Cassava, Nigeria’s digital insurance company has secured $4 million in pre-seed funding to provide affordable and accessible insurance products for millions of Nigerians.
Starting with income protection and health insurance, the insurtech startup is leveraging artificial intelligence and behavioral science to deliver game-changing claims and benefits products. The new funds will support customer acquisition and growth, as well as further development of the product and the technology stack.
The funding round, the largest pre-seed round for an African insurtech to date, was led by Target Global with participation from Entrée Capital, Oliver Jung, Tom Blomfield (Founder of Monzo), and Ed Robinson and Brandon Krieg (Founders of Stash). African founders such as Uche Pedro (Founder of BellaNaija), Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha (Founders of Kuda), Shola Akinlade (Co-founder of Paystack), Olugbenga “GB” Agboola (Co-founder of Flutterwave), Honey Ogundeyi (Founder of Edukoya), Opeyemi Awoyemi (Co-founder of Jobberman) and others also participated in the round.
Casava is led by Bode Pedro, a veteran entrepreneur that has built many successful companies, including Veda Technology, one of Nigeria’s premier computer hardware manufacturers. Segun Makinde, former VP at JPMorgan Chase and former Portfolio Manager for Nigeria at MEST Africa is the company’s Chief Operating Officer. The startup launched in April 2021 and already has more than 66,000 customers, with $16 million in insurance coverage. Casava is Nigeria’s first licensed microinsurance underwriter, creating insurance products that make it easier for income earners across the country to protect themselves against life’s unforeseen events, including job loss and health emergencies.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, around 20% of workers in Nigeria lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. With unemployment insurance unavailable in Nigeria, these workers are largely left to their own devices to make ends meet between jobs. With Casava Income Protection, subscribers can insure their income with an easy-to-use subscription that starts from as little as $1 a month and get paid monthly for 6 months if they lose their job, fall sick or become disabled. Subscribers can also add on Casava Health, which enables access to more than 1,000 doctors on telemedicine and 900 hospitals across Nigeria.
Consumers can subscribe to Casava’s insurance products directly via the website, mobile app, or WhatsApp. It will also be working with fintech and digital partners to embed insurance products into their offerings, accessing over 500,000 financial service agents to reach customers across the country. Casava will empower these agents to offer insurance and earn commissions from the customers from their customers on a recurring basis.
“Our mission is to provide affordable insurance for Nigerians and other Africans and we are happy to have raised these funds from an exciting group of investors, ” says Bode Pedro, Founder, and CEO of Casava, “With less than 1% of the country insured, Nigeria (and Africa) is an untapped insurance market. We want to address the barriers that hinder adoption and add value to consumers across the country.”
Commenting on the funding, Dr. Ricardo Schäfer, a partner at Target Global said, “Bode and the team have recognized a great opportunity to address a longstanding problem for many Nigerians and Africans and we are excited to support their mission to make insurance more accessible. One of the first of their kind in the region, Casava has the potential to transform the lives and livelihood of millions of people.”
“The Casava team has developed a unique and disruptive product that we believe has the potential to transform Africa’s insurance market,” adds Avi Eyal, General Partner at Entrée Capital. “We are confident in the Casava team that they have what it takes to be leaders in this field.”