Dan Loeb bets on future Geico of Greece

Dan Loeb, founder and chief executive officer of Third Point.
Amanda Gordon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Dan Loeb, founder and chief executive officer of Third Point.

Warren Buffett has Geico, and now Dan Loeb has Hellas Direct.

It was announced this week that the billionaire hedge fund manager bought a 20 percent stake in the start-up online insurance company, another move to make money in Greece amid political turmoil that has been the talk of the market.

The exact amount of Loeb's investment, through the Third Point Hellenic Recovery Fund, wasn't disclosed. But it is tiny: The company has raised 17 million euros ($19 million) overall since the business was launched in 2012 by two former Goldman Sachs employees.

Despite Hellas Direct's small size, it already has an impressive group of angel investors. They include Trifon Natsis, co-founder of prominent hedge fund firm Brevan Howard; private equity veteran Jon Moulton; and former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill.

The Third Point investment this week came along with money from Linda Rottenberg's Endeavor Catalyst, a nonprofit that backs promising entrepreneurs. Loeb is the largest shareholder; Moulton is second at about 17 percent.

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Hellas Direct, which offers car insurance directly to consumers like Buffett's Geico and others, doesn't disclose much on its financial status. But co-founder Alexis Pantazis said revenue increased by six times in 2014 and the company now has between 25,000 and 30,000 clients (Geico has 13 million auto policies in place by comparison).

That growth is as the Greek economy has stalled and the cost of insurance has dropped sharply, according to Pantazis.

He added that the business isn't overly concerned by the current Greek political turmoil.

"It's clearly going to be a testing time for the country," Pantazis told CNBC.com Friday. "But for us as a company we are very well-placed to play an active part in bringing transparency and a level playing field in a consolidating market. It's great to have Third Point as an institutional partner."

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Can Wall Street save Greece?
Can Wall Street save Greece?   

The move underscores how a small group of hedge funds is still hoping to profit from a Greek recovery. Besides Third Point, they include York Capital Management, Alden Global Capital, Greylock Capital Management and Eaglevale Partners.

A spokesman for Third Point did not respond to a request for comment. But Loeb noted in a recent letter that investing in the country wasn't without risk.

"We believe that unless an agreement with creditors is reached this month, Greece will begin experiencing extreme liquidity pressures in early March," Loeb wrote.