Former Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph has been appointed as board chair of Kenya agricultural insurtech startup Pula.
The startup was founded in 2015 by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru and has been designing and delivering agricultural insurance and digital products to smallholder farmers in the country.
“Michael will bring a wealth of skills and industry knowledge to Pula. He has been committed to seeing small businesses in Africa succeed on the global stage,” said Pula co-founder and chief executive Thomas Njeru in a statement.
Last year, Pula raised $6 million in series A funding. The company has operations in 16 African markets including Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Pula says it has insured 6.5 million smallholder farmers across its markets.
“I have always been interested in using technology to change peoples’ lives for the better. The connection between agriculture and technology intrigues me, particularly on how technology can be used to improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and incomes,” Michael Joseph said about his appointment.
“I am looking forward to guiding Pula as it continues its growth, and hope to push the company to do even better.”
Michael Joseph was the founding CEO of Safaricom and is credited for its monumental growth, especially in its initial years of operation. He is also the chairman of national carrier Kenya Airways. He also serves as director of money at Vodafone Group Services among other roles.
Insurance for small-scale farmers is still a new concept in the African market but players such as Pula hope more farmers can embrace it to save themselves the perennial challenges of subsistence agriculture.