Jumo is a disruptive fintech business that is rapidly reshaping how ethical financial products reach consumers and SMEs in emerging markets. Its mission is to build and operate inclusive digital banking marketplaces to advance financial inclusion for the 80 per cent of the world’s population who are excluded or underserved by traditional financial services.
Advancing inclusive access to and usage of affordable formal financial services is vital to promoting vital financial health, economic empowerment, financial stability and sustainable growth. Yet emerging markets have negligible penetration of formal financial services: savings is chronically underdeveloped and the majority of the world’s 2 billion unbanked adults are found in low- and middle-income emerging markets.
By contrast, digital and mobile network operators offer highways into these markets – a road that JUMO is traveling at high speed. By creating a customer-centric platform that enables the distribution of leading-edge financial offerings instantly and on-mobile, JUMO is generating access at an unprecedented rate. So far JUMO has analysed more than 33 terabytes of data to serve more than nine million customers in seven countries across Africa and Asia, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Zambia and Pakistan. 100% of its customers are estimated to be low-income, earning less than $10 per day PPP, and approximately 80% have never interacted with formal financial offerings before using the platform. The company has extensive expansion plans for both Africa and now Asia, with CEO and Founder, Andrew Watkins-Ball having relocated to Singapore to drive expansion.
As an investor partner, LeapFrog’s financial services expertise is being used for product design and multi-country rollouts, to turbocharge Jumo’s growth and spur financial inclusion across Africa.
In 2017 Jumo won the MasterCard Foundation’s third annual Clients at the Centre Prize. The US$150,000 prize recognises the innovative work of the South African-based company as a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that serves low-income people.
LeapFrog’s first investment was in AllLife, a South African company that is quietly turning the life insurance customer model on its head. AllLife has built a profitable business by offering affordable life cover to people living with HIV, people who once were automatically excluded on the basis on carrying the virus that leads to AIDS. More than this, AllLife actively helps clients manage their health. LeapFrog has worked closely with the business, in underwriting, product design and operations.
“We contact our clients every month,” says Ross Beerman, the irrepressible CEO of AllLife, “reminding them to stay healthy, do their blood tests and take their medication. Our clients get healthier just by being our clients.” This is not just a claim. AllLife clients average a 15% improvement in their CD4 count (an immune system marker) within six months of being insured.
Where other life assurers might decline or avoid insuring people with dread diseases, AllLife backs their clients to live – and then helps them to do so. The practical, psychological and social impacts of this are profound. People with HIV are now able to take out loan finance, build their lives and participate in the community. And a significant side effect is the reduction in the stigma around HIV/AIDS.
While AllLife’s social impact is considerable, this is a profitable business, one that has seen 50% growth year-on-year, since being founded in 2004. Its sustainable business model was recognized in July 2015, when AllLife won the Prince of Wales Unilever Global Development Award for Business in the Community.
Neither Ross nor any of the founders came from the insurance world. “Otherwise we would have known that what we have accomplished was impossible.”
BIMA is the global leader in providing insurance through mobile technology. The business provides insurance distribution and underwriting to millions of low income people via highly innovative partnerships with major mobile network operators and financial services businesses. In the past, the traditional insurance industry has struggled to reach this vast market.
In just five years, BIMA has over 32 million subscribers in 14 countries, of which approximately 9 million people are reached with insurance products. BIMA’s customer research shows that 75% of their customers did not have access to insurance before. Globally, approximately 40% of customers are rural. In Ghana and Bangladesh, BIMA has doubled insurance penetration.
The business offers a range of affordable life, personal accident and health insurance products for low-income consumers. Since investing, LeapFrog has been instrumental in developing the company’s strategy in areas as diverse as product development, distribution, reinsurance and branding.
BIMA CEO Gustaf Agartson says, “We’re proud of our success so far, but really we believe we’re just at the start of this journey. Mobile technology has the power to transform people’s lives.”
LeapFrog sold a major stake in BIMA as part of a $96.6m investment by Allianz X, the digital investment unit of Allianz Group, the global insurer and asset manager in 2017.