Malian Insurtech startup, OKO 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 insurtech startup which provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa, currently operates in Mali and Uganda. It 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.
“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” says Simon Schwall, founder of OKO. “We are 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. OKO 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.
“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.” Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund, said.
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 has taken full benefit of the Orange Money platform to provide a service that is both innovative and inclusive” says Aicha Touré, CEO of Orange Money in Mali.