Swiss Startup Pula Announces Seed Round

Insurance startup Pula announced that it has closed a seed funding round to provide insurance to farmers in Africa and South Asia. The round was led by Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of financial inclusion leader Accion, with participation from Omidyar Network, Mulago Foundation, Choiseul Africa Capital, Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund, and several angel investors.

Started in 2015, Pula partners with Fortune 500 companies, global NGOs, microfinance institutions, research institutions, and governments to bundle insurance with seed, fertilizer, credit, and other farm inputs purchased by smallholder farmers, providing them with income stability. The partnership model enables Pula to reach large populations of farmers across several countries, and the bundling allows farmers to purchase and access quality high-yielding inputs and credit. It has scaled its insurance offering across nine countries in Africa and South Asia. In 2017, Pula facilitated insurance coverage to more than 600,000 farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, and is currently piloting a new program in India.

Pula uses satellite data and farm yield measurements to understand how weather patterns affect a smallholder farmer’s yield, and uses this information to automate compensation in case of loss. Also, the company provides farmers with targeted agronomic advice via SMS messaging to help them grow more from their existing landholdings.

“We are thrilled to welcome our new partners to the Pula team. Their collective support, global expertise, and diverse industry knowledge will strengthen our approach as we target to insure the 1.5 billion previously unbanked and uninsured smallholder farmers worldwide” – cofounder and CEO of Pula, Rose Goslinga.

“Two-thirds of the world’s working poor make their living in agriculture, but reaching them can be a challenging and expensive task for insurers. Pula offers farmers a safety net that reduces risk and makes higher-yielding inputs and insurance affordable” – President and CEO of Accion, Michael Schlein.