Zurich/Nairobi, 15 April 2024

  • Pula is a trailblazer in the climate insurance space, specializing in insurance programmes for smallholder farmers [1] in emerging markets.
  • BlueOrchard’s InsuResilience strategy [2]  lead the capital round that includes investments from IFC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hesabu Capital, and existing shareholders.
  • Currently, Pula has been involved in agricultural insurance programmes in 22 countries, having protected more than 15 million smallholder farmers against climate risks.
  • Pula’s proprietary data and pricing capabilities give them a competitive advantage in the market, ensuring that farmers receive objective, verifiable, and timely payouts when they need them most.

Agricultural insurance and technology company Pula today announced that it 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.

The funding round was led by BlueOrchard, a global impact investment manager and member of the Schroders Group, via its InsuResilience strategy. The aim of the strategy is 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 adoption of insurance among farmers, who have previously never purchased insurance, empowering them to protect their livelihoods. The USD 20 million Series B fundraise will enable Pula to scale its operations and significantly expand its reach over the next 5 years.

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.

“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.

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.

[1] Smallholder farmers, defined as farmers that hold less than 2 hectares of land and live on USD 2 per day or less.

[2] The strategy is established on behalf of the German government by KfW.




For further information, please contact:

For BlueOrchard Finance Ltd

Tahmina Theis, Head of Communications
+41 22 596 47 69


Devon Maylie
Phone: +1 202 948 6397
E-mail: dmaylie@ifc.org

About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd

BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager and member of the Schroders Group. As a pioneering impact investor, the firm is dedicated to generating lasting positive impact for communities and the environment, while aiming at providing attractive returns to investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments worldwide. Today, the firm offers impact investment solutions across asset classes, connecting millions of entrepreneurs in emerging and frontier markets with investors with the aim to make impact investment solutions accessible to all and to advance the conscious use of capital. Being a professional investment manager and expert in innovative blended finance mandates, BlueOrchard has a sophisticated international investor base and is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. To date, BlueOrchard has invested over USD 11 billion across more than 100 countries. As of December 2023, BlueOrchard has supported over 300 million people in emerging and frontier markets with its investments. For additional information, please visit: www.blueorchard.com.

About IFC

IFC — a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2023, IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
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