New Podcast: A Conversation With Ted Pantone, Turaco’s Founder & CEO On Scaling Up Affordable Mobile-First Insurtech Offerings For Underserved Low-Income Consumers In Africa.

This is a conversation I had with Ted Pantone who is the founder of an innovative and potentially disruptive insurtech startup called Turaco. Ted has worked for many years in Kenya and Uganda and at one point he was the founder of the Ugandan Franchise of Pizza Hut as well as running development projects in water and sanitation in Western Kenya for the Gates Foundation.

Ted has a passion for looking for solutions to big problems in Africa given the various work experiences he has had on the continent. This is what led him to realize that there was a big gap in Africa with regard to access to Insurance for the mass market. This is a really big problem that means that many people and families suffer incredibly difficult circumstances due to not having a myriad of insurance services when they need them the most.

Turaco offers a novel approach to the insurance problem in markets like Kenya and Uganda as well as Nigeria in the near future by providing affordable and accessible insurance that can be delivered via mobile channels. Turaco targets underserved customers and low-income earners by embedding its service as a white-labeled offering that is bundled with a partner’s core product or service while integrating with their existing payment processes to collect premiums. Turaco acts as a distributor, broker, and interface between the insurance underwriter and customers.

Turaco has a robust API integration that offers easy collaboration with its external partners, enabling business partners to integrate insurance into their products and services efficiently and at no additional risk or cost. An example of this approach is how Turaco is doing so with a mobile network in Kenya designed to work on even the most basic of feature phones using technologies like USSD so that basic mobile access is indeed the common denominator.

Turaco recently raised a US$ 10M Series A equity round led by AfricInvest, via the Cathay Africinvest Innovation Fund, and existing investor, Novastar Ventures. This funding will enable Turaco to expand its geographical footprint and deepen its insurance service offerings across the African continent into populous markets like Nigeria where it can potentially onboard millions of new customers for its offerings via strategic business partnerships. Some of the key customers that Turaco serves in Kenya and Uganda for instance are Sun King, One Acre Fund, Tugende, and M-KOPA.

One of the key things I learned is that Ted hopes that Turaco can onboard as many as a billion customers onto its platform! At the same time, Turaco’s insurance claims processing takes only a matter of minutes given that it’s largely a technology-driven process. Turaco can be disruptive in that many low-income earners in Africa could become insured for the very first time at scale in a way that has never been done before. This could be a mobile money moment in the same way that Safaricom’s wildly successful M-Pesa transformed financial inclusion for consumers in Kenya and Tanzania. Have a listen and I hope you enjoy our conversation @ https://bit.ly/3FuzdHE

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