Bootstrapped and growing with a team of 100, the story behind PolicyX
In all the funding frenzy, one rarely gets to hear about a bootstrapped company. Online insurance aggregator PolicyX is one such story. During one of his consulting assignments in the US, founder Naval Goel had a stint with AIG. This is when he started comparing the Indian market with developed markets and decided that an online insurance portal would make sense for India. He left his job and came back to India to setup PolicyX.com.
Starting from NCR’s commercial hub Gurgaon in November, 2013, Naval put up a small team to get the portal up. “We received IRDA approval in August, 2014, and this is when we really got going,” says Naval. PolicyX.com is an online insurance web aggregator company which provides free quotes and comparison related to motor, health, life, child and many other insurance related products. Users can go ahead, select, and then buy the insurance.
“In a short span of roughly 2 years, we have managed to achieve more than half a million page views per month; we have an aim of reaching a target of 1 million by 2015 end,” says Naval. The company also claims to be amongst the first two companies to get approved by IRDA under its new guidelines. It faces fierce competition from the heavily funded PolicyBazaar and Coverfox. PolicyBazaar has raised more than $60 million from PremjiInvest, Tiger Global, and others while Coverfox has raised more than $14 million from Accel Partners and SAIF. At PolicyX, the company says that it is getting more than 50,000 monthly queries for various products including child plans, pension plans, health insurance, motor insurance, term plans, travel plans, etc. “We have tie-ups with all the major insurers in India offering a variety of products,” says Naval. Along with their insurance partners, they do a business of about 3000-4000 policies per month from visitors to PolicyX.com. If one assumes a ticket size of Rs 10,000, the total premium would approximately be 3 crores per month.
From a team of 3 individuals in 2013, PolicyX has managed to scale up to around 100 employees. A majority of the employees are based out of their Kirti Nagar office which operates their in-house delivery centre. “The dedicated delivery centre provides assistance to our customers: resolving their queries, and helping them choose and shortlist the best insurance product as per their requirements,” says Naval. The company doesn’t reveal the revenues but the model is dependent on the cut they receive from the policies sold. Talking about their scale, Naval adds, “We have grown our company very diligently without hiring any excess staff. From day one, we focused on the right performance matrices for business growth. We are the only company in the insurance comparison space to have reached this scale without any external funding.”
The online insurance market has just scratched the surface in India. Only about 4 per cent Indians have insurance, and out of that only 2% are buying insurance online. Both of these numbers will grow rapidly over the next few years. “Both the life and non life segments have tremendous opportunities to grow; and the online platform will play a major role in ensuring that insurance is within the reach of each and every person who is eligible for an insurance,” says Naval.
Talking about their focus, Naval says, “We at PolicyX.com don't believe in selling insurance products to our customers. That's the job of insurance companies. We only guide and educate our customers in choosing and short listing the best products as per their requirement.” PolicyX has made headway with its real-time dynamic charts to help customers select complex products like investment plans, etc. The startup also has plan-specific videos which are created in-house to help people make the right choice.
It is early days for the industry and PolicyX intends to be in the game for the long run. Naval says, “We want to be the No.1 player in India in the online insurance space; and plan to reach there by year 2018 by continuing to provide innovative offerings and products to our customers.”