SA insurtech startup OneSpark launches with “significant” funding raise

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South African insurtech startup OneSpark, which says it is providing tech-based insurance products for the main market, has launched operations and secured a “significant” US dollar funding round to help it quickly scale.

Launched last month, OneSpark is a tech-based, socially responsible insurer that claims to be offering world-first products that provide better protection for a lower premium.

The startup has developed proprietary tech across the business, while leveraging off a number of established SaaS companies to optimise processes. While its current suite of products is relatively “tech light”, its upcoming product launch in February will contain multiple innovations from a tech, AI and machine learning perspective. 

All of this is powered by a “significant, dollar-based” funding round secured by OneSpark in October, with the startup having been founder-funded until then. Greg Smith, who co-founded OneSpark alongside Josh Kaplan, said the investment would also be used for local and international expansion.

“Our first launch of the year focuses on a segment of the population that the traditional insurance industry has neglected and forgotten for decades, the main market,” he said.

“It is crazy to think that almost all the innovation that we’ve seen come out of the insurance industry has been centred on the affluent few, despite making up such a small percentage of the population.”

OneSpark, then, has set out to solve some of the fundamental issues with existing products in the market, such as lack of choice and expensive premiums. Its Millionaire Funeral Plan is designed to provide the same protection as other products while saving users 50-60 per cent, while its life and disability products offer value back if no claims are made.

OneSpark has also earned the backing of some of the largest insurers in the world to guarantee the insurance coverage it provides. Locally, it is underwritten by Guardrisk Life Limited, a subsidiary of Momentum Metropolitan Holdings (MMI), while globally it is backed by Gen Re Corporation.

“We have global partners and are expecting to export our products to a few other countries in 2021. This coincides with the launch of our second suite of products which are targeted at the global insurance market,” said Smith.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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