2020 had been a record year for India’s startup ecosytem, generating 11 unicorn companies. It appears that the momentum is continuing into 2021.
Non-health insurance company Digit has become India’s latest unicorn after a new funding round. The round values Digit at $1.9 billion, putting it comfortably into unicorn territory. The funding amount of the latest round was undisclosed, though the company had raised $187 million in October 2019.
Digit appears to have been quietly building an insurance product while staying out of the spotlight. It was founded in 2016, and founder Kamesh Goyal is someone who’s been-there, done-that — Goyal has over 30 years of experience in both general insurance and life insurance segment. Before founding Digit, he was the Head of H8 – Asset Management and US Life Insurance and Allianz Insurance. The company is headquartered in Bangalore, and has some big-name investors, including A91 Partners and Canada-based billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Holdings.
Digit runs a platform on which it allows users to buy health insurance, car and bike insurance, fire insurance, burglary insurance, and other products. Digit says its USP is to make insurance products simple. “We’re simplifying insurance products so that even a 15-year-old can comprehend them,” it says on its website, adding that it does so by changing how insurance products are viewed, purchased, and claimed. It seems to be working — until June last year, the company has served 6.9 million customers, underwritten premiums worth Rs. 2,200 crore and processed over 2 lakh claims. More impressively, it’s now profitable — Digit claims it generated profits in all three-quarters of FY21.
As India’s startup ecosystem has grown and matured, there’s more diversity in the kind of unicorns it’s created. Apart from the e-commerce unicorns, which were commonplace until a few years ago, India now has a gaming unicorn in Dream11, ed-tech unicorns in Byju’s and Unacademy, payments unicorns in BillDesk and Pine Labs, food delivery unicorns in Zomato and Swiggy, and insurance unicorns in PolicyBazaar and now Digit. There are heartening signs for Indian entrepreneurs, who’ll realize that there are ever-more opportunities to build and grow ever-bigger — and ever varied — companies from the country.