KENYA – Kenyan agri-tech startup, Farmshine, has raised US$250,000 investment from US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital’s gender lens sector-agnostic portfolio coLABS (GMC coLABS) to expand its operations.
Farmshine operates a global agriculture platform where farmers, buyers and service providers can trade on mutually beneficial terms.
Its agriculture operating system enables smallholder farmers to aggregate and sell their harvests directly to large commodity companies.
Combined with on-the-ground support from Farmshine’s field officers, the mobile app ensures that farmers are offered clear, fair and reliable contracts from legitimate buyers.
Every activity takes place through the app – including contract agreement, production management, crop aggregation, and delivery and payment – ensuring full transparency among each party.
The app also records quantity, quality and timeliness of each harvest sold, as well as loan repayments, training received, and other indications of a successful, reliable farmer.
According to Luca Alinovi, Farmshine’s Founder & CEO, “Farmshine’s platform was designed with a farmer-first approach. It can be easily replicated for any value chain in any country, and can scale from thousands to hundreds of thousands of farmers.”
The funds raised will be used to hire and train personnel, including field agents, and to further develop the platform to connect the agriculture ecosystem.
Farmshine is rolling out its operating system to non-profit partners, expanding into higher value commodities, and providing supermarkets with traceable products for its customers.
This marks the second investment by the impact investor in the agri-tech space in Kenya after funding B2B startup Taimba in July this year.
In addition to that it’s the fifth African startup added to its portfolio which includes Rwanda’s ARED, Ghana’s Redbird Health Tech and Nigeria’s Sonocare in the last two years.
Outlining the investment rationale, Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager – coLABS, Gray Matters Capital said, “Women are often excluded from the formal economy in Kenya, and it is difficult for them to find better opportunities or higher-paying work.”
“Farmshine’s platform enables women, who constitute 70% of its farmers, to receive significantly higher incomes by providing access to completely transparent pricing information before they plant, as well as the freedom to select the buyer they would like to supply to.”