Curacel secures $3 million seed funding to power new insurance experiences, expand into North Africa
Curacel, Africa’s leading insurance infrastructure provider, has raised $3 million in seed funding to roll out new technology solutions designed to power the next generation of insurance experiences in Africa. The new funding will also support the company’s expansion into North Africa.
The seed funding round included Tencent, AAF Management (invested in Sure, Flutterwave), Elefund (invested in Robinhood, Pie Insurance and Sure), Blue Point Capital Partners, Pioneer Fund, Olive Tree Capital and Y Combinator, as well as James Park (CEO of Fitbit), Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola (CEO of Flutterwave), Babs Ogundeyi (CEO of Kuda) and other strategic investors. Top executives from Covergenius, Zopper and Pie Insurance will also join Curacel’s advisory board as part of the round.
The combination of a fast growing population, a rising middle class and increasing access to financial services across the continent means more Africans have the opportunity to experience a wider range of products and services. From buying cars to accessing accommodation, these experiences come with various risks and insurance companies play a huge role in making it easier to manage the risks and enjoy these experiences with confidence. However, with insurance penetration across the continent still under 3 percent, many Africans are having to take on these entirely by themselves.
At the same time, the paper-based approach and antiquated technology that powers many insurers’ processes is time-consuming, unduly expensive and prone to fraud and waste. African insurers lose more than $12 billion per year to fraudulent, wasteful and abusive claims, which makes them understandably cautious and risk-averse with the customer they choose to serve.
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Curacel makes it easier for insurers to distribute their products, automate their claims processes, and drive revenue growth by giving them easy-to-use technology solutions that have been specifically designed to drive up insurance inclusion on the continent. With Grow, Curacel’s embedded insurance product, more than 100 banks, fintechs, logistics companies and other tech-enabled companies, including ALAT (Nigeria’s first digital bank), Providus, PalmPay, Float, etc and others are empowered to increase their recurring revenues by offering digital insurance products that are seamlessly embedded into their existing products and services, driving much-needed insurance penetration and customer loyalty.
Leading insurers like AXA Mansard, Liberty Health, Old Mutual and Jubilee Heath also leverage Curacel’s market leading technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of their claims processes. The company’s AI-powered infrastructure means claims can be submitted and processed in real time, helping insurers to reduce their claims cycle by more than 70 percent and process up to 10x more claims.
Curacel has processed more than $100 million worth of claims, working with more than 20 insurers and more than 5,000 service providers in 8 countries across the continent. In 2022, Curacel grew its transaction volume by 600 percent and increased its revenue by 500 percent. Starting with Egypt and Morocco, the new funding will enable the company to roll out its services in North Africa and deepen its presence in other parts of the continent.
According to Henry Mascot, CEO and co-founder of Curacel, “We are bullish on the potential of the right technology in the right places to close the protection gap across Africa and emerging markets. It is an exciting time for us as we secure the capital to deliver the vision and onboard the people who have built these technologies at scale in more mature markets, and we are looking forward to delivering more technology solutions to drive up insurance inclusion.”
Omar Darwazah, Managing Director and General Partner at AAF Management, said “at less than 3%, the insurance penetration rate in Africa is one of the lowest in the world, presenting an incredible market opportunity for Henry and the team at Curacel to bridge that insurance gap. We are excited to participate in the company’s Seed round and join Curacel’s mission in building easy-to-use technology solutions for insurers to distribute their products on the continent.”
Serik Kaldykulov, General Partner at Elefund, said “Africa remains a relatively untapped market when it comes to insurance and technology presents the best opportunity to reach new users and deliver excellent services. Curacel has built a suite of solutions and an impressive track record of success that makes us very excited to be supporting them on their mission to use technology to drive up insurance inclusion in Africa.”
AWIEF Opens Registration for its 2023 Africa Conference
AWIEF 2022 Conference held in Cairo, Egypt (Image: Supplied)
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has announced the opening of registration for its annual conference and awards. This year is the 9th edition of the prestigious AWIEF event, and it will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre (KCC), Kigali, Rwanda, on 9 and 10 November 2023.
AWIEF has become Africa’s leading entrepreneurship, innovation and technology platform, bringing together more than 1,300 entrepreneurs and startups, industry experts, thought leaders, policy drivers, and change-makers from across Government, Corporate and Development sectors for impactful discussions and dialogue on new ideas, initiatives, strategies, and solutions to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, digitization, intra-Africa trade, investing, food security, climate action and sustainability and, ultimately, economic and social transformation in Africa.
Last year’s speakers included H. E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission, H. E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Solomon Quaynor, Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization, African Development Bank (AfDB), Jackie Jones, Director, Gender Equality Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Izabela Milewska, Digital Skills Global Leader, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Sponsors included Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AWS, Afreximbank, Sparkle, and Africa Europe Foundation. AWIEF 2023 will be a fully in-person event, coming back to its full glory since 2020 when COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to go virtual and hybrid.
AWIEF Founder and CEO, Irene Ochem, said: “We are excited to be bringing the 9th edition of our annual conference to East Africa for the first time and especially Kigali, one of the most exciting cities in Africa right now. We are looking forward to advancing our efforts in connecting the African and global entrepreneurship ecosystem in this significant hub for business, technology, and innovation.”
All AWIEF 2023 participants, attending the event from outside Rwanda, are eligible for a visa upon arrival without prior application. Citizens of African Union, Commonwealth and La Francophonie member countries can obtain free visas upon arrival for a visit of 30 days.
AVEVA Partners with Azule Energy to drive Digital Transformation
AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software, driving innovation and sustainability, has partnered with Azule Energy, Angola’s largest independent oil and gas operator, to drive digital excellence throughout the firm’s operations. The partnership agreement will enable Azule Energy – a 50/50 Joint Venture backed by bp and Eni – to reduce costs, improve safety and unlock new production opportunities using AVEVA’s cloud, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and digital twin technologies.
Moreover, the partnership will help cut the time spent searching for key asset information, improve maintenance planning, reduce offshore trips and visits, enhance team collaboration, and facilitate remote operations. Azule Energy boasts a strong pipeline of new projects that are scheduled to support the energy needs of Angola’s growing economy and strengthen its role as a global liquified natural gas (LNG) exporter.
Digital Twin Spans Entire Asset Lifecycle
AVEVA will deploy its digital twin software to connect data from every layer of the technology stack for one contextualized, multi-visual experience. In the first phase, AVEVA will focus on existing operations, implementing AVEVA Asset Information Management, AVEVA Information Standards Manager, and Assai Cloud for Operations – for two existing floating production storage and offloading units (FPSOs) in Block 18 (Greater Plutonio Development) and Block 31 (PSVM).
AVEVA’s digital twin technology is the only solution on the market that spans the entire asset lifecycle. The vendor-agnostic solution is scalable, integrated, and open. It unites engineering and enterprise data to create a true digital backbone that will bring industrial intelligence to Azule’s entire team, delivered via the cloud.
Peter Harriman, COO, Azule Energy, said: “We have signed a strategic contract with AVEVA to digitally transform our operations for optimized productivity, efficiency and safety. This partnership will enable Azule Energy to achieve our goal of establishing a world-class operation.”
Caspar Herzberg, CEO, AVEVA, commented: “The move to AVEVA SaaS will empower Azule Energy to innovate and remotely collaborate across teams regarding their FPSO assets. The vessels are located a long distance offshore, which represents a significant challenge to operations. Using data-led insights, Azule’s team will be able to breakdown silos and deepen collaboration between onshore and FPSO teams, using their combined insight to streamline processes and accelerate delivery.“
Herzberg added: “AVEVA’s industry leading visualization technology will further enable Azule Energy to deliver faster and at scale. AVEVA is the only provider to supply a fully integrated solution that can be developed quickly and reliably. Together we are committed to providing secure, lower carbon energy to support Angola’s sustainable development.”
Baron & Cabot launches a portal to support the expansion of local real estate agencies in Africa
Baron & Cabot Managing Director, Mark Pearson
Baron and Cabot, a UK-based international real estate firm has launched a game-changing concept, a UK property portal that is offering a strategic expansion plan for real estate agencies in Africa. The innovative approach, is a first of its kind using AI technology to predict property prices and will allow real estate agents in Africa to sell properties, and earn in pounds, providing an unprecedented opportunity for growth and financial success.
Through this portal, real estate firms will get to de-risk their investments in international markets and gain access to a wide range of fully compliant properties. Baron & Cabot, with a reputation for being one of the top fastest-growing property companies in the world and transacting on around £100 million GBP per annum ($120 m) of UK property while having access to some of the best property developments in the UK, has been particularly successful in Africa due to inflation driving clients to move their money into GBP and Dollar to purchase assets.
“We are thrilled to be launching this innovative concept that will not only provide a platform for real estate agents in Africa to sell UK properties but will also create job opportunities and drive economic growth. We believe that by leveraging AI technology to predict property prices, we can provide our partners with a unique advantage and help them to achieve financial success. Our joint venture expansion plans are aimed at creating mutually beneficial partnerships that will bring value to all parties involved.” – Mark Pearson, Managing Director of Baron & Cabot.
In addition to providing agents with access to new revenue streams, Baron and Cabot’s property portal is also expected to create new job opportunities in the African market. The company is committed to providing its agents with comprehensive 2 to 4 week training and support to help them succeed in their new roles. This training will ensure that agents are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate the real estate market and take advantage of the opportunities that Baron and Cabot’s concept provides. Real estate will have the ability to reserve properties and Baron and Cabot will process the client through legal processes.
As part of its offering, Baron and Cabot will provide clients with mortgages anywhere in the world (excluding war zones), with mortgage rates lower than 6% and deposits below 35%, making it easier for clients to invest in UK properties.
Mark Pearson, Managing Director of Baron & Cabot, said, “Our management company boasts an impressive occupancy rate of over 99%, with properties awaiting new tenants for an average of only 10 days. This sets us apart from other cities around the world, where the average occupancy rate is only 70%. In addition, our AirBnb or short-term rental products have an average occupancy rate of over 70%, resulting in substantial rental returns and a secure investment. Our secret to success lies in our ability to identify high-demand areas with low supply, combined with exceptional management that keeps both our tenants and landlords satisfied.”
Baron and Cabot utilizes advanced machine learning and data processing to analyze millions of lines of data to identify the best investment locations and pockets of value for clients. With access to information such as the square footage of every property in England and every sold price of every residential property in the UK since 1997, along with economic forecasts, government investment plans, and knowledge of upcoming transport links for the next 5 years, Baron and Cabot is ahead of the curve when it comes to investments. This allows investors to benefit not only from the firm’s purchasing power and large discounts, but also from massive rental growth and capital growth.