Kenyan startup Pula, an insurtech service that works to rerisk African smallholder farmers, has raised a US$6 million Series A funding round to scale up operations across its 13 markets on the continent and expand into Asia.
Launched in 2015 by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru, Pula designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers endure climate risks, improve their farming practices and bolster their incomes over time.
Through its Area Yield Index Insurance product, the startup leverages machine learning, crop cuts experiments and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses to build products which cater for a variety of risks. Clients include the likes of the World Food Programme, Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Zambian and Kenyan governments.
So far Pula – which raised a US$1 million seed round in 2018 – has impacted over 4.3 million farmers across 13 markets on the continent, and it has now raised a US$6 million Series A round to scale up its operations in those markets as well as propel its expansion into Asia. The round was led by TLcom Capital, with the participation of Women’s World Banking.
“When Thomas and I launched Pula in 2015, we had one goal in mind – to build and deliver scalable insurance solutions for Africa’s 700 million smallholder farmers, and with our latest funding, now is the time to break into new ground. In our five years since launching, we’ve built strong traction for our products but the fact remains that across Africa and other emerging markets, there are still millions of smallholder farmers with risks to their livelihoods that have not been covered,” Goslinga said.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers need assurances now more than ever and with this in mind, it’s time to scale up. Having TLcom Capital and Women’s World Banking along on the journey with us, opens up many more opportunities as we build across the continent and beyond.”
Maurizio Caio, managing partner and founder at TLcom Capital, said Pula was addressing a hugely underserved market in one of Africa’s key drivers of growth, meaning there was an opportunity for major economic upside.
“The potential for the insurance market for smallholder farmers in Africa is huge and under the leadership of Rose and Thomas, Pula has rapidly established a strong presence throughout the continent and has a number of high-profile clients on their books. We are confident of Pula’s potential for growth in spite of the pandemic and look forward to partnering with them as they execute the next phase of their journey,” he said.