OKO, a Mali-based insurtech startup has received $1.2M in seed investment from Newfund and ResiliAnce. Other participants in the round were Mercy Corps Ventures, ImpactAssets, Techstars, and RaSa.
OKO currently operates in Uganda and Mali while relying on satellite data and mobile money payments to create automated insurance products targeting farmers whose fields are affected adversely by weather conditions such as floods and droughts.
In the new partnership, OKO will strengthen its Mali and Uganda presence, while expanding to other markets such as Ivory Coast. OKO’s founder Simon Schwall, pointed to agriculture as the largest source of occupation across Africa. He pointed out the continents estimated 33 million farmers who most are deprived of basic financial services like loans and insurance.
Daniel Block an Investment principal at Mercy Corps Ventures expressed optimism at “OKO’s ability to partner” with other pan African operators like Orange. This helps establish a direct link allowing for deeper user engagement expanding a suite of insurable products to rural farmers for the future.
Thus far, the company has over 7,000 paying customers across Mali and has managed to compensate 1,000 more last year alone who were affected by floods. Most of OKO’s customers grow millet, cotton, maize, or sesame.
During its entry into Mali, OKO partnered with Développement International DESJARDINS and SOCODEVI (FARM) in a cooperation that would run till 2020 when they were expected to have achieved self-sufficiency.
In 2018, OKO participated in the 15-weeks Barclays Accelerator program in Tel Aviv, powered by Techstars, as one of 10 promising fintech startups. Later in the year, the team bagged the Orange Social Venture Award for Africa & the Middle East. In 2019, OKO was awarded at the Luxembourg fintech awards, later on, the company signed a 3-year contract with Allianz Africa for the development of a crop-based insurance product across Africa.