The African Insuretech service provider, Pula, has recently closed a US$6 million Series A funding round led by TLcom Capital and had participation from Women’s World Banking. It specializes in digital as well as agric insurance to derisk smallholder farmers across Africa.
This new round of investment to the insuretech startup will be used to scale up operations in the company’s existing 13 markets across Africa. Pula has so far impacted over 4.3 million farmers on the continent and the new funding will help push its expansion into Asia to power resilience and profitability for Asian smallholder farmers.
Pula was launched by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru in 2015, to design and deliver innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholders farmers improve their farming practices, endure climate risks and bolster their incomes. This has become necessary because for smallholder farmers in emerging markets, the traditional method of calculating insurance through farm visits is often expensive, meaning they are often neglected from financial protection against climate risks.
The Area Yield Index Insurance product by Pula leverages machine learning, crop cuts experiments and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses to build products which cater for a variety of risks including drought, excessive rainfall, pests and diseases.
Their key clientele include the Kenyan Government, World Food Programme, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Zambian Government. Pula has also launched an NDVI Livestock insurance as an offering for livestock farmers.
Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the insuretech company, Pula, Rose Goslinga, spoke to the press on this Series A Round, saying when they launched in 2015, their main goal was to build and deliver scalable insurance solutions for Africa’s 700 million smallholder farmers.
Adding that, this latest funding allows for them to break into new grounds. They have since built strong traction for their products but the fact remains that across Africa and other emerging markets, there are still millions of smallholder farmers with risks to their livelihoods that have not been covered.
For Maurizio Caio, the Managing Partner and founder at TLcom Capital,
“In Pula, we found a company addressing a hugely underserved market in one of Africa’s key drivers of growth and with this, an opportunity for major economic upside. The potential for the insurance market for smallholder farmers in Africa is huge and under the leadership of Rose and Thomas, Pula has rapidly established a strong presence throughout the continent and has a number of high-profile clients on their books.”
He further expressed confidence in Pula’s potential for growth despite the pandemic and looks forward to engaging them as they execute the next phase of their journey.
Christina Juhasz, who is the CIO at Women’s World Banking praised the agric insuretech startup and says that, given the legions of women engaged in smallholder farming and securing the food supply for communities globally, her outfit was extremely delighted to partner with Pula Advisors in providing them financial safety nets against the risks of pests, diseases and climate change.
In 2018, Pula announced the close of its US$1 million seed round from Rocher Participations with support from Accion Venture Lab, Omidyar Network and several angel investors. They also had funding form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mulago Foundation and Mercy Corps Social Ventures.
Thanks to their numerous partnerships, Pula is at the center of an ecosystem which providing insurance to smallholder farmers and in the process has amassed 50 insurance partners, as well as six reinsurance space.
In December 2020, the startup was named as the “InsureTech of the Year” at the African Insurance Awards 2020 held in Lagos, Nigeria. The new investment means that, TLcom’s Senior Partner, Omobola Johnson will join Pula’s Board of Directors.
ImaliPay: Nairobi Fintech Startup Raises Pre-Seed Funding Led By TEN13
ImaliPay, a fintech startup helping African freelancers reach their financial goals has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from the Australian venture capitalist, TEN13, reputed for investing in top-tier start-ups.
According to ImaliPay, the primary aim of this newly raised funding is to expand and accelerate their growth and footprint in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to be a one-stop-shop for gig workers’ financial needs on the continent.
The backing of ImaliPay by TEN13 is on the back of recent chain of events that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s fintech startup scene.
Commenting on the deal, Managing Partner of TEN13, Stew Glenn, said,
ImaliPay in 2020 was co-founded by Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Furusa and Sanmi Akinmusire a Nigerian, who were former colleagues at the leading payments company Cellulant. The fintech company thinks the investment from the venture capital has significant benefits.
In a statement released to the press, Tatenda Furusa said,
It’s a great opportunity for investors to participate in the fintech revolution and a fast-growing segment. Our vision at ImaliPay is to advance financial health and inclusion for gig workers who struggle to manage and access flexible financial services that are often only available to traditional SMEs.
The growth in the African gig workforce is being pushed by the growth in digitization and smartphone penetration. Gig workers constitute a significant proportion of the economy within ImaliPay’s target markets and this market segment is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.
ImaliPay offers gig workers a one-stop-shop of financial services such as the ability to seamlessly save their income and receive in-kind loans through a “buy now, pay later” model tied to their trade.
Bolt drivers in Kenya can now request a fuel loan and payback after 3-4 days, this allows them to get more work done and Safeboda riders in Nigeria can now buy on credit bike parts, fuel, and smartphones to keep their gig moving and reduce any downtime.
Other products to be offered off the platform include insurance and investment options to foster a safety net for this hard-working but vulnerable part of the population.
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