Insurtech start-up OKO raises $ 1.2 million to bring innovative insurance to small farmers in Africa



Insurtech start-up OKO raises $ 1.2 million to bring innovative insurance to small farmers in Africa

KAMPALA, Uganda, April 22, 2021 – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – OKO, an Insurtech start-up that offers inclusive agricultural insurance to ensure farmers’ income in Africa, has closed an investment of 1 Seeds , 2 million dollars. The round was led by Newfund and ResiliAnce. Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa also participated in the round.

The new company currently operating in Mali and Uganda uses satellite data and mobile payments to create automated insurance products for farmers whose fields are adversely affected by weather events, mainly droughts and floods. With the new financing, OKO aims to strengthen its presence in Mali and Uganda and expand its offering to more African markets, starting with the Ivory Coast.

“Agriculture is by far the largest source of employment in Africa, with an estimated 33 million farms. And yet farmers are deprived of basic financial services like insurance and loans, ”says Simon Schwall, founder of OKO. “We are using technology to solve this problem and secure income for these farmers.”

The company already has approximately 7,000 paying clients in Mali and compensated more than 1,000 farmers last year, who were affected by the floods. OKO customers often grow corn, cotton, sesame or millet. OKO also works with agribusinesses to help them with their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers. The successful pilots were completed with ABInBev and Touton in Uganda.

This convinced Augustin Sayer, Newfund partner, to support OKO: “We believe that recent advances in iOT and the availability of data will lead to the rise of parametric insurance in Africa for the benefit of local populations. Simon and his team have built solid foundations in Mali from which OKO can now expand to new countries and offer new insurance products. “

OKO prides itself on 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 get more information and pay via mobile money services. To achieve this level of accessibility, the company partners with mobile operators. “OKO has taken full advantage of the Orange Money platform to provide a service that is innovative and inclusive,” says Aicha Touré, CEO of Orange Money in Mali.

Mercy Corps Ventures’ Daniel Block added: “While other microinsurance exists for farmers, we were impressed by OKO’s ability to partner with a pan-African operator like Orange and establish a direct link with the consumer, providing an exciting opportunity to deepen engagement of users and expand to a set of insurance products for rural farmers in the future

The service offered by OKO is supported by regulators and has won the Fintech Showcase Award from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, which represents financial regulators from emerging countries, and the SME award from the ITU, the governing body of telecommunications.

When asked about the upcoming challenges for OKO, Simon Schwall’s response is clear: “We need to find more partners who can bring our product to farmers, whether they are NGOs, agribusiness players, mobile operators or government programs. We show that our solution works and meets a great need. Now we have to climb “

Video content on OKO can be accessed here

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