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Newfund and ResiliAnce lead $1.2m Seed round in OKO

Anna Lyudvig
April 22, 2021, 5:38 p.m.
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Newfund and ResiliAnce have led a Seed investment round of $1.2m in OKO, an Insurtech start-up that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa.

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Newfund and ResiliAnce have led a Seed investment round of $1.2m in OKO, an Insurtech start-up that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa.

Mercy Corps Ventures, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa also participated in the round.

Daniel Block, Investment Principal at Mercy Corps Ventures, said: "While other micro-insurance for farmers exist, we were impressed by OKO's ability to partner with a pan-African operator like Orange and establish a direct consumer link, which allows for an exciting opportunity to drive deeper user engagement and expand to a suite of insurance products for rural farmers in the future.”

The start-up, which currently operates in Mali and Uganda, 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.

Simon Schwall, founder of OKO, said: “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. 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.

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.

Augustin Sayer, Partner at Newfund, said: “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.”

Newfund is a pre-seed / seed stage crossborder venture firm with $300m under management and 90 active portfolio companies.

ResiliAnce is the corporate capital investment fund that accelerates the digital, economic, and sustainable transformation of global agro-industrial systems.

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