Pula is a Nairobi-based Kenyan insurtech startup targeting smallholder farmers who make up 80% of the food supply across Africa and Asia. The startup has closed a $6 million Serie A investment led by TLcom Capital, an early stage pan African VC firm. There was notable participation from the non-profit Women’s World Banking.
Pula was founded in 2015 by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru with the intent of providing smallholder farmers with agricultural insurance and other digital products. Most of these farmers are vulnerable to 90% reported losses in productivity due to pest outbreaks or severe drought.
Most farmers lack any form of insurance for their produce, meaning any loss in crops results in the loss of a similar amount. Insurance cover on crop produce leaves most farmers at the mercy of unpredictable climatic conditions. They are more likely to invest in better inputs and farm equipment to increase their yield.
The startup is banking on a large wiggle room for growth given the continent has 17% of the world’s arable land yet lags behind in the value of agricultural insurance premiums – less than 1%. Pula is trying to solve this problem by employing technology and data. Pula relies on its Area Yield Index Insurance product to leverage machine learning, crop cut experiments, and other data points that relate to weather patterns and farm losses in building products that cater to certain risks.
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