Uganda: Oko Raises $1.2 Million to Bring Innovative Insurance to Smallholder Farmers in Africa

OKO, an Insurtech start-up that provides inclusive agricultural insurance to secure farmers’ income across Africa, has closed a Seed investment of $1.2 million.

The round was led by Newfund and ResiliAnce, Mercy Corps Venture, Techstars, ImpactAssets and RaSa also participated in the round.

The start-up which currently operates in Uganda and Mali 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 the new funding, OKO aims to strengthen its presence in Uganda and Mali and expand its offerings to more African markets, starting with Ivory Coast in West Africa.

“Agriculture is by far the largest source of occupation in Africa, with an estimated 33 million farms,” said Simon Schwall, founder of OKO.

“And yet, farmers are deprived from basic financial services like insurance and loans. We are using technology to solve this issue and secure the income of those farmers.”

The company already has approximately 7,000 paying customers in Mali and compensated more than 1,000 farmers last year, who were affected by floods. OKO’s customers typically grow maize, cotton, sesame or millet.

OKO also works with agro-industries to help them with their sustainability goals and secure their relationships with suppliers. Successful pilots were completed with ABInBev and Touton in Uganda.

This convinced Augustin Sayer, partner at Newfund, to support OKO: “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.