Pula is an InsureTech that originated from Kenya and describes itself as being at the centre of an ecosystem that helps small farmers to manage their risk while providing digital solutions and insurance. Pula has charged itself with the onus of providing agricultural insurance to smallholder farmers across the continent of Africa. It was founded in 2015 by Thomas Njeru and Rose Goslinga and has done quite well since then.
The startup has just concluded its Series A funding round and was able to raise the sum of $6 million. Pula aims to manage the risk associated with small-scale farming like climate change, crop diseases, unknown pest species, etc., that farmers face. Technological input in farming is still quite poor in Africa, and this is the problem that Pula has identified and aims to solve. Pula wants to introduce insurance and technology to smallholder farmers who have been going through the associated risks of small-scale agriculture by introducing them into its world of technology and insurance.
The topic of insurance is not one that can be heard of often in Africa. As at 2017, it was estimated that insurance penetration in Africa was only 2.8 percent. This is most definitely poor, and it is even poorer when the agricultural sector alone is considered. Because of this, it might be quite hard to convince farmers to purchase insurance.
Pula’s products are categorized into three and covers challenges as major as excessive rainfalls and drought. One of these products designed for farmers by Pula is the Weather Index Insurance and with this ‘farmers are able to register for insurance at the point of purchase, and their names, phone numbers and details are recorded in Pula’s digitalised system for future claims purposes’.
One feature that makes Pula stand apart from other firms that are in its line of business is the fact that instead of using the traditional farm visits for its predictions and judgement, the Kenya based firm uses data gotten from analysis run by technology. The firm makes use of satellite imagery to predict occurrences. Another feature that makes the startup very attractive is the fact that it partners with banks and seed companies, therefore it doesn’t sell insurance directly to the farmers. Banks give farmers the insurance cover while giving them loans, while seed companies do this when they sell seeds to these farmers. With this method, Pula has been able to insure about 185,000 farmers in Kenya and Rwanda since it started.
The company has plans of expanding to Latin America and Asia and with its new funding, should be able to achieve its dreams of expansion soon.