PolicyBazaar IPO: How the company became one of the largest insurance selling portals

As PolicyBazaar files its Draft Red Herring Prospectus with SEBI, we take a look back at the company’s journey to IPO.
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PolicyBazaar, which was founded by Yashish Dahiya, who headed ebookers.com, and Alok Bansal, Senior Manager at Mahindra and Mahindra under ETECHACES Marketing and Consulting Pvt Ltd, in 2008, filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with SEBI, India’s regulatory body for securities and commodities, yesterday. 

Operating under PB Fintech Pvt Ltd, PolicyBazaar is currently one of the largest insurance selling portals, seeking to raise over $800 million from the proposed initial public offering (IPO).

The company allows online users to compare life, health and car insurance, among other insurance policies, from several firms before buying. PolicyBazaar also runs Paisabazaar, a lending platform, and Icall Support Services under its umbrella.   

PolicyBazaar's co-founder and CEO Yashish Dahiya

After the successful IPO of food delivery aggregator Zomato, and lineup IPOs of cosmetic marketplace Nykaa, PolicyBazaar’s listing comes as a major point of interest. PolicyBazaar is also one of the biggest digital policy sellers in the country.  

The Gurugram-based firm operates in India’s under-penetrated insurance market, which already saw a boom in insurance buying during the pandemic.    

The country’s life insurance industry is expected to grow at  5.3 percent CAGR between 2019 and 2023, according to IBEF. Private sector companies gained market share reaching 48.03 percent in FY20 from 47.97 percent in FY19 in general and health insurance. 

With backers including Softbank, Tiger Global and InfoEdge, which also backed food delivery aggregator Zomato, the firm is set to take on the insurance market. But it operates in a competitive fintech space among players, including One97 Communication’s Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and Amazon backed-Acko General Insurance. 

In July 2021, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) also approved PolicyBazaar to undertake insurance broking, which can help the firm expand into other businesses and services, including offline services and claims assistance.

Here’s PolicyBazaar’s timeline to IPO:

  • 2008: Founded by Yashish Dahiya and Alok Bansal under ETECHACES Marketing and Consulting Private Limited; gets seed funding from Info Edge
  • 2011: InfoEdge, which owns Naukri and is an early-backer of Zomato, and Intel Capital invest in PolicyBazaar
  • 2014: Launched Paisabazaar
  • May 2014: Raises $20 million in Series C round led by Tiger Global.
  • April 2015: Raises $40 million from Premji Invest in Series D round.
  • Oct 2017: Raises $77 million in Series E round.
  • May 2018: Softbank Vision Fund backs the firm in a $200 million investment round.
  • Dec 2018: Invests in preventive healthcare platform DocPrime.
  • Nov 2019: Tencent, among others, joins the insurance comparison platform, with an investment of $150 million
  • July 2020: At the height of insurance buying during the pandemic, Softbank bought more stakes in the firm for close to $130 million.
  • September 2020: Changed the name of the parent company to PB Fintech Private Limited.
  • June 2021: Surrenders its web aggregator license to IRDAI for insurance broking.
  • Aug 2021: Files for IPO and seeks to raise over $800 million.
Edited by Kanishk Singh