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How Nigeria’s Towntalk is Building a Data Infrastructure for Risk Protection Solutions

Towntalk of Nigeria has established a data infrastructure that combines “hard to collect” location data and AI approaches to develop a range of risk protection solutions for African security, logistics, and agriculture firms.

Towntalk, founded in 2020, has created a “data ecosystem” that has been reinforced by industry relationships with premier security organizations such as Amarante International, a French security firm.

The startup, which was one of 12 companies chosen for the inaugural ARM Labs Lagos Techstars accelerator earlier this year, was founded to address the continent’s lack of data, specifically the lack of location and behavioral data required to make effective risk-based decisions, such as security incidents, traffic, and road conditions.

“Literally any data that affects both safety and mobility of individuals and goods,” said Folake Edun, Towntalk’s CEO.

“Our competitors are those companies using data on the continent to help facilitate better decision making, like Gro Intelligence or Pula, however the granularity and nature of our data means our competitors can leverage our data infrastructure to enrich their own solutions.”

The Towntalk team has plenty of experience in the space. Edun worked for six years in risk management at Deloitte UK, before returning to Nigeria to work for Africa Finance Corporation and later Chapel Hill Denham, while its CTO and COO are also experts in their field.

The startup raised a pre-seed round of funding in 2020, from both VCs and angels, worth US$285,000.

“However, since then, we have leveraged our data infrastructure in enterprise sales, using our data and technology to provide services in journey planning, security mapping and asset monitoring – which has generated revenue of over US$700,000 till date. All this is fed back into the business to help with further tech development and manage ongoing operations,” said Edun.

“Our technology has been successfully used for enterprise sales and we have organically generated substantial sales in this space, however to help with building a more sustainable revenue stream, we have recently launched an insurance-related product into the market place – which was instantly picked up by two leading insurance companies who wish to partner with us to deliver the solution. The product enables our insurance partners to leverage our data infrastructure for more accurate risk-based premium pricing and claims review – beginning with Goods in Transit for the logistics market in Nigeria.”

Currently operating in Nigeria, Towntalk currently collects data from other countries across the continent, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Niger, and Togo.

“So far powering our solution, we have collected over 320,000 data points on security incidents, traffic incidents, weather, road conditions and more. Our platform is built for scale and expansion and we plan to do so across the continent, however we stay true to data being at the heart of the company and let the data tell us where we got to next,” said Edun.

Towntalk has a revenue-sharing model with its institutional partners, whether it is insurance company or security company.

“We provide our technology to our partners to enable them to leverage the data and insights to provide solutions to their clients, in exchange for a cut of revenue for every solutio sent via our platform,” Edun said.

Gathering the data is the hardest part of Towntalk’s job, she said.

“As mentioned, this type of data, particularly the security data, in this part of the world is so difficult to get. And when accessed, it is very unstructured and a lot of time contaminated with a lot of fake news – really impacting the usefulness of the data,” said Edun.

“We have spent a long time making sure our infrastructure is as robust as possible, pulling data from multiple online and offline sources and building partnerships that keep our data ecosystem growing, like partnerships with security companies.”

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