OKO a Mali based insurtech startup has secured a US$500,000 seed extension round and also announced plans to launch in Ivory Coast with existing partners Orange, Allianz and Touton.
The extension round came from global impact-tech accelerator Katapult, along with three business angels – Guillaume Leenhardt (CEO at Gentle Finance), Henry Allard (CEO of Filhet-Allard Maritime), and Lionel Dorie founding partner of Augusta Energy Group). OKO’s seed investment was secured in April 2021 and was worth US$1.2 million.
“Ivory Coast has always been a priority market for us, so when we saw the opportunity to launch OKO there this year, we jumped on it. We are bringing strong partners to make this expansion a success and we have big ambitions for the months to come,” said Simon Schwall, Co-founder and CEO of OKO.
The startup was founded in 2017 amid a severe drought and hence ventured into crop insurance to smallholder farmers to ensure that their incomes are secure in the event of extreme weather. The company’s mission is to promote farmers’ economic resilience and empowerment.
OKO depends on satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate risk-assessment, premiums and claim management. Such embedded technologies ensure that OKO can offer insurance products that are affordable, inclusive and efficient. Its policies average $20 per crop season. Farmers can access OKO’s products through from simple feature phones and pay in multiple installments through mobile money.
OKO saw an impressive 6x growth in the number of paying customers from 2020 to 2021 and is continuing to expand its reach in 2022, with new crops covered, and new partnerships signed with financial institutions providing agricultural loans to insured farmers.
The startup operates in Mali and Uganda and has so far brought insurance to more than 15,000 farmers and is currently working towards a Series A.
OKO was recognized for its social impact and financial inclusion on the Inclusive Fintech 50 list and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s FinTech Showcase in 2019. It also won the ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 digital finance award.