KENYA – Twiga Foods, a Kenyan based online food-market platform has raised US$10.3 million financing co-led by World Bank’s private investment arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Pan-African venture capital firm, TLcom Capital.
The capital is meant to help the company expand operations and offer new services to small holder farmers.
Others that participated in the round of capital included previous investors Wamda Capital, DOB Equity, 1776 and Adolph H. Lundin.
As part of the deal, Wale Ayeni, who leads IFCs’ venture capital activities in Africa, and Maurizio Caio, managing partner at TLcom will join the board.
According to Twiga Foods chief executive Grant Brooke, the recent investment will enable Kenyan mobile phone platform increase its footprint across Kenya by selling fresh farm produce from small-holder farmers to local vendors and markets.
The platform advances the agricultural value chain by matching supply and demand by connecting fruits and vegetable farmers with buyers such as agro-processors, institutions and retail chains.
Farmers are able to access to a fair, transparent, mobile marketplace that offers higher prices for their goods including bananas.
It also creates a steady and efficient supply chain as in the past, farmers often lost money, products and time to middlemen who usually offers very low prices.
“The system is a win for both sides, farmers have guaranteed access to a fairly priced, transparent, mobile marketplace while vendors can consistently source high-quality produce, which is conveniently delivered for free to their doorstep by Twiga,” said Brooke.
Speaking on the development, TLcom founder Maurizio Caio said Twiga had proved that use of smart technologies and innovative business models could improve large and inefficient agricultural supply chain in Kenya.
He added that the new capital and business building support would play a pivotal role in improving farmer lives as well as making agribusiness viable.
“IFC’s investment in Twiga supports a disruptive start-up that is helping create a more transparent, efficient supply chain, which connects farmers directly to markets, helping them earn more,” said Nikunj Jinsi, IFC global head of Venture Capital.
Founded in 2014, Twiga Foods has 13,000 farmers and 6,000 vendors dealing with tomatoes, cabbage, mango, potatoes and onions.
The company operates collection centers across the country, in addition to a central pack house with cold storage facilities, and mobilized trucks and vans for swift collection and distribution of produce.
Back in 2017, the bulk supplier raised US$10.3 million through debt and equity instruments led by Wamda Capital.