the grassroots

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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Mumbai-based insuretech platform Turtlemint on Wednesday announced to have secured $30 million in a funding round led by GGV Capital. New investors American Family Ventures, MassMutual Ventures, and SIG, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Dream Incubator, and Trifecta Capital also participated in the round.

"For over five years, Turtlemint through its PoSP (point of sales person) model has been empowering insurance advisors in over 5,000 metros, cities, and towns across India. Aside from the ease of doing business, sales growth is crucial for an advisor. The Turtlemint platform enables this through tools like a mobile CRM (customer relation management) to manage customers, a repository of video content that they can use for customer education, and social media marketing features for driving insurance awareness. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, consumer awareness, and demand for health and term-life insurance has shot up. In this time, we saw our advisors wholeheartedly embrace our digital solutions, resulting in a 2.5 times boost to their business," said Turtlemint co-founder Dhirendra Mahyavanshi while commenting on the development.

Insurance has primarily been an offline product in India, wholly reliant on paper-based and offline processes, with more than 90 per cent of the products sold by advisors who act as conduits between insurance companies and customers. These advisors play a critical role in bridging the gap in tier 2/3 towns and cities, where the low physical presence of insurance companies greatly impacts seamless access to insurance products and information.

"Continuous education is a very important aspect of being a successful financial entrepreneur. To this end, we have created an online education product with a wide range of courses on financial products, advice-based sales techniques and other soft skills. Our content is now available in 7 regional languages and over 20,000 learners are active each month on our edtech platform. A lot of these are first-time advisors who are taking their first steps towards starting their advisory business. Our target is to create a million successful financial entrepreneurs over the next 3-5 years. We are thankful to our investors who have joined with us in this journey and encouraged us to dream big," shared Turtlemint co-founder Anand Prabhudesai.

Equipping advisors with digital tools that can help them tackle an otherwise cumbersome offline process, efficiently and at scale, is crucial to improving insurance penetration in India.

"GGV is a firm believer in investing in local champions and helping them to scale up with global data and insights. By developing products for the micro-entrepreneurs and the rising middle class, Turtlemint has an opportunity to have a positive impact on India's economy. Dhirendra, Anand, and their team built an incredible platform that enables over 100 K mom-and-pop financial advisors to serve consumers' best interests with digital tools, helping middle-class families in India get insured with the best products available. We are proud to be joining the team in this time of global pandemic when digital solutions for sustaining and securing livelihoods is a critical need across the country," added GGV Capital managing partner Hans Tung.

Launched in 2015 with this undertaking, the company is a deep tech platform that helps advisors educate customers and recommend products that are best suited to meet their unique requirements, enabling them to purchase insurance seamlessly.

The company does this by providing a wide variety of product offerings and a customized recommendation tool through a simple mobile app that empowers advisors to be truly digital and future-ready. In addition, the platform allows for instant online issuance, making the purchase process across 40 insurers transparent and paperless, while reducing the average turnaround time to less than 10 minutes versus a prevalent industry average of over 48 hours.

"Insurance is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in India with a highly fragmented industry structure. Through its products, Turtlemint is enabling the small insurance advisor - the lifeline of the industry - with choice of insurance manufacturer, efficiency in policy issuance and claims, and personalization of advice to their customers. The firm is thrilled to have partnered with Turtlemint since the early days. The company has grown over a hundred-times in the past four years and is one of the fastest rising players in what is potentially a $100 billion market," remarked Sequoia Capital India LLP principal Harshjit Sethi.

With insurance penetration at fewer than 3.5 per cent, among the lowest in the world, there is a huge need and opportunity for the insurance sector to grow fast in India. This requires the creation of skilled manpower in every part of the country; experts who are trusted, have the right local context and can guide customers correctly in their local languages.

"We share Turtlemint's core belief that the future of insurance is sold by tech-enabled human advisors. Turtlemint's growth and customer satisfaction is a testament to the fantastic execution by Dhirendra and Anand and the entire Turtlemint team. We are really excited about their future and grateful to join them on this journey," further adds American Family Ventures managing director Drew Aldrich.

The Turtlemint platform currently partners with over 40 insurers and serves more than 1.5 million customers from quote to claims. The funds raised will be utilized to bolster the product/platform by investing in cutting-edge technology solutions, significantly scale geographic penetration in tier 2/3 towns and upskill advisors and customers through training and content.

"Turtlemint is enabling a distributed workforce of 100,000 advisors through a flexible, full-stack technology architecture. Their approach significantly reduces costs and allows for instrumented analysis in real-time, transforming insurance distribution as we know it. These efficiencies democratize access to top insurance products from carriers and empower consumers to purchase protection when and where they need it from an advisor who can provide customized advice. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have only reinforced the importance of adopting digital processes and we believe Turtlemint's vision will drive significant growth and a seamless experience across the industry," concluded MassMutual Ventures principal Charles Svirk, in a statement.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

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