Malaysia startup PolicyStreet closes $492k seed investment from KK Fund

From Left (Wilson Beh, COO; Yen Ming, CEO; Winnie Chua, CPO and Jason Lee, CIO) .JPG

Malaysian startup PolicyStreet, an online marketing and technology partner for insurance providers has raised RM 2.1 million ($492,206 ) in seed funding from Singapore-based venture capital firm KK Fund, a Singapore-based venture capital fund.

With this round of funding, PolicyStreet aims to build a stronger team and develop new innovative insurance products using technology. 

Founded in January 2017 by the team of  Yen Ming, Wilson Beh, Winnie Chua and Jason Lee, the latest investment will enable it to expand its curated insurance product offerings and drive the establishment of more corporate collaborations. 

It recently won the Malaysia round of Seedstars World, the world’s largest seed-stage startup competition, and will be representing the country in the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland next year.

Lee Yen Ming, co-founder and CEO of PolicyStreet, “We want to change the perception of insurance by providing the right education and awareness. We are not about just selling insurance and to us getting insurance is not just a one-off transaction. We believe insurance is a prerequisite in all stages of life and we take pride in being present in our customer’s life journey.”

In an email exchange, he told DEALSTREETASIA that the firm had been profitable since launch. He elaborates: “To us, profitability is a key benchmark in any company and the same should be applied to a tech startup. And this is driven by the vast experience of the management team which comprises brand, marketing, actuary, investment banking and wealth management in leading international corporates with more than 30 years of professional experience.”

“Hence, we believe that growth and acceleration can still be achieved through a profitable business,” he adds.

The startup curates what it believes are “relevant bite-sized products” and curating new ones that can meet consumer needs, particularly those where the price points are too low for insurance agents to earn reasonable commissions.

In terms of competitors, Lee notes that while there are a number of aggregators, financial comparison sites and agent portals in Malaysia, their insurance focus acts a differentiator. Additionally, he maintains that they do not compare products but “handpick best-in value products in the market and deploy a Business-to-Groups (“B2G”) strategy”.

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He explains: “We believe that Insurtech is still at a nascent stage in Malaysia and South East Asia. However, the industry will become more matured in the next 3 to 5 years and that is when consolidation will take place. M&A is definitely a possibility when established insurance companies and leading international Insurtech startups come together to collaborate.”

The firm is aiming to expand into emerging markets in Southeast Asia, noting that it has a “collective market of more than 400 million young and vibrant population and where the life insurance penetration rate is still relatively low at less than 50%”, with aims to build its foundation in Malaysia.

The company deploys an offline-to-online approach that targets similar pools of customers and aims to grow the literacy of Malaysians regarding insurance, as well as the corresponding uptake in insurance products; the company claims that only an estimated 50 per cent of Malaysians are insured. 

The company aims to position itself as an avenue for direct awareness, education and knowledge so that consumers can make informed decisions regarding their protection needs and provide simpler and more affordable solutions.

In April 2017, PolicyStreet announced a partnership with UForLife, the largest online term life provider in Malaysia. This allows consumers to directly purchase UForLife’s term life policies from as low as RM9.85 per month.

Lee told this portal: “Since starting our operations at the beginning of this year, we have underwritten more than RM70 million of pure protection in terms of sum assured and have helped Malaysians get some form of basic life protection for those who are un-insured.”

Koichi Saito, founder and General Partner of KK Fund, said,  “We have been searching for InsurTech space for a while and finally met a solid management team with the right business model.”

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