Fresh off its Series B funding round of $10 million, Souqalmal.com, which claims to be the Middle East’s largest platform for finance comparison, will expand operations to include comparisons of insurance offerings available in the Gulf region.
The startup revealed on October 3 that it has raised a $10 million Series B round from forex house UAE Exchange, Saudi-based Riyadh Taqnia Fund (RTF), and UK’s biggest comparison site, GoCompare.com.
Among other uses for the fresh funds, Souqalmal will invest in further illuminating the opaque worlds of health, travel, and home insurance, having launched their car insurance aggregator portal in 2016.
“Financial education has always been at the core of the business for us and listening to what customers have to say,” Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of Souqalmal.com, told Inc. Arabia.
Having built the first financial education site in the UK before moving to Dubai in 2008, Musa says that she has always been passionate about informing customers about what they’re being offered and how.
“I think there is a lot to be done in terms of educating consumers here [in the GCC]. People want to trust, and aggregator sites like ours help them to understand that they don’t just have to take what the sales guy is giving you. There is a place you can go, to see what you’re getting yourself into.”
Expanding to being an aggregator for insurers could now potentially help to ease the misery many UAE and GCC residents face when trying to find brokers that won’t blindside them when it comes to the crunch, Musa indicated.
“When you go to a broker, three is the maximum number of options you’re going to get, as opposed to the, let’s say 18 quotes on Souqalmal. And it’s not just about the price. Let’s not forget that many brokers are attached to different interests and agendas, so you might not be getting the best deals,” she says.
“We all know that the issue with insurance only comes when you have a claim. Until something goes wrong, no one really knows what they’re going to get,” Musa adds.
In short, Souqalmal’s new insurance platform seeks is to help customers avoid that nasty surprise, and understand exactly what they’re going to get, the day they make a claim.
Apart from developing this new business line, the rest of the $10 million will be going towards further expansion into the Saudi market, developing the site’s technology, and investing in marketing.
With the investment, a statement from the firm said, come strategic partnerships that will help Musa drive the startup towards these aims.
While GoCompare will help Souqalmal with its own expertise and technology, partnering with UAE Exchange will give it a larger physical footprint in the region, while RTF will help it expand in the Saudi market, the statement said.
Souqalmal currently offers users the ability to compare more than 3,200 personal finance products such as credit cards, loans, bank accounts and insurance offered by providers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.