Pula, an insurtech startup specializing in derisking millions of smallholder farmers across Africa, has announced that it has successfully raised a $6 million Series A funding round. The Series A round was led by TLcom Capital with participation from Women’s World Banking.

According to Pula, the new investment will help it to scale up operations in the company’s existing 13 markets across Africa (which include Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda & Uganda).

“When Thomas and I launched Pula in 2015, we had one goal in mind - to build and deliver scalable insurance solutions for Africa’s 700mn 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,” said Rose Goslinga, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Pula.

Insurance for African farmers

Through its partnerships with banks, governments, and agricultural input companies, Pula is at the center of an ecosystem that provides insurance to smallholder farmers and has amassed 50 insurance partners, as well as six reinsurance partners.

“Amid 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," added Goslinga.

In December 2020, the startup was named as the “InsurTech of the Year” at the African Insurance Awards 2020 held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Using machine learning

Pula offers what they call the Area Yield Index Insurance that leverages machine learning, crop cuts experiments, and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses to build products that cater for a variety of risks including drought, excessive rainfall, pests, and diseases.

The company’s key clientele include the likes of the World Food Programme, Central Bank of Nigeria, Zambian Government & the Kenyan Government. Pula has also launched an NDVI Livestock insurance as an offering for livestock farmers.

“In Pula, we found a company addressing a hugely underserved market in one of Africa’s key drivers of growth and with this, 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," said Maurizio Caio, Managing Partner and Founder at TLcom Capital.

As part of the terms of the Series A funding round, TLcom’s Senior Partner Omobola Johnson will join Pula’s Board of Directors.

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