IFC Invests in Hellas Direct To Support Entrepreneurship and Foster Financial Inclusion in Greece

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is becoming a shareholder in Hellas Direct, a pioneering Greek startup that is aiming to disturb the country’s insurance industry. The investment will help to diversify Greece’s financial sector and make car insurance available to more Greeks. 

IFC is investing €3.5 million in Hellas Direct, part of a $7 million equity offering by the company. Hellas Direct is part of a new wave of what’s known as insurtech companies. Globally and in Greece, the insurance industry is dominated by traditional brokerage systems. Insurtech companies aim to revolutionize the industry by using technology to bring the paper-heavy sector into the digital age. Hellas Direct aims to increase insurance ownership in Greece and bring further transparency and fairness, by eliminating commissions and hidden fees.   
  
Emilios Markou of Hellas Direct said: “We are delighted to welcome IFC in our group of shareholders at Hellas Direct, as we look to replicate our business model across borders and to further foster financial inclusion”. 

Hellas Direct employs a direct-to-consumer distribution model, offering competitive products at significantly lower prices and eliminating commissions.  IFC’s investment will help the company extend its footprint in the Greek insurance market, broaden its offerings of innovative, by-the-day micro insurance products, and accelerate its international expansion across emerging markets, such as Romania and Turkey. 

“The internet, digital technologies, and financial innovation are coming together to change the way we discover, buy, and experience financial products,” said Andi Dervishi, IFC’s Fintech Global Head. “This massive disruption helps increase market efficiencies and gives product choices to a very large, underserved population. We are happy to be partners in Hellas Direct and help increase the availability of insurance products, reduce prices to consumers and, in the process, increase insurance penetration in the country.” 

IFC has in recent years focused on supporting technology-driven innovation in financial sector as a way to spur economic growth and fight poverty. By mid-2017 IFC had invested over $320 million in equity and debt in early- and growth-stage FinTech companies around the globe. 

The investment in Hellas Direct is part of an IFC effort to support economic growth in Greece. IFC began operating in Greece in 2015 at the request of the Greek government and has made eight long-term investments totaling €405 million while also providing €275 million in trade finance lines. 

About IFC 
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. 

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