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Kenya’s Pula gets $20 million Series B to offer insurance to 100 million farmers in Africa

  • Pula, a Kenyan insurtech startup, has secured $20 million in Series B funding to reach more farmers in Africa and establish new partnerships.
  • Global investment manager BlueOrchard led the funding round via its InsuResilience strategy. Other participants include the IFC”s $225 million venture capital platform, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hesabu Capital, and existing investors.
  • According to Pula, the investment will help the startup achieve its “triple 100 vision,” which aims to provide insurance to 100 million smallholder farmers.

Thomas Njeru and Rose Goslinga co-founded Pula in 2015 to assist small-scale farmers in obtaining agricultural insurance. The startup aims to protect farmers from losses caused by pests, diseases, and extreme weather conditions.

Pula reaches farmers in 22 countries through a distribution channel of over 100 partners, embedding insurance offers in farm input costs or credit via its digital actuary platform based on historical data such as weather patterns. It employs this strategy instead of selling insurance directly to farmers.

Banks, government agencies, and agricultural input companies are among the startup’s partners. Along with alliances with the World Food Programme and the German Development Bank KfW in Ethiopia, it has a long history of cooperation with the government of Zambia.

In Amhara, where wheat rust disease is increasing, Pula plans to step in with an insurance payout of roughly $800,000.

“Partnering with this group of like-minded investors to boost the growth of Pula globally is a very exciting milestone in driving our triple 100 vision, through which we intend to bring insurance to 100 million smallholder farmers,” stated Thomas Njeru, CEO of Pula, in response to the partnership. 

“What started nine years ago as an unconventional idea that many deemed un-scalable is now a proven solution that has solved real needs for millions of smallholder farmers across 22 countries.”

The startup reported an increased renewal rate with “80% of farmer groups and aggregators that buy Pula-developed insurance products from our partner insurers renewing the following year.” This growth reflects customer satisfaction with their products.

Following its success, it plans to introduce livestock covers in countries such as Kenya after completing a pilot programme that began in Nigeria last year. 

Pula closed a $6 million Series A investment in 2021, led by TLcom Capital and with participation from the nonprofit Women’s World Banking. It also received a $1 million seed investment from Rocher Participations in 2018, with additional support from Accion Venture Lab, Omidyar Network, and several angel investors.

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