The Egyptian lending app, Cassbana, has reportedly raised US$1 million pre-seed investment round from Disruptech. This a fintech startup that using AI (artificial intelligence) powered approach to run a behavior-based credit scoring system for lenders. Other angel investors and fintech funds also participated.
Cassbana uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver financial services to the underserved and unbanked market in Egypt. They offer financial institutions and companies the opportunities to develop innovative lending and financial support solutions by means of analysing the behavioral patterns of their numerous customers to enable them make decisions.
According to Haitham Nassar, the founder and CEO of Cassbana, their goal is to create financial identities for the underserved and unbanked in Egypt, who most often cannot receive financing from their suppliers and service providers to scale their small businesses or pass through a difficult time in their business journey.
He continued, that instead of them being assumed to be of high default risk, “our financial identities offer them a chance to receive different financing options with a low risk of default.”
Cassbana says it is using the funds to grow the business and expand their operations in the local market as it looks to playing a role regionally and globally.
What we know is that, Cassbana launched its services on a trial basis in June, 2020. By then, they only had one service provider in Cairo, and thankfully now having more than 20 service providers in the Egyptian capital, the Nile Delta, and other cities, with plans to expand to Upper Egypt.
The CEO noted that they are aspiring to reach every corner in Egypt and to succeed in creating financial identities for one million customers before the end of 2021.
“We are happy to be leading this Pre-Seed round in Cassbana’s journey. The Egyptian Fintech ecosystem is one of the biggest worldwide, our role as a fund is to support Fintech companies from the beginning all the way through local and international IPOs.” -Mohamed Okasha, Head of the Disruptech Fund said.
He futher went on to appreciate the team at Cassbana by stating that, they at Disruptech have seen the fintech’s teamwork ethic first-hand and their growth over the past 6 months has been monumental to say the least.
He reveals, his venture capital firm (Disruptech) held an admiration for Cassbana’s strategic vision for both local and international growth, giving them reason to lead them in their first round of investment.
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OKO: Insurtech Startup Raises US$1.2M to bring Innovative Insurance to Smallholder Farmers Across Africa
Insurtech start-up, OKO, that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa, has closed a seed investment of $1.2 million. The round was led by Newfund and ResiliAnce. Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa also participated in the round.
The startup which currently operates in Mali and Uganda uses satellite data and mobile payments to create automated insurance products for farmers whose fields are affected adversely by weather events — primarily droughts and floods. With the new funding, OKO aims to strengthen its presence in Mali and Uganda and expand its offerings to more African markets, starting with Ivory Coast.
According to the founder of OKO, Simon Schwall, in a press statement said,
Simon also said they were using technology to solve this issue and secure the income of those farmers.
The company already has approximately 7,000 paying customers in Mali and compensated more than 1,000 farmers last year, who were affected by floods. OKO’s customers typically grow maize, cotton, sesame or millet. It also works with agro-industries to help them with their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers. Successful pilots were completed with ABInBev and Touton in Uganda.
This convinced Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund, to support OKO:
“We believe recent advancement in iOT and data availability will lead to the rise of parametric insurance in Africa for the benefit of the local populations. Simon and his team have built solid bases in Mali from which OKO can now expand in new countries and offer new insurance products.”
OKO takes pride in being the most inclusive crop insurance available. All farmers need to connect to OKO is a phone (no smartphone required): they can dial a short code to obtain more information and pay through mobile money services. To achieve this level of accessibility, the company partners with mobile operators.
OKO, for Aisha Touré, the CEO of Orange Money in Mali, has taken full benefit of the Orange Money platform to provide a service that is both innovative and inclusive.
Daniel Block from Mercy Corps Ventures added,
“While other micro-insurance for farmers exist, we were impressed by OKO’s ability to partner with a pan-African operator like Orange and establish a direct consumer link, which allows for an exciting opportunity to drive deeper user engagement and expand to a suite of insurance products for rural farmers in the future.”
The service offered by OKO is supported by regulators and has won both the Fintech Showcase Award by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, representing financial regulators of emerging countries, and the SME award from ITU, the telecommunication governing body.
When asked about the next challenges for OKO, Simon Schwall’s answer is clear:
“We need to find more partners who can bring our product to farmers, be it NGOs, agro-industrial players, mobile operators or governmental programmes. We proved that our solution is working and answers a strong need. Now we need to scale”
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