Michael Joseph, former chief executive of Safaricom, has been appointed board chairman of agriculture insurance startup Pula Advisors, effective September 19.
As the company’s first CEO, Mr Joseph helped Safaricom grow from having 18,000 subscribers in 2000 to over 17 million by the time he retired in 2010.
His goals are in line with those of Pula, and he has extensive expertise and knowledge of growing businesses in African markets. He is now in a prime position to guide Pula’s expansion into new markets for smallholder farmers’ insurance.
Currently, Mr Joseph is a board member of the Nairobi-based insurance technology startup. Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru launched the business in 2015, and it offers crop insurance to small-scale farmers in Kenya and 15 other African countries.
Thomas Njeru, Pula co-founder and CEO said that “Michael will bring a wealth of skills and industry knowledge to Pula. Throughout his career, he has been committed to seeing small businesses in Africa succeed on the global stage.”
Thomas added that his aspirations match those of Pula, and he has a wealth of expertise in growing businesses in African markets. This provides him in a prime position to drive Pula’s expansion of smallholder farmer insurance in new markets.
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) assessment of the top 100 global companies with the potential to significantly impact both business and society included Pula earlier this year. The business was recognised for its creativity in utilising technology to offer crop insurance to millions of smallholder farmers in developing markets.
The company raised Ksh660 million in a Series A fundraising in 2020 to support its expansion in Kenya and outside of Africa. Over 6.5 million smallholder farmers in 16 different countries have been insured by Pula through its flagship Area Yield Index Insurance product.
“The relationship between agriculture and technology excites me, especially how technology can be used to increase smallholder farmers’ productivity and incomes,” said Mr Joseph regarding his appointment, adding, “I have always been interested in using technology to transform people’s lives for the better.
Mr Joseph holds multiple executives and non-executive roles within the larger Vodafone Group including at Safaricom where he is still serving on the board.
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