Chinese insurtech startup Waterdrop secures RMB 1 billion in new funding

By Nicole Jao
1 min read
A woman waits outside Beijing Xiehe Hospital on April 17, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Cassidy McDonald)

Beijing-based insurtech startup Waterdrop Inc. (also known as Shuidi) has closed a Series C totaling more than RMB 1 billion (around $145 million), according to a Chinese media report.

The latest funding round was led by China-focused investment firm Boyu Capital with participation from prominent investors including Tencent, CICC Capital, and Gaorong Capital.

The capital will be used to build a team focused on health insurance and to explore artificial intelligence (AI) applications in health insurance, Shen Peng, founder and CEO of Waterdrop, said at the company’s global partners conference.

Shen co-founded Meituan-Dianping’s food delivery business. In 2016, he left the company to set up Waterdrop, which has become one of the largest in China’s online insurance market. The three-year-old startup’s online mutual aid platform, Waterdrop Mutual, has more than 70 million active users in China.

Aside from its mutual aid platform, Waterdrop also offers insurance services and operates a crowdfunding platform for people who need financial support for the treatment of serious illnesses.

According to a Bloomberg report in late April, the startup was seeking new funding at a valuation exceeding $1 billion shortly after closing a RMB 500 million Series B round led by Tencent in March.

The traditional insurance market in China underserves a a population where few have private health insurance.  Online financial products for healthcare have been helping meet demand, which is on the rise thanks to better awareness and higher incomes.

Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial has also been eyeing the lucrative healthcare market in China. Its online mutual aid platform, launched last October, amassed around 57 million users as of the end of April and is aiming to reach 300 million users within the next two years.