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  • Papama Nyati

Nigerian insurtech startup secures $450k in pre-seed funding

Nigerian insurtech startup Curacel, an AI-powered platform for claims processing and fraud management in Africa, has secured US$450,000 in pre-seed funding to accelerate product development and expansion across the continent.

How Curacel reinvented itself to fill a gap

Formed in 2017 in Nigeria, by Henry Mascot, Curacel set out to understand how intelligent software can free up huge value to deliver better healthcare systems.

Initially, Curacel was an electronic health information management system for clinics. Its web application helped clinics digitize their paper records, manage their records, appointments, patient communications, billing and reporting with an easy to use dashboard. But it soon realised it was targeting the wrong customers. CEO, Henry Mascot learned from insurance executives that almost a quarter of all pay-outs they made were for fraudulent, wasteful or abusive claims. This became a new found opportunity for Curacel to demonstrate the power of intelligent software to transform how entire industries deal with such challenges.

The best thing about Curacel was that it was born from a client request. So aside from being guided to the market gap, we basically had our first customer signed for the initial pilot and have since signed further partnerships,” says the CEO.

Gaining momentum

With its new found market segment, Curacel helps insurers in emerging markets increase the reach and functionality of insurance through cloud-based tools and APIs. CLAIMS, its flagship product, functions as a bridge between primary care hospitals and Africa’s insurance companies. This AI-powered platform that enables insurers to automate claims seamlessly and track fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA). This eased process ensures that insurance companies only pay out claims for the correct treatment, appropriate medication, and recommended patient therapies. Curacel charges a per claim fee for processing and incorporates a value-based pricing model for its fraud prevention business. The startup already works with some of the biggest insurers on the continent, including AXA Mansard, Liberty Health and Old Mutual, as well as more than 800 hospitals in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda. It plans to expand into 10 new African countries by the end of 2021.

Curacel has previously secured venture capital, after having participated in business acceleration programmes such as Startupbootcamp AfriTech, MEST, FbStart, Startup Chile, Dubai 100 and the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub). The startup has announced on 30 March that they have raised US$450 000 in a pre-seed round - led by Atlantica Ventures and Consonance with participation from Kepple Africa Ventures and other African angel investors.

IK Kanu, Partner at Atlantica Ventures comments on the investment: “The African insurance market represents a significant growth opportunity and we are delighted to be partnering with Curacel to drive growth in this sector. There is an opportunity to create an entirely new market of products and services here and we look forward to supporting the team to improve health outcomes across the continent.”

Accelerating new products and new frontiers

According to reports issued by Curacel, the funding will be used to accelerate their new product, “Curacel Capital”, and overall, their expansion across Africa. The Curacel Capital product is a cash advance product that enables healthcare providers easy and quick access to working capital to assist during financially challenging periods. According to the insurtech, delayed payments from patients and other inefficiencies often lead to unbalanced books and not being able to provide suitable healthcare to patients. Curacel Capital allows healthcare providers to access lump sums of up to three times their average monthly billings through the Curacel portal. This provides afloat for healthcare providers to continue to deliver essential services without any disruption.

Curacel’s capital raise will help it to accelerate their expansion across Africa and facilitate its goal of becoming Africa’s premier provider of embedded finance technology for insurance. CEO Henry Mascot asserts, “At Curacel, we are uniquely positioned to safeguard livelihoods and increase the quality of life through our unique, market-leading products and services,” said Curacel co-founder and chief executive officer.


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