Kenyan insurtech startup Bluewave remains independent after failed Lami acquisition

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Nairobi-based insurtech startup Bluewave will remain an independent entity following the failure of its planned acquisition by counterpart Lami, originally announced in February 2022.

Bluewave was founded by Adelaide Odhiambo in 2016, and has developed a robust micro-insurance system that offers users easy access to an array of insurance products.

Disrupt Africa, and many others, reported in February 2022, in hindsight incorrectly, that the startup had been acquired by fellow Kenyan insurtech Lami. Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses – including banks, tech companies, and other entities – to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API.

It now turns out, however, that the two parties merely “entered a strategic non-exclusive partnership granting Lami Global a licence to use Bluewave’s technology to serve their mutual microinsurance partners for a specified period of two years”. 

That two-year partnership has now come to an end, and according to Bluewave that means it remains “self-sufficient”, while it continues to pursue its expansion goals to meet its customer needs within the continent. 

“The publication of an acquisition of Bluewave in various media outlets by Lami was an unfortunate misrepresentation of the factual contractual partnership agreement between the two companies in place at that time,” a statement from Bluewave read.

For context, the following excerpt is the first few paragraphs of a press release sent to Disrupt Africa by a Lami PR representative on the February 3, 2022: 

“Lami acquires Kenya’s Bluewave Insurance Agency to expand access to insurance across Africa.

This acquisition aims to drive rapid growth for Lami and expand its presence to new African markets with an expected business growth of 65,000 current policies and potential growth of hundreds of thousands expected in 2022 across Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Gambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”

No “misrepresentation” on our side, then. The latest Bluewave statement does, however, point out that “unsuccessful acquisitions” occur in 70 to 90 per cent of all such deals, which may give a further clue as to what actually happened here.

What now, then, for the respective startups? Lami is well-funded, and ploughing on, while Bluewave is gearing up for a strategic relaunch and regional expansion in Africa.

“We have been refining our processes, products, and partnerships, and we’re thrilled to announce our renewed focus on introducing our solutions in Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi, DRC, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia,” said Adelaide Odhiambo, founder and group CEO of Bluewave.

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