Kenyan insurtech Lami raises $3.7M to fast-track expansion plans


 Kenyan insurtech Lami Technologies has raised $3.7M seed extension .The latest funding adds to the $1.8 million seed funding the insurtech raised last year.The fund will be used to hire, fast-track its expansion plans, and to drive underwriter partnerships. .

The funding round was led by Harlem Capital. Other investors that participated in the round includes early-stage VC firm Newtown Partners, Peter Bruce-Clark, a partner at New York’s research-driven venture capital company Social Impact Capital, Caribou Honig and Jay Weintraub of InsureTech Connect, a networking platform for insurtech innovators, and senior members from Exotix Advisory, a corporate finance and mergers and acquisition boutique focused on emerging markets. 

 Lami’s founder and CEO, Jihan Abass announced plans to offer additional insurance product lines, and also revealed that the startup has made an entry into Egypt and Nigeria.

Abass also announced the appointment of its CFO, Roy Perlot, who has been with the insurtech since 2020, as a co-founder.

The startup’s API allows entities like banks to offer digital insurance products to their customers. Lami has also integrated its API with over 15 entities in various sectors, including logistics, e-commerce, banking and fintech.

Since its entry to the market in January 2020, with a consumer facing product, Griffin insurance, arguably the first digital car insurance platform. It then pivoted to offer a product agnostic API platform that powers digital insurance products. This has helped it grow its portfolio to 85,000 from 70,000 policies at the end of 2021, and quadrupled the premiums underwritten to $800,000 last year . The company is expected to grow to over $2 million this year.

The expected growth will largely be fueled by increasing partnerships and product lines, and the aggressive expansion plans it embarked on this year when it entered Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after acquiring Bluewave.

The acquisition helped Lami to tap Bluewave’s clientele and technologies that enable access to micro-insurance products through diverse channels like USSD and WhatsApp chatbots.

Abass anticipates more growth opportunities with additional partnerships from tech-enabled businesses and as more insurance companies digitize.

“On the technology side we want to cater to the entire insurance ecosystem. So, it’s not only the digital platforms that want to sell insurance products, but also to help existing players be more efficient in their distribution of products, allowing them to play a role in increasing the insurance penetration level. This includes agents and brokers , we are looking into how we can empower them to sell more policies,” she said.

Harlem Capital principal Gabby Cazeau said: “We believe the next wave of fintech will embed financial products and services like insurance into a customer’s purchase experience. Lami’s approach to serving people through strategic partners in e-commerce and finance is the best way to build trust with users and deliver insurance in a seamless, accessible way to Africans across the continent.”

Among Lami’s partners is buy now pay later startup Lipa Later, which it supports through insurance against payment default for the financed products. The insurtech works with Sendy too to enable freight carriers in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) to access transit insurance on per-trip basis, and also with Kwara to make insurance products accessible to the over 60,000 SACCO (credit union) members. Other clients are e-commerce platform Jumia, retail B2B and end-to-end distribution platform, MarketForce, and Stanbic Bank Insurance – which uses Lami’s technology to power bancassurance products.