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Pula: Insuretech Startup Closes $6M Series A Funding to Scale Up Business Across Africa

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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.

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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.

insuretech
Rose Goslinga & Thomas Njeru of Insuretech startup, Pula

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.

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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.

Pula is currently present in Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

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.

Funding

Curacel: Insurtech Startup Secures $450K Pre-seed Funding Led by Atlantica Ventures & Consonance

Curacel

The insurtech startup, Curacel, an AI-powered platform for claims processing and fraud management in Africa, reports that it has raised $450,000 pre-seed funding in a round that was led by Atlantica Ventures and Consonance with participation from Kepple Ventures and other African angel investors.

The new investment will be used to accelerate Curacel’s expansion across Africa and facilitate the goal of becoming Africa’s premier provider of embedded finance technology for insurance.

The insurtech startup already works with some of the biggest insurers on the continent, including AXA Mansard, Liberty Health and Old Mutual, as well as more than 800 hospitals in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda. It plans to expand into 10 new African countries by the end of 2021.

Every year, African insurers lose more than $12 billion to fraudulent, wasteful, and abusive claims. Curacel’s flagship CLAIMS platform acts as a bridge between primary care hospitals and Africa’s insurance companies, using advanced artificial intelligence to ensure that insurance companies only pay claims for the correct treatment, appropriate medications and recommended patient therapies. 

Curacel

Curacel is also scheduled to launch Curacel Capital, a cash advance product that makes it easier for healthcare providers to access working capital to mitigate financial challenges. Delayed payments and other inefficiencies in the payment process means many African healthcare providers often have to make the difficult choice between keeping the books balanced or providing healthcare at a loss. With Curacel Capital, healthcare providers can access lump sums of up to three times their average monthly billings, based on claims processed on the Curacel portal, ensuring that they can continue to deliver essential services without undue disruption.

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With insurance penetration at just 2.8% across the continent, many Africans are one accident or health emergency away from poverty. And in Africa’s communal societies, tragedy impacts entire communities, with people emptying their savings to pay for medical expenses, burials or other disaster relief for family members and kin. By leveraging Curacel’s products and services, insurers across the continent are better equipped to close the insurance gap and safeguard prosperity. 

According to Curacel Co-founder and CEO, Henry Mascot, in a press statement said,

“We are excited to have these investors on board and we are looking forward to partnering with them to drive our vision of improving insurance inclusion across Africa.”

At Curacel he shares, they are uniquely positioned to safeguard livelihoods and increase the quality of life through their unique, market-leading products and services. 

IK Kanu, Partner at Atlantica Ventures noted that,

“The African insurance market represents a significant growth opportunity and we are delighted to be partnering with Curacel to drive growth in this sector. There is an opportunity to create an entirely new market of products and services here and we look forward to supporting the team to improve health outcomes across the continent.” 

Finally, Mobolaji Adeoye, the Managing Partner at Consonance adds that they believe the Curacel team has what it takes to be market leaders and are therefore excited to support them. Also stressing that they have a great product and equally delighted to be coming onboard at this early stage of their growth.

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