Billionaire Richard Li-Backed Singapore Insurtech Unicorn Raises $196 Million

Hong Kong billionaire-backed insurtech startup Bolttech is based in Singapore Richard Leeannounced Wednesday that it has raised $196 million in a Series B funding round valued at $1.6 billion.

Japanese insurer Tokio Marine led the round, which included participation from the Rome arm of New York-based insurance giant MetLife and Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional. The fresh capital brings Bolttech’s total funding to over $406 million.

Other Bolttech backers include Li’s investment firm Pacific Century Group, Singapore government investment vehicle EDBI, Spanish VC fund Mundi Ventures and San Francisco-based VC firm Activant Capital. Li is chairman of Bolttech, and his Pacific Century Group also controls life insurance company FWD, where Bolttech Group CEO Rob Schimek was managing director and group chief commercial officer.

Bolttech operates as a digital insurance exchange, connecting businesses with insurers and other distributors. Businesses can purchase insurance for their customers for everything from health to devices. Its clients include Korean tech giant Samsung, which uses Bolttech to offer point-of-sale device protection insurance. The startup claims its online platform supports over 6,000 insurance products from 230 insurers and 700 distribution partners, with annual premiums worth $55 billion.

The collected funds will be aimed at encouraging investment in proprietary technology, digital opportunities for business partners and end consumers, and increasing the number of employees. It also plans to invest in acquisitions for its international expansion. To date, Bolttech covers over 30 markets worldwide.

Technology adoption in South and Southeast Asia’s insurance industry accelerated after the pandemic, according to a March report by S&P Global Ratings, as factors such as improved risk awareness and financial literacy boosted demand for insurance. However, this adoption remains a “slow burn,” as traditional distribution models that emphasize face-to-face interaction will remain key for at least the next decade, the report added.

Insurtech startups have gained increasing visibility. Last year, two rising insurtech startups were featured on Forbes Asia 100 on the watch list: Shanghai-based G-hcare, which works with Chinese insurers including China Life, China Taiping and Ping An, and Hong Kong-based OneDegree, which raised $28 million in a funding round in August 2021.


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