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Greek-Cypriot digital insurance agent Hellas Direct raises €32M and plans an expansion

Image credit: Unsplash

The digital insurance company Hellas Direct, raised €32M in a new financial round with the European Bank For Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as a key investor. This brings the total amount the company has raised to €56M. The EBRD will provide a mandatory convertible debt of €10M to Hellas Direct. Other investors in the round include Canadian tech VC Portag3 Ventures, the International Finance Corporation, a sister organization of the World Bank, and the Endeavor Catalyst Fund. Individuals such as the former Goldman Sachs economist Lord O’Neill have also backed the company.

Hellas Direct specializes in providing car, motorcycle, and home insurance. Headquartered in Cyprus, the company has been operating on both the local market and in Greece since 2012. The new investment will provide the company with the required solvency to fund the insurance premia it anticipates covering. Hellas Direct is planning to expand operations in 5 new markets, starting with Romania. As part of its development strategy, the company is planning to launch its own credit product.

Hellas Direct was listed as one of the 10 Greek companies that received the largest funding in the 2020 Greek Tech Report, published by Endeavor Greece. 

Digitizing the insurance chain in Greece and Cyprus

Hellas Direct was founded by Alexis Pantazis and Emilio Markou, both with extensive experience in the financial services industry. Their company develops its full-stack services by utilizing advanced analytics to identify the needs of its clients. Its ambition is to offer Amazon-like operational excellence in the regional mobility sector. Customers can choose among different insurance plans and make cover combinations for their car, motorcycle, or home through the platform of the company. The duration of the insurance plans ranges between 30 and 365 days. Vehicle insurance can cover a range of needs – from third-party liability to medical advice in the case of an accident. Thanks to a regulation from 2013, when it comes to property, in Greece owners can switch from the insurance plan contracted with their bank to the services of alternative providers, such as Hellas Direct. 

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The non-life insurance company partners with Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, as measured by net premiums written, and Munich Reinsurance. The two companies provide 50% of the compensation of Hellas Direct’s clients. 

Another Greek investment for EBRD

The deal is one of the 78 Greek projects the European Bank for Reconstruction and development has invested over €4.6B into. Around 90% of the projects funded are from the private sector. Digital payments startup Viva Wallet, whose €75M round was the largest in 2020, received €25M in capital from the EBRD. In 2020, the Bank made a €2.3M follow-on investment in AI-powered expense management company Plum. The EBRD has also supported Marathon VC’s Mutual Fund II in reaching its target size through providing €10M. 

Andreea Moraru, EBRD Head of Greece and Cyprus, said in the press release that EBRD is proud to support the growth of an insurance market player with a digital business model that is well-positioned in the post-Covid-19 world in scaling up its operations. 

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Viktoria is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive and a sophomore-standing student at the American University in Bulgaria. Combining her Business Administration studies while mapping the Southeastern European startup ecosystem is a positive-sum game for her as she has the chance to interact with the most active entrepreneurs in the region. Her favorite topics include venture capital structures, investments, as well as innovations in the scitech and fintech sectors.