At a time when most InsurTech ventures focus on high growth areas, here’s one with a difference. The recently launched Bima Mandi is an attempt to digitise and provide access to financial services for those living in rural areas.
Bima Mandi, the brainchild of entrepreneur Prashant Karulkar and seasoned finance veteran Anil Sachidanand, will address the problem of low insurance penetration in rural India. How? The neutral digital platform will distribute existing rural insurance products in the GI and Non-GI space. It will also bundle new pocket insurance products, depending on the size and audience in the chosen rural markets.
“Our InsurTech is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the rural market. It aims to address savings and financial protection needs of the rural populace”, said Karulkar, Director, Bima Mandi.
To put together funds for this unique venture, promoters and founding team members for Bima Mandi have subscribed the initial capital needs. Beyond this, marquee retail investors would subscribe to the pre-series capital, at an undisclosed million dollar valuation. The retail investor list includes high net-worth individuals (HNIs) like industrialists and professionals from lending, insurance, infra, tech startup, health and pharma space, business people and early-stage backers/investors.
“We’re happy that Bima Mandi has piqued the interest of so many retail investors and that has validated our concept. The capital we will raise will help us in operationalising the platform. We’re also inking tie-ups with insurance companies for digital distribution”, he added.
“India’s rural landscape is extremely diversified, with local languages/dialects changing nearly every 50-100 km. Bima Mandi’s proprietary technology would help us connect with this dynamic market in their language, through an interactive and simple user interface (using text, audio and video). The platform would encourage an understanding of savings and protection and offer products which suit each user’s specific needs.”
Anil Sachidanand, the ideator and co-mentor for Bima Mandi, said, “Bima Mandi will leverage ongoing digital village programs, village improvement program and AtmaNirbhar India program. It will work closely with government agencies, to ensure last-mile connectivity with its targeted rural markets.”
Insurance itself, has a low penetration rate of 3.7% in India, with enormous scope for growth. Still, InsurTech platforms have been developing steadily for the last few years, with companies like Acko, Godigit and Policybazaar turning into unicorns with billion-dollar valuations.
The current COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for insurance and financial protection in both urban and rural regions.
Bima Mandi holds lofty ambitions to leverage the current need for financial services. It has set a target to serve a cumulative set of more than 4 million rural customers across 125+ districts and 1000+ villages. Their goals will also include more than 50 million unique visits on its platform.