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Charis UAS: Rwanda’s Drone Startup Raises Investment to Manufacture Drones

Charis UAS

Kigali based Charis UAS, a leading drone startup reports having raised a significant but undisclosed investment from XM2 PURSUIT, a global player in the moving camera business.

The new funding received is to be used to accelerate the expansion of the company’s drone manufacturing and solutions on the continent.

This new found support from XM2 PURSUIT, will enable the drone startup extend its market reach thereby cementing its position as a leader in drone services in Africa and across the globe.

Eric Rutayisire Muziga, the founder and CEO of Charis UAS, in a news statement welcomed the news and stated they were thrilled to work with a cutting-edge company such as XM2 PURSUIT.

This investment, gives them the opportunity to rapidly expand across Africa and build upon their current drone-based technological solutions and manufacturing services.

Charis UAS was launched in 2014 as Rwanda’s first-ever licensed UAV venture and through its advanced data analytics, the startup company has very much supported a number of governments and private organizations in optimizing their business operations and by so doing created a powerful social impact within communities such as using drones to fight against malaria and advance local energy programs.

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Charis UAS
Prez. Paul Kagame in attendance at an exhibition by Charis UAS

Charis UAS has continued to break new grounds by positioning itself as Africa’s first commercial drone manufacturer as it launch of its first ever made-in-Rwanda drone in February 2020.

Upon examining Charis UAS’s strong track record within Africa, the COO of XM2 PURSUIT, Aidan Kelly shared that,

“Whether its designing solutions, integrating workflows, utilizing automation or delivering data in meaningful ways, our investment into Charis UAS is part of our plan to partner with leaders in their field around the world, to unlock the true potential that aerial and remotely sensed data can provide.”

Africa is rapidly adopting new technologies and open to new innovations, according to Eric Rutayisire Muziga of Charis UAS and for him,

“Having the investment, support, and expertise of XM2 PURSUIT will help us execute our vision to support intelligent decision making and scale up the manufacturing of drones on the African continent.”

He added that this partnership will also create thousands of high skilled jobs for the multitude of youth on the Africa continent.

Outside Rwanda, Charis UAS also operates in Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Funding

OKO: Insurtech Startup Raises US$1.2M to bring Innovative Insurance to Smallholder Farmers Across Africa

OKO

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,

Agriculture is by far the largest source of occupation in Africa, with an estimated 33 million farms. And yet, farmers are deprived from basic financial services like insurance and loans.”

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.

oko

This convinced Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund, to support OKO:

SEE ALSO |  AgroCenta: Agritech Startup Raises US$790K to Secure Fair Market Price for Smallholder Farmers in Ghana

“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.

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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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