Joanne Safo, Entrepeneur and BAME50 Judge, Explains What She’s Looking For From Entrants

Joanne is the Founder and CEO at Lukango, an insurtech dedicated to providing easy-to -understand, flexible insurance to the underserved small business and sole professional community.

With 15 years in the insurance industry, Joanne has helped launch start-ups, built high performing, global teams and is at the forefront of the use of technology in the industry.

She continually strives towards racial and gender equality and wants to level the playing field for women and people of colour in the insurance and technology industries.





Tell us about yourself


I have spent my entire career in the insurance industry, and as a woman of colour I often felt underrepresented, particularly at the executive level. This became one of the driving factors for founding Lukango. The absence of seeing aspirational figures, who looked like me, has long been a huge motivation to advocate for more black and brown women leading insurance businesses.

Prior to starting Lukango, I worked at Munich Re and was part of the founding team of their insurtech engagement business, Digital Partners. Digital Partners was a startup unit established to help launch insurtechs and others who were inventing new ways of providing insurance. The opportunity came up to take over the Global Technology function at Digital Partners, I put myself forward and learnt everything on the job. So while I am not a techy by trade, I am a techy by heart, and worked to make that career happen once I had found my calling.

I also got the startup bug while working at Digital Partners and that was one of the other main driving factors behind starting one myself.

Outside of my professional life, I love music, particularly 90’s RnB and a bit of old school Garage!


What are you looking for from this year’s BAME50 entrants?


I’m really excited to review this year’s entrants. I’m looking for people who are passionate, driven and have real purpose behind what they are doing. My desire to help small businesses who are underserved by the insurance industry was one of the key factors in my founding Lukango so entrants who have spotted a gap in the market, are working to improve the current offerings available to their target market, helping to make their lives less complicated or are driving social good will really stand out.

I believe it’s important for entrepreneurs to be self motivated and determined so I’ll be looking out for entrants that demonstrate those qualities. I also hope to see people who are challenging the status quo and who are using technology in unique and non-conventional ways to solve today’s problems.