EP 128 – Dhirendra Mahyavanshi – co-Founder Turtlemint – We Are Flag Bearers of Digitization

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Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Dhirendra is a seasoned professional with over 16 years of experience in the Insurance, e-commerce, and Fintech sector. He is an alumnus of IIM- Calcutta and has a Bachelors’ degree in Engineering from DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering. At Turtlemint, his efforts are focussed to redefine the whole experience of buying insurance. Turtlemint using innovative proprietary technology is helping to decode insurance and empower insurance advisors with digital tools to advise the right products at all points of time. Dhirendra has been the one who pioneered this online-offline model of Turtlemint, which has more than 100,000 advisors servicing more than 1.5 million customers spread across 5000+ metros, cities, and towns.

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The Asia InsurTech Podcast spoke with Dhirendra Mahyavanshi, a co-founder of Turtlemint, about how to increase insurance penetration in India and bring insurance to tier two and tier three cities. Turtlemint is one of the early InsurTechs in India and has shown despite the ongoing pandemic solid growth. 

Find the transcript of our conversation below: 

Michael Waitze  

Hi, this is Michael Waitze, and welcome back to the Asia InsurTech Podcast. This is the only podcast in Asia that’s focused on insurance that gives entrepreneurs, we’ve got a pretty great one today, thought leaders and investors, a platform to discuss how technology is reshaping the insurance industry in India, and greater Asia. Today, I’m joined by Dhirendra Mahyavanshi, a co-founder of Turtlemint. I love the name of this company, by the way. I really do. Dhirendra, it’s great to have you on the show. How are you doing today?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

I’m doing really well. Very happy to join the show. Michael, very happy to be on talking to you about InsurTech. 

Michael Waitze  

Awesome, and you sound great. I don’t know what kind of setup you have. But your sound is really awesome. So thanks for that, too. Before we get into the main part of the conversation, what do you think is the biggest trend in InsurTech in India and I would say by extension, the rest of the world.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

So in India, India is different in its journey in inshore tech is what I feel. In India, insurance, I would call it a new product, although it’s been there for some time. But a large part of the population has been introduced to insurance very, very recently, because maybe COVID has accelerated that a little bit. Enhance if you look at the different parts of the value chain, which is insurance, underwriting product creation, and claim settlement. All the most of the investments that are happening in the insurtech space in India is in distribution. And like all the startups that I interact with, including us, are solving for increasing penetration, getting new customers, who were probably in the rural markets, with less access to insurance kind of products, they become part of the insurance world and they get insured. So, from India point of view, distribution is very investment is very high on the insurance distribution side. But when I expand it to the global insurtech ecosystem, what I also see is that there is a lot of innovation happening in the claims space, for example, there are companies that are building solutions to be able to sort settle claims immediately, Claim, which is a moment of truth. And and there are several such companies that are solved for image processing, or satellite imagery for for roof claims and housing claims and motor claims are being settled by an instant image processing that gets done. So I see patterns of investments in other parts of the world where now where some of the insutech’s have looked at different parts of the value chain to solve for solve for InsurTech. India, it’s mostly, I would say distribution. All in the last eight to nine months, I have seen some new companies come and start talking about claims and starting building technology for a consumer at the time of claim, including us, we’ve also started doing some of it. And I think the journey has just begun for for claims now.

Michael Waitze  

Yeah, I mean, to be fair, across the entire value chain in the insurance and insurtech industry, you’re seeing people just like steak out little pieces of it and then start to put them all together, right? It’s been really fascinating to watch this progression, at least for me over the past two years, two and a bit years since we started this show. But you’re right, people are choosing spots on the value chain, and trying to trying to dominate them and then moving around those spaces to try to pick up more pieces. I want to know a little bit more about you as well. Can you give our listeners a bit of your background for some context?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, I, I come from the insurance industry, it’s been almost 19 years for me now. Started my career with the with a company called ICIC Lombard joined them around the time they started the business when when privatization happened in the country. Spent about close to nine years there. After that, I entered the startup ecosystem. spent about four years with a technology startup in the classified space. And then six years back, I started turtlemint along with my co founder.

Michael Waitze  

Have you seen a change in the perception of the insurance industry in the last I mean, I’ll call it around up to 20 years, right? You’ve been doing this for a while. Do you know what I mean? Is there a different perception of like how insurance now suddenly just seems to be so super cool and almost kind of sexy in just the amount of money that’s getting invested in right. Have you seen that change over time?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, it like I have lived that journey in India. When I joined, in fact, when I was doing my MBA my group discussion topic was privatization in the insurance industry. And that was such a coincidence that I entered the insurance industry after that. So, about eight, when I started 2003, 2004, it was all about, about solving for corporates, and large SMEs and some retail penetration has started happening at that time. But over the years, the industry has evolved and actually started creating significant impact in terms of driving penetration in India. One, one big change that I see is that this industry is able to attract talent now. Earlier, earlier, it would be very hard to get top notch students from the best colleges to come and join the insurance industry. Now we’ve got the best engineering talent that is wanting to work in the insuretech space. In fact, in the last five years, InsurTech is a new term, right? It just got coined, I think 2016 or something. So, and we started in 2015. So when we were hiring, we had to really explain what we were trying to do. Yeah, we used to call it we are we are a technology company trying to do insurance kind of kind of improving state. But now, now it’s now it’s fairly easy. People understand insurtech, there is interest. And some of the best talent is wanting to work in this space. That’s the biggest change that is that I’ve seen.

Michael Waitze  

Yeah. I mean, if you look at the IITs and the IIMs in India, you’ve got tons of people coming out trying to innovate in the insurance space. And to be fair, if you look at the people that we have on the show, there’s a big skew actually, whether it’s in Singapore, or in India, itself, that there are a lot of entrepreneurs coming out of those universities to solve this problem of technology and insurance. So for me, it’s been fascinating.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, in fact, I am from IIM Calcutta, my co-founder is from IIT Bombay. So we are two examples of that. And we are also campus recruiters. Now, we are recruiting at IIMs recruiting IITs. Yeah, getting people to join us.

Michael Waitze  

It’s gonna be cool to go to the universities now and not have to like, explain yourself. I mean, I know this from just like five or 10 years ago, if you went to the universities and talked about insurance, they probably go over to the consulting people or the investment banking people, and now they’re coming directly to the insurance and insurtech people. It’s kind of cool.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, yeah, pretty cool. And I was a bit anxious when we started going to the campuses in 2017. But since then, we’ve hired I think, more than 40 people and all our extra for one all continue to be in the company. 

Michael Waitze  

I want to talk about company culture later, because I think it’s really important. So keep that in the back of your mind, or want to ask you about it. But I want to develop some other things. First, I want to talk a little bit about digital transformation. And as it becomes sort of more prevalent as insurance companies really start to accelerate digitizing their businesses. There’s a theory and I’m curious what you think about this, that salespeople can be replaced with technology. Like you talked about this on the distribution side to see a lot of insurtech companies trying to solve this problem of penetration by building digital distribution and using alternative forms of distribution. But I think humans fundamentally prefer to build relationships and interact with other humans more than they do machines. So to me, it’s more like a hybrid. What do you think of this? Like, how important is this hybrid online / offline model to you and totalement? 

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

I am 100%. with you on that, Michael. We firmly believe that insurance is a business of relationship, it’s a business of trust. The product is complex. Consumers may understand parts of it, but can’t make a decision for themselves without expert advice. And, and that’s why also the need for buying insurance is not is not something that is inherent in a person, it has to be told to him and then he makes a then he comes to know that he needs to be insured, especially in markets like India. The intermediary including agents, bank employees, and other direct employees of the insurance companies play a critical role in spreading awareness, making consumers know what kind of product they should buy, and then play a role in actual distribution. So our entire business, our entire model is built on that. We started with that pretty much in 2015. We’ve stuck to that last six years. what we believe is that the the person who is there in the market, who interacts with his community members, he understands their needs the best and he should be equipped with tools, technology, digital process, content so that he is able to he is able to serve his customers better and the customers get right product, they get their claims at the time of at the time of need. And also there is a, like an employment that gets generated when and people start making money by distributing insurance. And that’s our that’s our belief. And that’s what the, that’s our overall business model. And that’s what we do.

Michael Waitze  

There’s a lot to unpack there. I mean, I think the three things you talked about were tools, technology and content. I want to talk about, I think I want to talk about content a little bit, if you don’t mind. How does turtlemint view customer engagement? Right, so something that someone once said to me was that banks, you know, people interact with their banks every day. So it’s not necessary for a bank to create engagement scenarios for you, you check your balance, you pay your bills, you get your credit card stuff, right. But insurance could really just be 2, 3, 4 times a year if that. So how do you view customer engagement from an insurance industry perspective? And how do you entice your clients or convince them to stay engaged? How does that work?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

So we have a content strategy that is focused on creating awareness around insurance. And we disseminate this content, which is which we call micro bite sized content, which is both video and sort of text and material based. We disseminate through our network of advisers. So we have about 500,000 advisors, financial advisors, who use our platform. More than a million downloads, but 500,000 actively distributing content among within their community and getting customers to know about insurance. So in fact, the monthly active user count for us for the last month is 660,000. So it’s gone up significantly over the last six months. And that creates sort of a sort of an engagement, which is not necessarily only at the time of renewal, or at the time of claim, there are some well being kind of engagements, awareness about correcting the kind of some issues that they have also disseminating information about the what sorts of hazards that may exist, like during floods, we, we, we had sort of disseminated some content for cities that were prone to that. And we sort of continuously in the mind of the consumer, but through our advisors, and advisor is our primary point of contact that disseminate is information to them.

Michael Waitze  

But what does it mean? Like? What’s the mechanism that they use to disseminate it? In other words, if they’re not meeting with a client, even if when I say meeting, it could be virtually right over a zoom call or some other mechanism? Or they’re just pumping content out to them? And do you have a deliberate process for that content creation that’s meant to increase financial literacy or insurance literacy for them as well?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, so. So we have a platform called Mint-Pro, it’s an app and an online platform. So Mint-Pro stands for turtlemint for professionals, that is Mint-Pro. And that platform is used by advisors. This the content that is available on that platform can be shared on WhatsApp, and other social media pages. So it’s a it’s a simple process of like, for example, today, we release, I think six or seven posters, and this posters are, are some around some specific messages of insurance. And now what is happening is the advisors are selecting this posters, what that they think is relevant for them. And these are mainly in regional, local languages. So not just English and Hindi in the local language, and then they are able to send it to their customers and the customers are then consuming that content. What they also do often is that the if they feel that they want to buy a product, or they want to buy insurance, they respond to that. And that’s how transaction also happens.

Michael Waitze  

So can I understand this, that means that if I’m an advisor on the turtlemint pro platform, right, and I have, let’s say 20 customers, which is, I don’t know if that’s a lot or a little you can tell me, but it means that I can select content specifically for my region in my local language, not necessarily to get them to buy something specific, but just to stay engaged with them and say, Hey, you know, turtlemint just put this out, there may be a flood coming, if you don’t have flood insurance, you may consider this if you live in this kind of house or in this kind of neighborhood. And then you can create like a whatsapp group, which everyone’s used to doing in their normal life, and then put the content in there almost like it’s social chatting. And that engagement is good or bad. Like how does that work?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, exactly, exactly the way you described it. The go through content. And usually this distribution is within the community. So they may have a friends network or relationships network or within their local community they have they don’t they have these WhatsApp groups where most of the engagement happens. So they share this on those WhatsApp groups, or their Facebook groups.

Michael Waitze  

So is there a way so this, this reminds me of when I was at Goldman Sachs, right. So if we were in the equity department, or in the portfolio trading department or in different departments, we would all have sort of department level email groups, then we’d have larger groups. And then that would be like an email to all kind of thing, if there was something specific about the Japanese office that everybody needed to know. Can you do that at the turtlemint? level? In other words, you know, create a whatsapp group for everybody, and then break it up into little groups so that they just get the specific stuff that they need. Do you know what I mean?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

No, we are not able to do that right now. Because of the restrictions on the WhatsApp side. So what we do, our primary distribution is through the advisor. So advisor, reaches out to the his whatsapp group, or his facebook group. And that’s where he posts across the market

Michael Waitze  

And do you train the advisors to do that.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

It’s all digital. So yeah, we do do it, we do a lot of trainings. But this is very intuitive. Because if you just go on the app, you just see that I mean, that’s a button share and share with your friends and to get more leads. And with the end, the adviser has just photograph his profile also mentioned, they’re very cute kind of thing with his phone number there. So he is very, he likes it and then he starts sort of publishing. In fact, if there is a, there is demand for certain kinds of content. So if the content drops a little bit from our site in terms of delivery, we get all these messages saying that, Hey, what happened? You know, we didn’t see anything today.

Michael Waitze  

So that’s what I was gonna ask you like, what is the response? But you’ve just answered that question. So people are actually hungry for this information, which is kind of cool. Did you? I’m just curious if you do any surveys on this, like, did you know when before you started this content strategy, that there was going to be that type of demand for it? There’s always that like, when you tested it, and then you stopped for a day, let’s say, and then the customers like, Hey, where’s the info from today? Did that surprise you? Or is that what you expected?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

It was a surprise, actually, it was accidental for us. So in truth, it started actually back in 2019, when the the motor act was changed, okay. And fines were increased in the country in September 2019. And in India, two wheeler insurance is a mandatory insurance, but 80% of the two wheelers are not insured. And that time, we created this campaign, which was sent to all our advisors on WhatsApp, asking them to share the information with their customers and with their people. So that they know that fines have been increased. And, you know, it’s like a boom that time and then we started doing this, like a million policies we did in 45 days through that. So that was a realization. And then we started building it. And it was only about six or seven months back when we launched it. And we started, started seeing the attraction pick up.

Michael Waitze  

I love these stories. I really do. In other words, you just kind of found out that this channel was there and was useful. And then I guess once you figure it out, then you can sort of turbocharger by having this constant content strategy. I love it. It’s such a great idea. How do you feel like as a company overall, about this idea of financial inclusion? And I asked because we talked at the beginning about, you know, penetration, and if penetration is low, I mean, part of the problem, there’s a GDP per capita problem for sure. But there’s also an understanding or product understanding part of it as well, just if the more people that are included in it, the better off everybody is, I think. How important is that to you? People as a team, do you know what I mean to turtlemint as a team?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

I said, that’s what that’s what we do. We have about 80% of our business that happens in cities beyond the top 10 and 65% of our business comes from cities beyond top 30. So, often, most of the customers are first time to insurance. So KYC is not existing, they don’t have the right kind of documentation, no policy taken before and first time they are buying an insurance through this distribution. And why this has happened. Right. So one of the key change that has happened is that which is it has happened in the period of time in the last five to six years. One is that smartphones have become cheaper. So people have access to people are able to afford smartphones five years back when I was at, in my previous avatar in a different company. This was a big challenge because the keypads, and people were not used to English as a language. And it would be very hard for anybody to really understand how to use it. And that’s why in the smaller markets and the rural markets, the usage was very low. Second is data is become cheap. With Jio penetration, it’s now very easy to have access to internet, hardly hardly any sort of small amount of chart there to pay for it. And the third one is that the small rural markets, what I’ve seen is that aspiration to grow, has gone up, in the sense that there is they, what I find is that I would call them are distributors, micro entrepreneurs, to financial advisors, they are very quick to adopt technology. They are high energy, and they want to grow and rise up in life. So they disseminate much more aggressively. And that’s why they are able to bring in these communities which were earlier not insured, as a as a part of the platform, and they are able to insure them. Right. And yeah, and enhance like large part of our business is happening in smaller cities. 

Michael Waitze  

Do you hear from these second and third tier cities or, or regions, just conversations around that aspirational feeling that you were just talking about in the sense that, you know, in the previous generation, the because technology was not prevalent, not even just prevalent, but just wasn’t there, and that they didn’t have access to the internet, that like, they now feel this great feeling that they get when they say, wait a second, if I have just this phone, I now have multiple opportunities for a different type of career path, rather than just what existed for my parents and my grandparents. Do people actually say that explicitly to you as a team? Because that’s incredible, right? It’s super empowering.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

And it’s not I mean, it’s not just for insurance. What I know is that even a, say, a plumber, who has access to a phone, his average income is slightly higher, compared to a regular, who doesn’t use a smartphones. So access to video content access to an ability to train themselves, they get to figure out how to get more customers. So you know, the technology has played a key role in helping them earn more money. In fact, before I got into started this company, I was in a classifieds company called quicker where, with small and medium businesses, were users of the platform. And this is back in 2011-12, when I would sort of go and meet, meet them, and they would be brokers, dealers, different kinds of sort of SMBs. And any and you would see that, you know, the the hunger to get access to something like this, where they get some technology in to figure out how do you generate more leads, how do you do more business on your using our say, or maybe a platform or an online solution that could be made available to them, but was very, the hunger was, you know, high, and then probably solutions caught up a little later. But the what the demand or the need has been existing for quite some time is what I would say.

Michael Waitze  

I just think it’s awesome in the way technology gives people the ability to, to just pull themselves up and be more aspirational, you know, second tier cities, third tier cities, whatever you want to call them. It’s just great now that like you said, it’s not just an insurance, but we’re talking about insurance. So we can use that as a proxy for everything else. But this idea that this technology then frees people from other types of employment into better types of employment is a great thing. And it gets back to what I said before, you know, people talk a lot about the technology is going to take away jobs from humans, and part of my feeling on this is that it’s just going to superpower people that are energetic, because it’s going to give them access to more information. Is that is that fair?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, that’s fair. I could take one more minute to maybe extend his answer, please. I was just before COVID, I was in a very small town, actually 100 kilometers away from a small town. So it was really far in the interiors. And it was a two wheeler dealership out there. And I was speaking to the dealer there. And we met, we had tea, and then I was about to leave, and I was sort of, you know, thanking him for using the app and and it was my sort of catching up with the market kind of thing. And then while going out I asked him, you know, hey, by the way, who uses the app and who punches all the policy because I thought I mean, there were one or two people I know I wanted to know who did it right. So you know his, his cleaning boy was using the app, and he was punching the policies. And he said that whatever income, you know, I get I share sort of 50% with him on that. And that is additional remuneration that he’s getting. If that was one example of how he later actually, you know, and I was like that one example of how, how this dissemination of technology has helped the masses.

Michael Waitze  

Sorry, that’s just an incredible story. I love this because, you know, so often in the tech press, all we read about is, you know, raising money and valuations. And those are all great, right? You’ve raised some money recently. That’s great. It helps you grow. It’s super. But the real impact here is that! Is that the cleaning boy is now earning money from insurance, because he’s helping the two-wheel dealer input stuff into his smartphone, because he can’t do it himself. But he knows that it’s an opportunity. Like he got to go to bed at night thinking that’s incredible. I mean, that’s better than earning like a ton of money or getting a super high valuation knowing that in every, and I like the way you explain this, in every excerpt that’s 100 kilometers away from a city that’s 100 kilometers away from the city. There are tons of people just like this, that are using that app that are getting into a better life. And sorry, I just find that amazing.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, amazing. And I think there’s, there’s more to do in that area, for sure. And we have, we will see a lot more. Yeah.

Michael Waitze  

Yeah. And again, that’s one of the great things about building a company in India, you know, in a, in a country in India, excuse me, because with 1.2, or 1.3 billion population, just the opportunity is so large. And the growth prospects are so huge. It’s like, not just the two three year thing, it’s a 20 year thing, or maybe a 25 year thing, and that’s just awesome to watch happen. From here at least.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, yeah. many problems to solve lots of things to sort of to connect. And answer from an entrepreneurs point of view, very satisfying.

Michael Waitze  

How many people are inside turtlemint?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

We have 1500 employees.

Michael Waitze  

Yeah. Not small? How do you I was gonna ask you how you build, but it’s more important at some level to maintain a company culture, particularly as you get bigger, right? In other words, the difference between 15 employees and 1500 employees is visceral, it’s viscerally, different, demonstrably different, right? How do you build a company culture that sustains itself over the growth period, where people really care about your customers, financial security and their well being?

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

It’s been a learning curve and a journey for us. Initially, when the team is small, you know, everyone, we are friends. And the sense of sort of alignment and collaboration is at a is that a is a peak in the sense that we all work together and the culture is basically how the founders engaged with the team. And that’s how the initial culture gets created. And that’s how the first few years are. But we started facing this problem. And it was accelerated during COVID. When we now we’re, well, like, last year, same time, we were about 1000 employees. And so we had this now huge team, all operating from home. And we had to sort of achieve goals, milestones, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but at the same time, ensure that people are continuing to demonstrate the kind of behavior pattern we would want them to, and how do we do that? So, I think, what we have done is I don’t know whether that we have been successful or fully right at it. But we, we over engage on certain points with the team. And I remember initially, when COVID set up, all I would do is I mean, literally go and speak to every group, and spent about seven to eight hours, engaging and communicating with the teams. And as we, as we sort of, you know, started realizing that okay, this is the norm and work from home is going to be the way to operate. We started creating mechanisms to one, create collaboration internally within the company, to also drive internal innovation. And we’re bringing alignment across all functions, so that people are not operating in silos. And that’s one danger of work from home kind of an environment because we know there are silos that get created. So we operate on OKRs for target alignment, and we’ve seen in the last year so we’ve been doing OKRs for the last four quarters now, and fairly successfully implemented within the company brings in this discipline and diligence in terms of execution, weekly check in processes, etc. The second is that, you know, we are also combination of different kinds of people. So we have engineering people, where the culture is quite different. And we have sales, which is army like, and, you know, it’s all about achieving that the daily run rate, and then the cadence in terms of reviews and all of that. So we are cognizant of that, and we treat that differently. So engineering team is probably having maybe a different set of value system, I would say, in terms of delivery of certain projects, etc. Whereas the sales team and the operations team would operate on sort of different parameters, and their cadence and their processes will be slightly different. And then we try to combine it overall, through through one common sort of platform, okay, or is one such an active, proactive engagement with the teams is also another one.

Michael Waitze  

I’m amazed that in the last year, you’ve hired 500 people. So your teams have increased by 50%, in the midst of a pandemic, that has been just brutal, globally. I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody, except like this, like months now. I live next to where my office is. So I come into my studio every day, but I don’t interact with anybody except over a camera. And the ability to hire 500 people during that time period is amazing. How business like actual business writing policies and doing that stuff, how is that affected by COVID? 

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

So we had a roller coaster, when COVID setting first 30 days were really bad. Business dipped, we tried hard to sort of do whatever we could. But there was this paranoia. It was sort of scary people were not. People are not sure what to do. And our advisors were not really fully digital in that sense. They were not comfortable doing a zoom call. And they would still want to go and meet up with the customer. And we had to really carry out training programs, telling them you could do a video call and speak to your customer, you don’t need to shut shop. And India, the problem in the first way was not first was a lockdown, not really COVID it was locked down was a problem from a business point of view. And during that phase, we had to really train and retrain and spread his message that you can have a digital engagement, you can create an online digital proposal and the customer will still buy from you. Because insurance is an important product now. And after that the business started coming back, when we did go through a phase of drop in business, and then the business came back. And today, the numbers are in almost two x of where we were pre COVID. So in that sense, because we are flagbearers of digitization, I would say in the insurance industry in India, we got support from insurance companies to accelerate some of the projects, on the distribution side, all the agents up their learning curve, and they started behaving differently. And there was this combination that led to some of the growth. What we also did was we created technology that could also be consumed by large companies or small companies alike, who probably did not have access to this kind of a platform. So we’ve created API’s that banks, fintechs, or any other startup with a captive consumer base can use. And that now is available on a sort of open structure basis per API call is what they have to do. And and then they’ll start consuming services to distribute insurance, and that we’ve seen almost nine or 10 banks sign up for it. And they are beginning to use our technology to distribute insurance.

Michael Waitze  

Yeah, I mean, that’s where things start getting really cool, right? At some level. You know, this part of me, I do plenty of other podcasts, right. And I’ve talked to a lot of people in the insurance in the insurtech industry. And I always ask them, What is the insurance angle for your business, even if they’re not an insurer tech, right. In other words, if they can call an API, and along with whatever sales they’re having, if they can create a contextual environment for people to purchase insurance, we can spend another hour talking about parametric, which is a different topic. But if they can do that, then insurance penetration should continue to grow exponentially faster, even with the GDP per capita conversation that we were having before. Right. So that makes sense, because you can use those API’s then to embed the insurance in products where people didn’t even know they could exist. And then when they do, then magic happens.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

True, true. So we have very recently launched an embedded API solution and any startup who has a captive consumer base or a process or has a consumer buying or doing an e-commerce Anybody on their platform, in seven days, they can set it up on their platform, just with limited developer activity. And it can be made available for distribution. So it’s very, very easy. In fact, we are sort of very excited about it. Looking at disseminating this as much as possible, so that so that we have all fintechs and all other startups start consuming these API’s from us. 

Michael Waitze  

I mean, there’s no reason why every company cannot have some sort of insurance aspect to it, and to be able to distribute it easily. And what I call like, frictionlessly. And seamlessly.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Yeah, what I’ve seen in whenever I would go to like a startup event, and there would be sort of plenty of startup founders around. And the moment they would get to know that I’m in insurance, and they would come here, you know, I would have figured out how to how to sort of do that how to distribute insurance. And my because that, for many, insurance also becomes like a monetization kind of opportunity for them. And many, many approached me for that. So now I have an answer for that I say that I have API, you can just go and distribute through that.

Michael Waitze  

right. I mean, you have companies like, I’m trying to remember the name of the company that builds a visual builder for Shopify just raised a bunch of money, right? So they’re building shops for individual people, one of my closest friends actually runs a company that builds that makes it easy for people in the e-commerce space to build. And he’s looking for an insurance solution for them as well, to sort of replicate what Apple Care does. So every time you buy a product, you can buy a little bit more insurance so that if something goes wrong with the product, you’re covered. I think that’s going to be a gigantic business as well. So anybody that has that platform should have some kind of embedded insurance there. If there’s an API to do that, that’s awesome.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

And there was nothing existing actually, even six months before. In in the Indian insurance ecosystem, nothing existed even today. There is no common API other than us that exists. So it’s an exciting development.

Michael Waitze  

The whole thing’s really exciting. Look, I think this is a great way to end I have got a ton more questions, but I want to let you go and hopefully in a few months, we can get you back on the show to just follow up and see where things have gone. And for most of us, I really just hope this COVID thing is over. We said that back in April of last year, we really hit we had a couple of shows about it like hey, what happens when this is done next month, but that didn’t happen. So hopefully it happens sooner rather than later. But I really want to thank you, Dhirendra Mahyavanshi, a co-founder of turtlemint for coming on the show today. It was really awesome.

Dhirendra Mahyavanshi  

Thank you Michael for inviting me. pleasure talking to you.

Episode 183
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