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Silvertree exits CompareGuru in sale to SA’s SureStart

Online insurance distribution company SureStart today announced that it had acquired CompareGuru, an independent insurance comparison platform, from SA investment company Silvertree Internet Holdings.

SureStart claims that it enables anyone to buy or sell digital financial services, instantly and seamlessly, by using the cloud-based Briisk Instant Transaction Platform.

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CompareGuru provides free, unbiased side-by-side quotes on short-term and long-term insurance products, ranging from vehicle insurance and life insurance to building insurance.

In a statement today, SureStart said CompareGuru — which was founded in 2013 by Ryan Marx with the help of seed money from Silvertree and UK investors Kingsway Capital — joined the its stable effective from 1 June.

SureStart did not disclose how much it paid to acquire CompareGuru from Silvertree

Marx in 2017 exited CompareGuru, selling his 10% stake back to Silvertree (see this story).

CompareGuru’s sale to SureStart — the value of which was not disclosed by neither party — looks to be the first exit that Silvertree has made in a South African investment.

‘Previous SA exits were for under R10m’

When asked, Silvertree co-founder and managing director Paul Cook (pictured above, far left with Silvertree colleagues) said in an email that it wasn’t the investment company’s first exit of a SA investment, but that the previous ones had been small — adding that these had been “for less than R10-million”.

He stressed too that the investment company doesn’t usually actively pursue exits” as it prefers an approach  to “support entrepreneurs for the long term”.

“However, we believe this transaction is value creating for all parties, Silvertree, SureStart and the CompareGuru team, which makes it an obvious thing to do,” he said.

Surestart founder Hanno van Aarde, who Ventureburn was told is currently working in Turkey, did not immediately respond to request for comment via email.

In June last year Silvertree announced in a statement that it had exited from Nigerian ecommerce platform DealDey through a management buyout. It did not disclose how much it exited the company for.

Deal included Noble Wealth sale

Travys Wilkins, who served at the helm of CompareGuru since November last year (and was officially made CEO in April) when he took over from Clemens Wolf, will remain on as the company’s CEO.

Wilkins would not disclose the value of the deal, or how much he netted from the sale of Noble Wealth Financial Services, a wealth management company he started in June 2016, which numbered himself as the only staff member at the sale of the company to Silvertree last year.

SureStart confirmed today that it will continue with the wealth management company but under the name “CG Private Wealth”.

In CompareGuru’s statement, Wilkins said the acquisition will enable the brand to offer ‘innovative white-labelled insurance solutions” to the SA market while furthering its goal of digitising the insurance process.

He said the acquisition will enable SureStart to leverage off CompareGuru’s existing license agreements.

“We’re able to pool resources across compliance, product development, multi-channel strategy and systems integration. This in turn means lowering cost structures and providing a full suite of financial products and services directly to the consumer,” he said.

Wilkins says that a key focus for the business in the short term will be updating the products to include both funeral and travel insurance.

Read more: Silvertree move to take majority stakes in startups nets mixed view from founders [Updated]
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Read more: Silvertree founder takes aim at Silicon Valley model of building African startups

Featured image (from left to right): Silvertree Internet Holdings’ co-founder Paul Cook, co-founder Peter Allerstorfer, non-executive chairman Freddy Caspers, co-founder Manuel Koser and CFO Andrew Whale (Facebook)

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