Kenya-based startup Lami Technologies has raised a US$ 3.7m seed extension to expand its insurtech product across Africa.
The extension was led by Harlem Capital, an early-stage venture firm that invests in seed-stage tech-enabled startups, focused on minority and women founders. Participating in the round were early-stage venture capital 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 M&A boutique focused on emerging and developing markets.
It follows on last year’s US$ 1.8m round led by seed-stage investment firm Accion Venture Lab, which had the participation of AAIC, Consonance, P1 Ventures, Acuity Ventures, The Continent Venture Partners, and Future Africa.
Lami founder and CEO Jihan Abass says the additional funding will be used for business development, product and technology development, and expansion to other countries including Egypt, Nigeria, and Uganda.
“Lami is pioneering innovation in the insurance sector, and we are glad to have secured the right partners to help drive insurance uptake across Africa. We are looking to make insurance easily accessible to everyone on the continent, and we will continually be unveiling more products that confirm this resolve,” she said.
Harlem Capital said they were drawn to Lami by its diverse market scope and strategic approach to growth.
“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 ecommerce and finance is the best way to build trust with users and deliver insurance in a seamless, accessible way to Africans across the continent. Lami’s impressive growth to date shows that this resonates with customers and have a strong trajectory as they expand across the continent,” said Harlem Capital Principal Gabby Cazeau
“There are numerous societal vulnerabilities around the globe that will only be addressed by innovative, and technology-led solutions within this century. Lami’s products, many of which are accessible instantly, ushers Africa into a new and financially safer paradigm, a journey we’re passionate to be involved in,” added Peter Bruce-Clark.
Additionally, Lami has appointed its current CFO, Roy Perlot, as a co-founder. Perlot has been with the company since 2020 and has contributed to its growth having brought extensive strategic leadership with his in-depth experience across Africa.
Lami technologies was founded in 2018 to address the problem of low insurance uptake in Africa, which is driven by the slow pace of innovation in the sector, leaving the continent to contend with the sluggish and traditional paper-based systems.
Overall, the total insurance penetration in Africa stands at 2.78 percent, far below the global average of 7.23 percent, according to the African Insurance Organisation. This is despite research showing that expanding Africa’s lucrative insurance market could fast-track inclusive prosperity in the region.
Lami seeks to bridge the gap through technologies that make insurance affordable through ‘bite-sized’ premiums. For example, the company’s partnership with logistics start-up Sendy, led to the development of a cover that insures goods per trip with premiums starting at US$ 0.21 for goods valued at US$85. The product covers goods worth up to US$ 7,600. Claims through Lami are also processed in record time – under one week – against the 90-day average across the industry.
The startup has also been working with underwriters in different markets to create an all-risk cover for buy now pay later (BNPL) transactions. The cover, which was necessitated by the rising popularity of BNPL products in sub-Saharan Africa, insures against payment default through death, disability, job loss, and many other circumstances.
Further research led to the development of an insurance cover for consumer products like mobile phones, which can now be insured at the point of purchase through Lami’s e-commerce partners. This has been fast-tracked by the startup’s mission of developing efficient strategies for its partners to offer seamless and affordable insurance products to their people through its API platform.
Earlier this year, Lami integrated Bluwave’s microinsurance partnerships to its portfolio further enhancing its B2B2C capabilities through diverse channels as it expanded into Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a result, in the last three months, Lami has closed over 15 B2B2C partners split across human resource management, logistics and BNPL, with a combined reach of 3 million people.
Meanwhile, the increasing investment in Lami serves to encourage women founders of better days ahead, as it comes at a time when funding to female-led startups in Africa remains marginal compared to their male counterparts. As per McKinsey, women-owned tech startups raised just $1 for every $15 raised by African startups in 2021. More investment to companies like Lami, would quickly bring about the much-needed parity in funding.
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