Building a Startup the Right Way: Insights from InsuranceDekho’s Founder Ankit Agrawal

Ankit Agrawal shared insights into his entrepreneurial journey at InsuranceDekho, along with his vision for the company's future, in conversation with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.

Building a Startup the Right Way: Insights from InsuranceDekho’s Founder Ankit Agrawal

Tuesday January 30, 2024,

5 min Read

"Six lakhs is the bare minimum number. Look, until the day every village in India doesn't have an insurance agent, I don't think my team and I will sit quietly!”

This powerful statement by Ankit Agrawal, Founder and CEO, InsuranceDekho, encapsulates the mission and determination behind their work. In a country with a population of 140 crore people, where unemployment is a genuine problem, InsuranceDekho is striving to provide opportunities and access to insurance for all. Their goal is to ensure that every village in India has an insurance agent, empowering individuals and families with financial protection.

Agrawal’s journey and passion for solving the problem of insurance penetration in India led to the creation of InsuranceDekho, one of the largest insurtech startup in the country. Last year, the company raised $200+ million across two funding rounds from marquee investors like Goldman Sachs, TVS Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, BNP Paribas, LeapFrog Investments and Beams Fintech Fund. Its Series A fundraising of $150 million continues to be the largest insurtech Series A funding in South East Asia.

Coming from a small village in Bihar, Agrawal’s drive to make a difference and build a successful business was fueled by his determination and belief in the power of hard work.In a candid conversation with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory Media, Agrawal shared his journey and insights on building a startup the right way. Let's dive into the key takeaways from this conversation :

Solving real problems: distribution, digitisation, and diversification

InsuranceDekho is solving a three-pronged problem in India - distribution, digitisation, and diversification. They aim to train and empower individuals to become insurance agents, providing them with a means to earn a livelihood and contribute to their communities. By bringing instant gratification and financial opportunities to small cities and rural areas, InsuranceDekho is making insurance accessible and relevant to all.

The power of determination and working the right way

Agrawal's journey is a testament to the power of determination and working the right way. He always harbored ambitions of entering the business world, and it was his personal experience with a challenging insurance claim that really set his path. In 2012, after returning from the US, Agrawal faced a difficult time when his father was very unwell. Dealing with an insurance claim during this period was troublesome and eye-opening. This incident gave birth to the idea of InsuranceDekho - a platform that would address and simplify complex insurance problems in India.

He also emphasised the importance of working hard, surviving for the long term, and building a business the right way.

He said, “If you build a good company, you will always find investors willing to invest in you. And I believe that raising money from investors, valuation are all output metrics, not input metrics. Any business’ input metric should be how they’re making a business. Is there any profit coming in it or not? What is the cohort of customer retention? What is the cohort of employee retention? If you solve this input metric, then you will always get valuation, and fundraising in the output.”

Focus on consumers and agent partners

InsuranceDekho's success lies in its razor-sharp focus on consumers and agent partners. Agrawal highlighted the importance of understanding their pain points and solving their problems. He shared how the company crossed milestones by constantly listening to their agent partners and consumers and providing them with a seamless experience.

The Role of Technology: AI and Chatbots

Agrawal believes that technology, particularly AI and chatbots, will play a significant role in the future of insurance. He shared how InsuranceDekho has implemented AI-powered chatbots to improve customer service and reduce attrition in their call centre. He emphasised the need to embrace technology and leverage it to enhance the customer experience.

Building a global financial services company

“The vision that I have for InsuranceDekho is to create a global financial services company out of India. Build a company which was built for Bharat and take it globally”, said Agrawal. He emphasised the need to market Indian startups in the right way and showcase their potential to make a difference in millions of lives.

Lessons learned and future outlook

Reflecting on his journey, Agrawal acknowledged the importance of learning from mistakes and asking for help when needed. He emphasised the power of gratitude and the value of trust in building a successful business. Agrawal also highlighted the need to say no when necessary and maintain a culture of frugality.

In conclusion, Agrawal's insights provide valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs. Building a startup requires determination, hard work, and a clear focus on solving real problems. By working in the right way, embracing technology, and prioritising consumers and partners, startups can pave the way for success. With the right mindset and dedication, entrepreneurs can build global institutions and make a lasting impact in the world of business.