Hellas Direct bags €7m to capitalise on ‘big blindspot’ in emerging markets


Greece-based Hellas Direct has secured €7m in its Series B led by IFC, to support expansion across emerging markets, Hellas Direct co-founder Alexis Pantazis told FinTech Global.

Capital was also supplied by Portag3 Ventures, a group of family offices and existing investors, which include Third Point, Endeavor Catalyst, Perscitus and former Goldman Sachs economist Lord O’Neill.

Hellas Direct is an auto insurance platform that uses a direct-to-consumer distribution model to offer policies at a cheaper price, and in a more transparent manner. The ‘full-stack’ insurance company allows consumers to purchase policies online or via the phone.

The company utilises its technology and AI to calculate the exact risk of consumers, in order to offer fair premiums. A range of different insurance policies are available with options to pay by the day, but all products are received within five minutes.

Hellas Direct co-founder Alexis Pantazis said, “Greece is a good enough market to get started in and the Greek opportunity, with the market being in distress, was a huge advantage coming in as all the competition was weak. But, ultimately the technology platform that we built and the AI that we use in the background can be used across countries.”

This new equity injection will be used to increase the company’s presence in the Greek insurance market, expands its product offerings and boost the international expansion across emerging markets.

He said, “I don’t think we’ll ever go to the US, I think in reality we’ll be expanding east wards, towards emerging markets, rather than mainland Europe, but we will see how it goes in the next year.”

The company is looking to boost its products that it offers, with it offering policies for travel and property in the future. Hellas is not able to state what countries it will move to yet, but Pantazis sees Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East as the most interesting at the moment.

Pantazis said, “There is a huge gap [in emerging markets], I think there’s big blindspot of the big players when you look at AXA, Allianz, AIG and all these guys, they’re very strong in their core markets, wherever they may be. Then, I think in emerging markets they don’t really have the technology focus or management risk to be deploying additional capital, so they leave it behind. So, I think there is an opportunity for regional players, as being one, to actually come in and capture some of that space.”

When looking to expand, the company will could see itself making partnerships with other local companies, or it might attempt to compete on their own. However, the biggest challenge Pantazis sees with international expansion is not issues with different regulations, but understanding what the consumers need in the market. Pantzis said, that when moving for growth in a new country, you either have to have a local partner or understand what the consumers in the market really need, or its hard to break into the market.

He said, “I think that is why you can’t really get a global domination in claim insurance, hence people like Lemonade expanding geographically and ourselves expanding geographically. I don’t think it’s as easy to say that there is going to be one insurance that is going to conquer the world in the InsurTech space.”

IFC hopes this investment will support the diversification of the Greek financial sector and increase the country’s number of insurance holders.

This round of funding brings the company’s total funding efforts to €23.8m.

Last year, Greece-based Marathon Venture Capital led the $1.6m Seed round into KYC solution provider norbloc. The Swedish company raised the capital to help build the company and hire more staff.

Copyright © 2018 FinTech Global

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