Thai insurtech startup Sunday closes $10m Series A led by Vertex Ventures

Bangkok-based insurance technology (insurtech) startup Sunday has secured $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures SEA and India, according to a company statement.

An insurance group, whose identity remains undisclosed, owns a stake in Sunday. The strategic partner has also extended its general insurance licence to the startup.

With 120 employees, Sunday is a fully-integrated sales and services insurtech startup that uses artificial intelligence and digital platforms to offer personalised insurance products and services that covers all types of individual and business risks.

In an email interaction, Cindy Kua, co-founder and CEO, Sunday, said the startup plans to use the funding to continue building its team, especially the technology and data functions, and also to continue spending on R&D.

The firm will also deploy part of the proceeds on marketing and expansion of its operations to other countries in Southeast Asia. Edited excerpts:-

How did you come about with the idea of Sunday? Where did you see the opportunity?

Insurance is about risks which continuously evolve together with the global risk landscape. For instance, in the future, we’ll have driverless cars on the street. No insurance companies these days can handle that, and what we want to do is to be risk experts who are adaptable to change.

After more than five years of experience in the insurance industry in Southeast Asia, I’ve seen many pain points around their experience when it comes to insurance, resulting in massive trust issues. For instance, insurance is almost always pushed to customers and customers do not understand what they’re buying and the claims process is a hassle.

Those are the reasons why we came up with the idea of Sunday. We want to create a platform where people are able to find any insurance for themselves and their businesses anytime and anywhere. There is more than one way to reach customers now and in the future which is why we have built capabilities to also integrate our solutions into various businesses and ecosystems.

What is your take on the opportunity for insurtech players in Thailand?

Many insurtech players focus on a specific part of the value chain. Not many globally want to own the entire value chain and essentially operate like an insurance company. In Thailand, other insurtechs mainly act as online brokers, they don’t design pricing and products. They just sell existing insurance products for incumbent insurance companies, and mostly also sell one type of insurance only. Others act as aggregators such as product comparison or price comparison sites, while some use technology to help automate and streamline the claim process.

At Sunday, we cover everything from product design and development using AI and machine learning algorithms to building distribution channels and after-sales services. We offer personalised products and services to our customers and the only way to do this is to own the entire value chain.

Why did you choose Thailand as your base?

The internet consumption of Thai people is one of the highest in Asia. The Thai government also has a roadmap to support the digital economy, making it suitable for any digital startup to run businesses.

Thailand is also full of talent and we managed to scale our data and tech team pretty fast here.

Our business model, and data and technology platforms are designed for the Southeast Asian market. However, we felt piloting and testing our business model in Thailand makes sense since this market is one of the most fragmented when it comes to insurance. If our business model works in Thailand, we are confident it will work in other Asian markets.

After securing the funding, you said you will expand to Malaysia and Indonesia. Why these markets in particular? Do you also plan to expand to Singapore?

Factors we consider when expanding to other markets are market size, partnership opportunities and licence. We want to be present in entire Southeast Asia starting with major markets which include Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

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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.