Insuretech startup, OKO, raises $1.2 million to help expand offerings to more African markets

OKO, a Mali-based insuretech startup has announced that it has raised a seed investment of $ 1.2 million. The round was led by Newfund and ResiliAnce, with participation from Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa.

Founded in 2017, the startup provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa.

OKO currently operates in Mali and Uganda and uses satellite data and mobile payments to create automated insurance products for farmers whose fields are affected adversely by weather events- primarily droughts and floods.

With this funding, OKO aims to strengthen its presence in Mali and Uganda and expand its offerings to other African markets, starting with Ivory Coast.

“Agriculture is by far the largest source of occupation in Africa, with an estimated 33 million farms. And yet, farmers are deprived from basic financial services like insurance and loans” says Simon Schwall, founder of OKO. “We are using technology to solve this issue and secure the income of those farmers”.

The startup already has approximately 7,000 paying customers in Mali and compensated morethan 1,000 farmers last year, who were affected by floods. OKO also works with agro-industries to help them with their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers.

 “We believe recent advancement in iOT and data availability will lead to the rise of parametric insurance in Africa for the benefit of the local populations. Simon and his team have built solid bases in Mali from which OKO can now expand in new countries and offer new insurance products.” Said Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund.

Daniel Block from Mercy Corps Ventures added: “While other micro-insurance for farmers exist, we were impressed by OKO’s ability to partner with a pan-African operator like Orange and establish a direct consumer link, which allows for an exciting opportunity to drive deeper user engagement and expand to a suite of insurance products for rural farmers in the future