OKO, a Mali-based InsurTech which aims to promote economic resilience to farmers in emerging markets, has raised $500,000 in a seed extension round.
According to a report from TechMoran, the startup has also announced its plans to launch in the Ivory Coast with existing partners Orange, Allianz and Touton.
The extension round was led by Katapult, alongside three business angels, Guillaume Leenhardt (CEO at Gentle Finance), Henry Allard (CEO of Filhet-Allard Maritime), and Lionel Dorie founding partner of Augusta Energy Group). OKO’s seed investment in April 2021 was worth $1.2m.
Founded in 2017, the startup uses satellite imagery and weather forecasting technology to automate risk assessment, premiums and claim management. OKO strives to make its insurance products efficient, easy to access, and affordable. Its policies average $20 per crop season.
Although climate risks are not new to farming, OKO highlights that smallholder farmers traditionally have very limited options to mitigate these risks. OKO’s insurance, by providing immediate financial support to farmers who have been exposed to adverse weather, is helping them reimburse their credits, maintain their lifestyle and prepare for the next season.
The company said it also promotes financial inclusion, its insured farmers have a reduced risk of defaulting and so its partners with micro-finance institutions to offer OKO customers easier access to loans.
OKO currently operates in Mali, bringing insurance to more than 15,000 farmers.
The company has plans to expand. Simon Schwall, co-founder and CEO of OKO, said, “Ivory Coast has always been a priority market for us, so when we saw the opportunity to launch OKO there this year, we jumped on it. We are bringing strong partners to make this expansion a success and we have big ambitions for the months to come.”
This is an area that some InsurTechs are looking to create a positive social and economical impact with their technology. The Lemonade Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Lemonade, recently announced that it is to offer climate insurance to protect subsistence farmers via its Crypto Climate Coalition.
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