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SA insurtech startup Yalu raising Series-A round reveals co-founder Nkazi Sokhulu

Featured image: Nkazi Sokhulu, CEO and co-founder of Yalu (Yalu)

Johannesburg-based credit life insurance provider Yalu is currently raising a Series-A round, CEO and co-founder Nkazi Sokhulu has revealed. He would not reveal the amount in investment that the startup is seeking to raise.

Sokhulu (pictured above) told Ventureburn in an email on Tuesday (17 September) that Yalu will use the funding to expand its product capability, grow distribution reach and build more operational capacity.

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“We are busy engaging various potential investors both locally and abroad,” he said without disclosing the size of the round or when it will likely be concluded.

Yalu was founded in 2017 by CEO Nkazi Sokhulu and COO Tlalane Ntuli

Sokhulu founded the credit life insurance provider in 2017 with COO Tlalane Ntuli. The insurtech launched operations last year.

The startup, which currently employs 25 people, has been selected by San Francisco-based venture capital (VC) firm Alter Global to be one of its 25 Alter Global Ventures.

Alter Global supports tech companies by matching them with talent, expertise and investment. It’s not clear whether the VC has invested in Yalu or not.

However, it appears the VC has been helping Yalu recruit staff. Two months ago the firm listed a lead software engineer vacancy on LinkedIn for Yalu.

Sokhulu said working with Alter Global has “really broadened” Yalu’s vision and the scope of what the startup “can truly achieve”.

‘We cover 0.25% of market’

Yalu’s Credit Life Insurance Plan, which is underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer, currently covers over 10 000 customer credit facilities.

Sokhulu said the startup’s product covers over R500-million in outstanding credit facilities, or 0.25% of SA’s life insurance market.

“Currently we can save Yalu customers an estimated R65-million in premiums over the lifetime of their policies,” said Sokhulu.

He also revealed that Yalu is working on launching credit life insurance cover for home loans and vehicle loans by the end of the year.

Sokhulu explained that once Yalu launches credit life insurance cover for home loans and vehicle loans the insurtech will be in a position to cover all major forms of bank issued debt.

“Beyond this, we are looking to diversify our product offering beyond credit life insurance within the long term insurance space,” he added.

Yalu not affected by PIC probe

Yalu is backed by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) which holds a 30% stake in the startup and sits on its board of directors.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa last October established an inquiry into the PIC — which overseas government pension funds —  after allegations of impropriety and corruption at the corporation.

A report on the inquiry, which was conducted by commission headed by former Supreme Court of Appeal president Lex Mpati was meant to be submitted in April, this was later extended to 31 July (see this Business Day article).

The same publication reported in an article last month that the commission has completed its hearings with as many as 40 deals under examination.

But the Yalu co-founder said his startup is not one of these.

Said Sokhulu: “Yalu has not at all been affected by the probe or investigations, and has not been the subject of any investigation by the commission of enquiry”.

Read more: Eight SA tech startups with women founders that have recently had VC, angel deals [Updated]
Read more: PIC won’t reveal how much it invested in black-owned insurtech Yalu [Updated]
Read more: PIC behind new black-owned insurtech Yalu, set to launch first product in June [Updated]

Featured image: Nkazi Sokhulu, CEO and co-founder of Yalu (Yalu)

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