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[Funding Alert] Plum Raises $4.1Mn In Funding Round Led By Surge And Tanglin Venture Partners The company aims to become the de facto employee health insurance provider for over 1 millioncorporates in India

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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Indian employee insurance provider Plum on Thursday announced to have raised of $4.1 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital India's Surge and Tanglin Venture Partners. Existing investors, including Incubate Fund, also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to expand into new markets, build new distribution channels, hire deserving talent and further develop product and tech.

The company is part of the fourth cohort of Surge, a bi-annual scale-up program for startups in India and Southeast Asia.

Launched in early 2020, the platform is poised to reinvent how group health insurance works in India by making it affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes.

"One critical illness can make a family fall below the poverty line - so Plum has reimagined the traditional space of healthcare insurance to make it more affordable, simple, and comprehensive - a far cry from the complicated products and opaque pricing most businesses have to navigate. With COVID-19 further elevating the need for personal protection, companies with as few as five employees can set up high-quality health coverage in less than an hour at a discounted price previously available only to large corporates," remarked Abhishek Poddar, co-founder, Plum.

India currently has one of the lowest penetration rates for health insurance in the world, with only 18 per cent of urban employees and 14 per cent of rural areas receiving coverage of some kind. Over 50 million Indians fall into poverty every year due to their inability to finance health issues.

The easy-to-use health platform coupled with transparent pricing aims to help more businesses reap the benefits of insurance for their employees. Plum provides coverage for as little as $10 per year per person.

Businesses find the insurance purchasing process to be tedious, opaque and costly, with the entire process taking months to set up. To address these issues, the company has negotiated and forged new underwriting and fraud detection measures with a wide range of insurance companies.

"While the Indian government has several initiatives that offer free health coverage to India's vulnerable populations, there is a sizable audience without adequate protection. The group insurance health market in India is projected to grow to USD 13.4 billion by 2025 and will see the rise of innovative insurance products not available in advanced markets. Plum hopes to provide 700 million people with employer-sponsored insurance and become the de facto health insurance platform for one million corporates in India," Poddar added.

The platform has partnered with best-in-class healthcare providers in dental care, fitness, diet and nutrition plans, yoga, virtual doctor consultations and mental health care.

Focusing on delivering a reliable customer experience, the startup provides companies with a dashboard to easily manage employees' insurance and an employee app with 24x7 support for queries, claims, and other related issues.

Plum does not discriminate when it comes to helping businesses across a variety of sizes receive the coverage they need. Collaborative customer onboarding platform Rocketlane saw the benefits offered by Plum even when it was a start-up with just eight employees.

"At a stage when our company was considered too small for most insurance providers, Plum gave us access to good quality healthcare protection for our teams and families. They have an exceptional product designed to suit the needs of small and mid-size organizations. We were up and running within 24 hours - and their tailor-made offerings enabled us to save 40 per cent of what we would have spent on the more traditional, expensive health insurance products available in the market," commented Srikrishnan Ganesan, founder, Rocketlane.

Keeping up with the relativity, the company has seen 200 per cent growth quarter-on-quarter, securing $1 million worth of insurance premiums within just the first three-quarters of launch. The platform is currently used by more than 200 companies, including organizations such as Twilio, The Label Life, Classplus, Happay and Sunidhi Group.

Group insurance health market in India is projected to grow to $13.4 billion by 2025.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

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