India is a hotbed for startups, including FinTech. The insurance industry in India, however, has not gained full momentum despite having a huge scope. Speaking in The Economic Times BFSI Innovation Tribe Summit 2020, Yashish Dahiya, Co-founder and CEO of PolicyBazaar explained the key demand demographic:
“The Indian middle-class comprising of about 250 – 300 million people, with an annual earning range of 3-10 lakhs, is in deep need of health and life insurance products, that offer death and disability coverage. There are a bulk of insurance products that belong to the investment category and fail to provide adequate term coverage in case of a mishap, as underlined by the current crisis.”
PolicyBazaar was one of the few first indigenous FinTechs of India founded over a decade ago. Drawing from his experience of steering the growth of PolicyBazaar, Dahiya shared a few key insights for aspiring entrepreneurs to help them create a billion-dollar venture one day.
Believe in your idea and stick to it: PolicyBazaar was co-founded by 18 people who were ready to live without a salary for months because they believed in the idea of the company. Today, 13 of those co-founders are still with company that has done reasonably well over the years.
Any new business needs time and especially so if the idea is new. Entrepreneurs must be ready to face hard times if they have to, in order to stick to the idea with grit, however, they must have a good plan.
Always aim to be contribution positive: After the initial period of struggle, the first priority should be to become contribution positive. If you lose money consistently, finding an investor will be a problem. PolicyBazaar found its key capital from Intel because it had become contribution positive and from then on, the company reached a point from where it could choose its investors.
Choose your first investor very carefully: The relationship between the founders and the investors of a company is always personal. It is essential that the founders choose an investor who believes in their idea and cares for the business and the founders. This support is crucial for businesses to flourish in the initial phase.
Don’t shy away from essential spending: When PolicyBazaar started operating in India, the target population lacked the knowledge about the need of insurance. The company spent substantial amounts in educating the masses because the founders believed that it will finally pay off and it actually did.
Entrepreneurs must carefully handpick the areas of essential spending and go through with it if they believe it will have a lasting impact on the well-being of the business.
Achieving the Billion Dollar dream: Building a billion-dollar company is easy – just aim to achieve a million happy customers and you will achieve your dream! Customer-centricity is a key trait common among the largest global ventures. Focus on your customers’ needs and inculcate the culture of putting the “company before self” in your workforce and your business will thrive.