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Kenyan Insurtech Lami’s Attempt to Acquire Bluewave Fails


In February of the previous year, Kenyan insurtech firm Lami Technologies had initially announced its intent to acquire Bluewave, a fellow startup in the insurance sector. This move aimed to expand Lami’s range of products and facilitate its entry into new African markets. However, recent developments have revealed that the acquisition deal ultimately did not materialize.

Exclusive information obtained by TechCrunch indicates that at the time of the initial announcement regarding the acquisition, Lami and Bluewave had entered into a two-year “strategic partnership agreement.” It was only later that discussions regarding a potential purchase emerged. Adelaide Odhiambo, the founder of Bluewave, clarified that the groundwork for the acquisition had been laid, contingent on the successful closure of Lami’s fundraising campaign, which had gained momentum during the same period. Lami subsequently secured a $3.7 million seed extension round, with Harlem Capital leading the investment efforts.

Odhiambo, who took on the role of Head of Partnerships at Lami, revealed that the terms of the agreement, including the acquisition cost, changed, leading her to disengage from the arrangement in August of the previous year. Meanwhile, Bluewave had granted Lami access to its technology and had onboarded partners and staff members in accordance with the established agreement.

Lami refrained from providing a statement.

According to Odhiambo’s account to TechCrunch, Bluewave initially entered into negotiations with a strong commitment to finalizing the deal with Lami. Regrettably, the discussions did not yield an agreement on the commercial terms for an acquisition. Nevertheless, they have maintained the strategic partnership agreement, which is now approaching its conclusion, as stated by Odhiambo.

Lami boasts a comprehensive digital insurance platform complete with an API, empowering businesses across various industries to craft customized insurance solutions for their clientele. Established in 2018 by CEO Jihan Abass, the company welcomed Roy Perlot as a co-founder and CFO the previous year.

On the other hand, Bluewave, inaugurated in 2016, has engineered an online platform enabling clients to access an array of micro-insurance offerings through various channels, including USSD, SMS, WhatsApp chatbots, and web applications.

Last year, at the time of the acquisition announcement, Abbas mentioned that Lami would seamlessly integrate with Bluewave’s platform, enhancing its B2B2C offerings. Additionally, Lami had plans to leverage Bluewave’s extensive reach to expand into new markets, including Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Odhiambo has indicated that the two-year agreement with Lami is set to conclude in January 2024. When asked about the decision to let the deal run its course, Odhiambo explained that she initiated these partnerships and was keen on maintaining a solid relationship with them. She emphasized that Bluewave is now gearing up for a relaunch to pick up where the company left off. Bluewave has also solidified partnerships with aggregators, such as Mobile Network Operators and banks, to distribute micro-insurance products across various East and Southern African countries.




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