Other investors included Precinct Partners and several angels.
Like many entrepreneurs, Bayzat CEO and cofounder Talal Bayaa launched the business in 2013 to solve a problem. But the problem with health insurance is that it’s fragmented and complex.
“We’re not in health insurance because we like the industry,” Bayaa told Wamda. “We’re in it because we don’t like the industry.”
Bayzat began as a platform for people to acquire different financial products. But when they launched the health insurance service the team was stunned by the demand as well as the gap in the market.
“We realized there were a lot of problems to be solved [and a] lot of ways we could improve the customer experience,” Bayaa said. Initially B2C they have now evolved to B2B also. “Within a month of launching, we had a contact form and were getting companies of up to a 1,000 employees looking for health insurance.”
Taking advantage of the opportunity Bayaa and his cofounder Brian Habibi moved away from broader financial products to easing the pain points of the insurance industry in the UAE.
At the start, Bayzat offered car insurance options, too. Now, in terms of the insurance industry, the company focuses solely on healthcare. The process of purchasing insurance typically includes sourcing the right service and then staying within the policy contract when using it. Bayzat automates both for the provider and the insured.
Through its platform and the Bayzat Benefits app, users can find, compare and buy insurance policies, and also select healthcare options within their policy when traveling.
Bayzat’s average monthly growth rate is over 30 percent and 71 percent of monthly users are new. Over 4,000 users are currently using Bayzat Benefits. The company’s largest client has 1,600 employees and the smallest has two.
Potential rival turned investor
“Bayzat is the most unique story in our portfolio,” said Amir Farha, cofounder and CIO of BECO Capital, a venture capital firm for early stage tech startups.
When Farha returned to Dubai from the UK in 2008, he coincidentally intended to start a product comparing financial and insurance sites called Bayzaat and bought the domain name. Tech adoption was still in its early stages in the region so Farha gave up the idea. But, a couple of years later, a mutual friend introduced Farha to Bayaa, and when BECO was being set up Bayaa was onto his second seed round.
“What we realized after learning about the space in more detail were the challenges within [it],” Farha said. “In terms of both size and impact, Bayzat have built what I would consider a global product in a local market.”
Bayzat, which means cash or change in Emirati Arabic, is one of 14 BECO investments that includes meeting productivity app, Wrappup.
Springboard for new products
While developing the service, the Bayzat team surveyed the HR administrators they’d be working with and found that managing employee records was a time consuming task for 61 percent of them.
So Bayzat built a platform to automate admin work for HR professionals.
“I really like the fact that they are addressing the technology angle from the employer and the employee,” said Amjad Ahmad of Precinct Partners. “If you look at the insurance landscape here, specifically healthcare, it’s very fragmented so it is right for consolidation. Someone who could move technology into that sector would do very well as a consolidator.”
Though there is competition to individual services the company offers - Souqalmal and Beneple for instance - Bayaa said Bayzat’s key differentiator was that it was “a SaaS (software as a service) company focused on creating customer value and enterprise solutions”.
The sweet spot
With Dubai residents currently at the tail end of a six month grace period to apply the Dubai Health Authority mandated health insurance law, Bayzat also stands at a favorable growth point.
In two and half years, Bayzat gained 40 employees, something Bayaa said was challenging.
“Whether it’s the product, rolling out your product, growing the product, it all pales in comparison to building a good team and then growing that team,” said Bayaa, who hired an HR manager when Bayzat was at only 12 employees in order build “the right kind of culture”.
Farha and Ahmad said the management and team were among the key criteria for their investment in Bayzat.
“The potential for Bayzat is very significant,” Ahmad said. “[It] has a very interesting growth trajectory if we continue to build the technology platform and continue to be a leader in managing health insurance for corporates.”
Feature image via Bayzat.