Pula, an agricultural insurance and technology company, has closed a USD 20 million series B fundraising round that will help thousands of smallholder farmers in emerging markets gain access to insurance against floods, droughts, and other climate-related events.

BlueOrchard, a global impact investment manager, led the funding round via its InsuResilience strategy. The strategy aims to protect vulnerable people and microentrepreneurs in emerging markets from the effects of climate change by providing access to climate insurance.

Fundraising also came from IFC and the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). IFC’s financing is part of its $225 million venture capital platform launched in November 2022 to invest in early-stage companies that are advancing development through technological innovations.

Approximately 80% of smallholder farmers in the developing world lack access to formal insurance, with the number rising to a staggering 97% in Africa. Recognizing this pressing challenge, Pula has built a powerful network of over 100 partners, enabling them to reach a wide range of farmers.

By bundling insurance with other essential products like seeds and credit, Pula is making insurance more affordable and accessible than ever before. This strategy has positioned Pula as the largest insurtech in the climate and agricultural insurance space in Africa. Pula’s efforts have resulted in increased insurance adoption among farmers, who have never purchased insurance, empowering them to protect their livelihoods. The USD 20 million Series B fundraising will enable Pula to scale its operations and significantly expand its reach over the next 5 years.

Since its inception, Pula has partnered with over 70 insurance, 20 reinsurance companies, and 100 distribution partners across the globe to deliver their innovative insurance solutions. This has also helped to develop the capacity of local insurance and reinsurance players to understand and underwrite agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers. Currently, Pula’s main markets span across Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and they are expanding their presence in Asia and Latin America. These markets are managed from Switzerland and coordinated from the Kenya service center.

“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. What started 9 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. We are particularly excited to be working with BlueOrchard, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IFC and Hesabu to benefit from their industry expertise and networks as we grow to fulfill our joint ambition of more resilient and climate secure food systems,” said Thomas Njeru, CEO and Co-Founder of Pula.

“What sets Pula apart is their innovative business model, leveraging artificial intelligence, on the ground data collection mechanisms, mobile-based registration systems, remote sensing, and end-to-end automation tools. Their digital platform has enabled them to expand into new geographies with ease and efficiency, all while keeping setup costs low. The Pula team has an unrivaled track record in the agricultural insurance space and is deeply aligned with our mission and strategy,” said Richard Hardy, Private Equity Investment Director Africa at BlueOrchard.

“By combining disruptive digital platforms with crucial agriculture insurance, we can improve the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers across Africa and boost food security. IFC is investing in Pula to make insurance for farmers in Africa more accessible and affordable, so it works for them,” said Mary Porter Peschka, IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

“Hesabu Capital invests in fast growing tech-enabled companies that are looking to scale and we believe that Pula strongly fits this mandate. Pula is an innovator in the global insurtech sector which has developed ground-breaking climate risk cover for small scale farmers and aggregates the insurance cover for these farmers which is then underwritten by Insurance and Reinsurance Companies. We look forward to partnering with Pula to facilitate their growth and enable them to achieve their market potential,” said Kitili Mbathi, Managing Director, Hesabu Capital.

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