KENYA – Kenyan agri-tech startup Shamba Pride has raised a US$1.1 million funding round to support its expansion across the country and roll out its solution to over 1,000 shops.

Shamba Pride is a one-stop online-to-offline platform that connects smallholder farmers to quality inputs, services, and information through technology-powered “DigiShops”.

Through Shamba Pride, existing last-mile agro dealer entrepreneurs are able to digitalise their operations and provide smallholder farmers with right and affordable technology, quality products and services.

The model establishes a network of smart micro-entrepreneurs serving the smallholder farmer community, allowing farmers to increase their farm productivity, sustain their employment and their household income.

Seedstars Africa Ventures and Gray Matters Capital, led the funding round.

With the funding, Shamba Pride seeks to boost farmers’ income and productivity through increased access to better quality inputs, education, financial services and market linkages.

“Shamba Pride is revolutionising rural distribution systems for African farmers by transforming from traditional and informal systems to modern trade.

“We are excited to have Seedstars Africa Ventures and Gray Matters Capital join the Shamba Pride family. Our momentum to revolutionise last mile distribution systems for African farmers has gained new momentum.

“The investment will propel our national growth to service hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers while creating a reliable community of smart micro-entreprenuers offering improved services to farmers,” said chief executive officer (CEO) and founder Samuel Munguti.

Maxime Bouan, partner at Seedstars Africa Ventures, noted that talented African early-stage entrepreneurs continue to lack funding despite providing tangible adapted solutions.

“We are convinced Shamba Pride’s online-to-offline model is perfectly suited to tap into a huge market opportunity by upskilling existing value chains and finally offering farmers the quality counterparts they deserve.

“Beyond capital, we will continue to actively support the company through additional market linkages and corporate partnerships within Africa and beyond to guarantee farmers obtain the best value,” he said.

MarketForce expands in five new markets across Africa

Meanwhile, MarketForce, a Kenyan B2B retail and financial services distribution startup, has expanded into five additional markets across Africa to grow RejaReja.

RejaReja is its retailer ‘super app’ that makes it possible for informal merchants to order and pay for inventory digitally, accept payments for utility bills, and access financing for their businesses.

The startup has made entry into Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, after successful pilot programs, coming about two months after it grew beyond Kenya by launching in Nigeria.

The expansion has been made possible thanks to its partnership with Cellulant, a pan-African payments company that enables local and international merchants to accept “locally relevant and alternative” payment methods from their customers.

In sub-Saharan Africa about 80% of household retail is delivered through informal retailers but these shops are faced with a number of challenges like stockouts, earnings instability and financing that make it hard for their businesses to grow.

MarketForce, through RejaReja, is providing solutions to these challenges by ensuring next-day delivery of goods, and using their data to develop the credit profiles needed to secure loans.

The startup has partnered with Pezesha — a digital financial marketplace platform — to extend loans to its merchants.

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