PH insurtech startup Saphron raises $1m in seed funding

Photo: Reuters

Philippines-based insurance technology (insurtech) startup Saphron has announced raising S$1.35 million ($1 million) in seed funding from fintech-focused venture capital firm Sage and venture lab Talino Labs.

In a statement, Saphron said Southeast Asia faces major financial gaps, with insurance penetration at just 3.4 per cent of GDP, versus the global average of 6.3 per cent.

“There is a serious need to make insurance radically accessible around the region by helping address the risks that set back millions of vulnerable families and drive them further into debt,” Saphron founder and chief technology officer Francisco Reyes Jr said.

With the seed funding, Reyes said Saphron’s platform will be optimised with artificial intelligence and real-time data analytics for underwriting and customer service.

It will also have a multi-platform payment gateway that can accept payments from mobile payment platforms, which is now being practised in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Per a report released by global reinsurance firm Swiss Re, families in the ASEAN bear 35-75 per cent of their total medical expenses, with the exception of Brunei (6 per cent) and Thailand (12 per cent), versus families in Japan, the United Kingdom, or the United States, which bear only 11-15 per cent of their total medical expenses.

Commenting on the investment, Sage and Talino Labs said in a joint statement that their investment in Saphron further underlines their commitment to addressing the “large protection and financial gap”.

“There is a lot of growth potential in Southeast Asia, but for industries to leapfrog and become even more relevant to today’s consumers, it’s important to combine the latest technology with in-depth industry expertise,” said Talino Labs Venture director Micaela Beltran.

Saphron’s first client is the Pioneer Group, a commercial insurance provider in the Philippines. The firm caters to class A to D Filipinos and provides coverage for migrant workers and the low-income sector in the country.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.