Insurtech Startup Kenko Health Nears Closure: What Led to the Crisis?

By Sunil Sonkar
2 Min Read
Insurtech Startup Kenko Health Nears Closure: What Led to the Crisis?

Mumbai-based insurtech startup Kenko Health is on the brink of closure and the reason is a deadlock over securing a key investment. It was founded in 2019 by Aniruddha Sen and Dhiraj Goel. Both had over two decades of experience in the insurance sector and aimed to revolutionize health insurance through it.

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The founders envisioned to make health insurance within the reach of everyone. It lacks an insurance license from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). However, it built a quasi-insurance model and offered subscription-based health plans to people. The plans covered outpatient department (OPD) benefits, hospitalisation and medicine purchases as well. It was believed to be a potential game-changer.

Kenko raised over $13 million in 2022 from investors like Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India & Southeast Asia), Beenext and Orios Venture Partners. It then demonstrated impressive growth and revenues jumped from INR 5 crore in FY22 to INR 85 crore in FY23. A 17-fold increase in revenue was something outstanding in the segment. However, net losses jumped from INR 24 crore to INR 68 crore during the same period. This highlighted risks involved.

Kenko was believed to undergo through a breakthrough when it was about to securing INR 220 crore ($27 million) in funding from institutional investors like Healthquad, B Capital and Bertelsmann. The investment was crucial as it could have met the required capital to obtain an insurance license from IRDA. Unfortunately, the deal failed and the founders had to turn focus towards domestic investors. Indian investors such as the Hero Group showed interest, but the potential equity dilution alarmed existing shareholders. The primary concern was the restructuring proposal and believed to reduce their stake significantly. The proposal may also reduce the value of the company.

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