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OKO Raises $1.2 Million To Insure African Farmers

The Insurtech aims to expand on African markets and to bring more innovative insurance solutions to smallholders.

Photo: Launched in 2017, OKO specializes in crop, micro-insurance and weather index insurance / Credits © OKO

OKO, an insurtech that provides digital microinsurance solutions has announced that is has received a seed investment of $1.2 million (€1.44 million). Its investors include Newfund, Resilience, Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa.

OKO’s automated insurance solutions secure a stable income for farmers affected by weather events such as droughts and floods. The services are accessible to anyone via a phone call (no smartphone needed) and claim payments are automated using satellite data and images. For farmers without smartphones this solution makes their lives a lot easier.

“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,” explains Simon Schwall, OKO’s founder and CEO in a press release.

“We need to scale and find more partners who can bring our product to farmers, be it NGOs, agro-industrial players, mobile operators or governmental programs.”

7,000 customers, 1,000 flood compensations

The company currently operates in Mali and Uganda where farmers typically grow maize, cotton, sesame or millet. It already serves around 7,000 customers in Mali and has compensated more than 1,000 farmers affected by floods last year.

OKO also works with agro-industries to achieve their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers. Pilot projects have been completed in Uganda.

The insurtech’s solutions respect the regulatory frameworks of the region. Indeed, they have 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.

With the new funding, the company will strengthen its presence in Mali and Uganda and expand its offerings to more African markets, starting with Ivory Coast.

“We need to scale and find more partners who can bring our product to farmers, be it NGOs, agro-industrial players, mobile operators or governmental programs,” Schwall adds. “We proved that our solution is working and answers a strong need”.

Launched in 2017, OKO specializes in crop, micro-insurance and weather index insurance. It leverages mobile and satellite technologies to provide automated crop insurance to emerging countries and provide a financial safety to smallholder farmers. It operates from The Lhoft (Luxembourg), Tel Aviv (Israel) and Bamako (Mali).

In 2018, the Insurtech graduated from the Techstars program and in 2020 it listed among the 50 most promising solutions for Financial Inclusion (Inclusive50) by Visa and MetLife foundation.

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