Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first digital agricultural platform which makes investment possible for proxy farmers has secured an additional seed funding of $1 million in its expansion push. This follows the company’s initial investments of $1 million in 2017.
Foreign investors Cox Enterprises and Techstars, along with local investor Ajayi Solutions participated in the round as the start-up prepares for an upcoming Series A fundraising later in the year, a statement made available to BusinessDay said.
The investment is expected to enable Farmcrowdy expand across Nigeria, covering 50 percent of all states in the country over the next 12 months.
Onyeka Akumah, founder and chief executive officer Farmcrowdy says the firm will now delve into the possibility of utilising drone services for field analysis, improve farmers yield with additional research and 3D mapping, as well as entering into formidable strategic partnerships that will grow the impact of its solutions.
Access of financing is one of the top challenges confronting most smallholder Nigerian farmers, who are unable to mechanise agronomic activities, gain access to improved seed, efficient market linkage and stay competitive.
But the digitisation of investment pooling for farming purpose has broadened their financing options, enabling farmers to reach funds outside harsh bank lending conditions.
“Today’s announcement of this additional funding marks another milestone for us as we amplify our presence in the country and explore new opportunities,” Akumah said.
“We’re continually grateful that we have a group of investors who share and support our vision as much as we do. It is a great source of motivation for the entire team as we look to the next phase of growth as a company.”
Cody Simms, a partner at Techstars which did a follow-on investment in this round said, expressed optimism about Farmcrowdy’s ability to deliver on the mandate of ending poverty in Africa, using a one-farmer-at-a-time model.
“We first invested in the company in 2017 as part of Techstars Atlanta in partnership with Cox Enterprises. We are excited about the continued growth of the Farmcrowdy platform and thrilled to continue our support of the business with the most recent financing,” Simms said.
In its bid to improve the management of Farmcrowdy’s farmers and farm operations, the start-up has also launched the Farmcrowdy TFS App, available to its Technical Field Specialists. This is expected to aid better profiling for farmers, management of inventory, as well as data collection and analysis from existing farmers.
The firm’s transformation efforts also includes upgrading of its mobile app to optimise user’s experience which currently has over 90,000 users and farm followers.
Since 2016, Farmcrowdy has empowered over 12,000 farmers across 14 states in the Nigeria, reared close to 2,000,000 broiler birds as part of its poultry farm cycles and cultivated over 16,000 acres of farmland with over 35,000 farm units sold to date.