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8 months 4 weeks ago

The Egyptian company Amenli earned $2.3 million in its first round of fund to provide insurance services to Egyptians. Two national and foreign companies invested in the round - co-main investors P1 Ventures, GFC and Anim Fund, with the participation of Costanoa VC, Lequid2 Ventures and Cliff Angels.

Founded by Shadi El Tohfa, and Adham Naumanin 2020, Amenliaddresses Egypt's $2 billion untapped insurance market. But it was a series of personal experiences that led the CEO to look at available opportunities in the market. Amnley had received founding fund from the American business accelerator Y Combinator.

El-Tohfa tells two stories where his friends lost their parents. While the loss negatively affected the welfare of his first friend and his family due to unpaid medical bills, it was different for the other friend who claimed that obtaining insurance helped his family escape financial difficulties despite his father's expensive treatments.

These situations, together with Noman's newly discovered knowledge that an average Egyptian citizen could get insurance without being employed, and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound in 2016, shaped how the founders understood the importance of insurance in Egypt.

The traditional method of operating insurance in Egypt is as follows. An insurance company collaborates with banks to sell insurance to high-spending customers with high credit limits (because they are the most profitable). These providers focus on the B2B market because they lack the tools to access the global retail market.

There is a middle-income group of about 50 million adults; This is the market that Amenliseeks, as El-Tohfa says.

Typically, if anyone from this sector is seeking insurance, it may take three to six weeks to buy a single policy from the insurance provider. El-Tohfa says it's because insurance companies don't give priority to individuals.

"The cost of service is very high and the economy is fundamentally unfit for them," he added.

But Amenliwants it to work. When users sign in to its system, they are asked to answer certain questions, and the answers provided specify which insurance plans - life, medical or motor - must be recommended.

Prior to launch, Amenli meets with insurance companies to enter into some partnerships to provide consumers with immediate price offerings on different types of policies. Yet it was a hard goal to achieve, as Naumanin said. "We were struck by the fact that most companies did not actually have the capacity to provide application programming interfaces or documentation for integration."

Therefore, Amenli collected its old accounts, formed a model to serve these quotes immediately and created its own infrastructure. It also provides APIs to other bank insurers on its site as Egypt's first licensed digital insurance broker.

The platform issues more than 500 insurance policies in less than 10 minutes compared to the industry minimum standard of three weeks. The numbers look great. However, the founders still believe that the company is still on track to find a suitable product for the market.

He said: "Right now, we're still trying to prove that there's a demand on the market to sell insurance because there's no benchmark and we didn't know if people would get insurance online."

Everyone will say that people in Egypt do not want to understand or buy insurance. But what we found is that middle-income learners are familiar with insurance, understand it and want to buy it, even though it was not within their reach before.” He added.

Before launching Amenli, El-Tohfa and Naumanin were part of the founding group at the Egyptian fintech Paymob. El-Tohfa  was CCO while Naumanin was the technical leader of one of Paymob's products.

At some point, the two worked on one of the smaller financing products in 2017 and hit insurance as a concept for the first time. "We were fascinated by her concept. Before that, we didn't have much information or knowledge about insurance at all,” El-Tohfa said.

The ongoing research and interest led the two to decide that they wanted to venture into full - time insurance. However, this was not the case until the meeting of the company's director Omar Azzeddine and the insurance mediation license that the company eventually launched.

A whole year of work supported by Y Combinator prepared Amenli for what's to come. The CEO says “the new funding will be used to expand his team, expand quickly and gain more customers in a market that is expected to grow at a composite annual growth rate of 7% per year over the next five years.”

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