Insurtech Waterdrop has reportedly raised $230 million in a new funding round co-led by Swiss Re, marking the reinsurer’s first investment in a Chinese insurance startup.
Technology conglomerate Tencent Holdings joined Swiss Re in leading the funding round, in which the latter is said to have invested $100 million, Reuters reported Thursday. The insurtech was apparently valued at close to $2 billion.
Waterdrop is planning an initial public offering in the United States, according to Reuters, having hired Bank of America and Goldman Sachs for a float that could happen as soon as this year. Reuters’ unidentified sources noted, though, that IPO preparations are still in their early stages.
Ning Zhou, Swiss Re’s head of principal investment and acquisition for Asia, said Waterdrop is well positioned to address traditional insurers’ pain points and drive new industry breakthroughs — for example, faster technological innovation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Reinsurance News reported.
Waterdrop’s previous investors, including IDG Capital and Wisdom Choice Global Fund, also participated in the funding round, according to press reports.
The startup plans to use the funding to expand its online insurance platform, capitalize on big data and artificial intelligence in its products, the reports said, and partner with other health care entities.
Founder and CEO Shen Peng said Waterdrop’s long-term goal is to become a leading online health care platform in China, one that integrates with health care services from pharmaceutical companies and hospitals to nursing and rehabilitation institutions, TechCrunch reported.
Beijing-based Waterdrop, known as Shuidihuzhu in China, was founded in 2016 and is an online distributor of insurance policies, via Waterdrop Insurance Mall, and operator of mutual funds. It also collects small amounts of money from members who can then tap into the pool when they become ill through the Waterdrop Crowdfunding platform.
The Insurance Mall has 120 million policyholders and reported total written premiums of $865 million in the first six months of 2020, an amount that’s expected to double this year, according to press reports.