The Kenya-based health tech startup, Ilara Health has raised $3.75 million in a Series A funding round led by TLcom Capital with contribution from DOB Equity, Global Ventures, and Chandaria Capital
Emilian Popa, the CEO, and co-founder of Ilara Health explains that the funding is critical to their expansion plans and providing inclusive healthcare to everyone.
“This funding round allows us to significantly grow our on-the-ground presence and invest resources into our technology capabilities. In just one year of operation, we have seen the incredible impact our Ilara Health platform has had in delivering improved services across maternal, metabolic, cardiovascular, and infectious disease care.” – he said
Founded in 2018, the Kenya-based health tech startup is focused on providing essential, affordable, and life-saving diagnostics to African consumers. Ilara Health provides access to life-saving tests and screenings that assist local medical provides to improve the quality of their healthcare service.
Using technological advancements, Ilara Health is able to generate data from the diagnostics tests to create a ‘closed-loop patient management system’ and provide analytical insight into dominant local diseases across underserved communities.
Ilara Health has partnered with over 200 clinical facilities in outlying areas of Nairobi and Kisumu and plans to expand across wider Kenya and a new East African market within the next 12 months.
Read about another health tech from Kenya that received $20,000 to tackle COVID-19 spread.
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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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