Varun Dua - Founder of Acko and the New Shark of Shark Tank India

Varun Dua - Founder of Acko and the New Shark of Shark Tank India
Varun Dua - Founder and CEO of Acko

India's financial technology industry has seen an explosive surge in financing over the last several years, with assets totaling more than $8 billion allegedly invested across various stages in 2021. India has the world's highest FinTech rate of adoption. India has 3,085 FinTech firms and is one of the fastest-growing FinTech industries in the world. The Indian FinTech business is expected to be worth $50 billion in 2021 and $150 billion by 2025.

While Payments and Alternative Finance accounted for more than 90% of investment flows in 2015, there has been a major change toward a more fair distribution of investment across sectors since then, with InsurTechs, WealthTechs, and other areas garnering considerable attention. In India, around 17 Fintechs have been designated as 'Unicorns.'

Insurance companies throughout the world, particularly in India, have a lot of opportunities to use technology to optimize distribution costs and provide algorithms for personalized pricing. A believer of the same, Varun Dua, in the digital era, is commonly acclaimed for redesigning India's insurance narrative.

"If you really want to change the plumbing, you will have to start manufacturing it, " is what he says. Varun Dua, the founder and CEO of Acko, is a renowned serial fintech entrepreneur. He co-founded and served as the CEO of one of India's top online insurance aggregators, Coverfox, before launching Acko in 2016. Investors invested $30 million into Acko even before the formal debut, based on Varun's proven records.

Varun Dua - Biography

Name Varun Dua
Birth 1981
Nationality Indian
Occupation Co-founder and CEO of Acko, Co-founder of Coverfox & Glitterbug Technologies
Previous Jobs Trainee at Leo Burnett Advertising, Marketing manager at Tata AIG Life Insurance and Franklin Templeton Investments

Varun Dua - Early Life and Education
Varun Dua - Family
Varun Dua - Career
Varun Dua - Acko
Varun Dua - Challenges Faced
Varun Dua - Shark Tank India

Varun Dua - Early Life and Education

Acko's Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Varun Dua, has over 10+ years of experience in the insurance market, with a wide spectrum of services and responsibilities. He was in charge of marketing analytics for direct business acquisition and technology for effective customer service. Coverfox Insurance Broking Pvt. Ltd. was his company, and he was its CEO and Co-founder.

He completed his Bachelor's degree from the University of Mumbai. Later, he pursued a master's at a prominent business school in India called MICA. Known for his extensive experience in product management and business development, Varun Dua's educational background reflects a solid foundation for his professional journey.

Varun Dua - Family

Varun Dua's father's name is Chander Mohan Dua.

Varun Dua - Career

Varun Dua, the founder of Coverfox, an online insurance aggregation platform, followed the road less traveled in a startup climate where the mantra is "act rapidly and damage things."

Varun worked as a Trainee at Leo Burnett Advertising for less than a year after graduating. He subsequently went on to work for Tata AIG Life Insurance and Franklin Templeton Investments as a marketing manager. Varun launched two prior companies before founding Coverfox in 2013, Glitterbug Technologies and Enser Communications.

One of the key motivations for founding Acko, according to Dua, was the awareness that there had been an open chance to use the World Wide Web to bring interesting ways of selling insurance products.

Despite the fact that Dua had just come into contact with insurance by chance, he was rapidly pulled into its world and learned everything there is to know about the market's intricate inner workings. It wasn't long before he had the desire to start his own business.

In his own words, “I started off not really clear about what I wanted to do, but I definitely didn’t want to do what I was doing.”

The firm takes a D2C strategy, using its web platform to market traditional insurance services. This makes underwriting and risk selection substantially easier. Acko, his company, also offers unique and bite-sized insurance solutions, including rider insurance, ticket cancellation, mobile and appliance protection, and more, in addition to vehicle, bike, and health insurance. Acko also touts partnerships with more than 15 key digital ecosystem firms, including Ola, RedBus, OYO, Zomato, Urban Company, HDB Financial Services, and others.

Varun Dua on the Future of Insurance

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Varun Dua - Acko

Varun Dua - Co-founder and CEO of Acko
Varun Dua - Co-founder and CEO of Acko

Acko's overall motto, according to its website, is "Insurance made easy: Zero commission. Zero paperwork." Acko ran a campaign with the phrase "Full Paisa Wasool" to make people aware. The term "complete value for money" refers to insurance providing complete value.

Insurance schemes are how Acko makes money. Furthermore, Acko's digital-only approach removes the retail costs of building physical storefronts as well as a parasitic reliance on a distribution network, both of which are factors that competing insurance firms rely on heavily.

Insurers, according to the owner of Acko Insurance, Dua, are obligated to hire salespeople to reach out to clients and market their goods because they all essentially provide the same or comparable products.

"Our focus on creating customised solutions will create the demand we are looking for, thus eliminating the need to hard-sell and invest a lot on a distributing network," he adds.

Mumbai-based Acko, founded by Varun Dua, features a variety of customer-friendly programs. The organization has received several five-star ratings and over 4.5 crore satisfied customers as a result of its customer-centric initiatives.

They deliver outstanding customer service, and as a result, Acko has gained their clients' confidence. Narayan Murthy and Accel are also behind Acko's amazing growth. Acko underwrote a premium of Rs 41.56 crore in September 2019. In comparison to 2018, the firm had a 6x increase. The premium was previously valued at Rs 6.53 crore.

Customers were unable to visit the showrooms because of the pandemic. Automobile purchases made through digital means, on the other side, have increased considerably. When compared with the year 2021, Acko, a digital insurance provider, saw a stunning 120 percent increase in sales of automotive insurance contracts in the first quarter of FY22.

Whether it's for our vehicle, bike, or ourselves, pre-purchased insurance nearly always comes in useful, if not proving to be a lifesaver. Unfortunately, not all insurance service providers are glad to embrace a 0% fee and serve their customers online, but Acko is, which is why Acko is swiftly gaining steam.

Acko is here to provide premium insurance to the Indians. And moreover, the Mumbai-based Acko is now a unicorn. In the IPL 2022, Acko General Insurance signed on as an associate sponsor for three teams: Gujarat Titans, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Lucknow Supergiants. Two of these teams are new to IPL, having made their debut in the 15th edition.

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Varun Dua - Challenges Faced

A basic challenge with his journey in the insurance sector, according to Dua, has been a lack of trust, which has created a big obstacle in his way in the beginning. Because of the complexities of the products on the market, the buying procedure, and the claiming process, the trust gap is exacerbated.

Customers have always found the insurance claims procedure to be a lengthy, time-consuming, and frequently iterative process. He wants to improve the consumer experience all the way through the value chain.

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Varun Dua - Shark Tank India

Varun Dua - Shark Tank India
Varun Dua - Shark Tank India

In more ways than one, the first season of the show, Shark Tank India has been a blessing to ambitious entrepreneurs in India. For watchers, it has been a huge hit! For openers, the show has brought those entrepreneurs a lot of attention, if not money.

The exposure, along with lucrative investments from the sharks, has paid off for some chosen ones. The Sharks' banter, which is the most amusing segment for the desi population, helps to make the program what it is. It undoubtedly adds to the enthusiasm and provides some excellent items on Indian television. The popular show's third season is soon around the way, and Varun Dua is one of the sharks this time.

This is what he wrote on his X account:

To be a “shark” today for me is a strange feeling. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. And with my average grades, I wasn’t what you’d call type A either. There was nothing in my resume, my repertoire or my background which should lead to the path of starting out a business, that should become large. And yet, here I am. My journey building @ACKOIndia has been anything but straightforward which is why being on Shark Tank is so meaningful. There is immense opportunity for young entrepreneurs in right now, as we are on the verge of a techtonic shift in India and India’s ambitions. I’m looking forward to contributing in this new ocean of opportunities with some awesome entrepreneurs.


Who is the owner of Acko Insurance?

Varun Dua is the founder and CEO of Acko Insurance.

From where did Varun Dua graduate?

Varun Dua Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad.

Is ACKO profitable?

In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, Acko's net loss climbed by more than 1.5X. They lost INR 738.5 Cr in the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23), a 53% increase from INR 482.3 Cr in FY22 due to an increase in expenses.

Does Amazon own Acko?

Amazon is not Acko's owner. While Amazon has been a major investor in Acko since 2018, contributing to its funding rounds, Acko remains an independent company with its own board of directors and management team.

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