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Amazon (AMZN) Backs Acko to Strengthen Presence in India

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In a bid to bolster presence in India, Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) has led a $12 million investment in the subsidiary of Acko Technologies named, Acko General Insurance.

Acko General Insurance is an India-based online insurance startup which covers all types of automobile insurance.

The other participants in this funding round were Catamaran Ventures, the existing investor of Acko and Ashish Dhawan, the founder of ChrysCapital. With the recent investment, the startup reaches $42 million worth of funding to date.

The latest move of Amazon is the continuation of its earlier plans of investing around Rs.100 crore in the startup. Reportedly, the company will become the potential insurance partner of Acko which will enable it to bring insurance products to its e-commerce platform for the Indian customers.

The deal will further help the online retailer to expand its presence in the rapidly growing insurance market of India

Additionally, the company’s investment in Acko is likely to strengthen its competitive position against Walmart (WMT - Free Report) owned Flipkart. Notably, the insurance startup had reached out to Flipkart earlier this year to raise funds.

Coming to the price performance, shares of Amazon have returned 37.7% on a year-to-date basis, outperforming the industry’s rally of 22%.

Growing Indian Insurance Market

Per the latest report from India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian insurance industry is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020.

We note that Amazon has entered a highly competitive market with the recent investment. The country’s online insurance space is teeming with online platforms for managing, comparing, buying and selling insurance policies. In fact, companies like Coverfox, Digit Insurance, Policybazar, to name a few, directly compete with Acko.

Further, digital payments firm Paytm has set up two new insurance divisions in earlier this year namely — Paytm Life Insurance and Paytm General Insurance.

However, Acko is one company which is trying to take the advantage of growing internet use in the country by partnering with e-commerce giants. Recently, the startup unveiled a very useful insurance policy for Ola cab passengers.

The policy covers minor accidents, loss of baggage or laptop, missing of domestic flight due to heavy traffic and so on. Since the introduction of this policy, Acko has already covered more 10 million Ola trips.

We believe with Acko’s strong focus toward making the policies customer friendly will help it gain momentum in the market. Consequently, this will help Amazon to enjoy greater returns from its investment.

Amazon in India

Amazon’s continuous efforts to bolster its business in India will help the company gain traction in the market. Amazon’s e-commerce platform in India has been a big success and is expected to continue to boost top-line growth.

The company continues to with its efforts to bolster presence in Indian e-commerce space which is projected to become the fifth largest market globally after the United States, the U.K., Japan and Germany.

Notably, Amazon has backed startups like HouseJoy, BankBazaar, QwikCilve, Acko and Capital Float, the most recent one, in the country over the past few years.

According to a Business Today report, Amazon India has issued paid up capital of $2.7 billion toward Amazon Seller Services, its marketplace arm. Moreover, the company has almost 41 warehouses in India, owns a captive logistics unit and operates a payments arm.

According to data from India Brand Equity Foundation, the ongoing digitalization in India is likely to boost the internet user base, which is expected to reach 829 million by 2021, up from 373 million in 2016.

We believe, the company is well poised to reap benefits from the country with the help of its strong e-commerce platform, courtesy the increasing use of smartphone and internet in the country.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Currently, Amazon carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Match Group (MTCH - Free Report) and Groupon (GRPN - Free Report) . Both the stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Match Group and Groupon is projected at 12.5% and 6.5%, respectively.

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