KENYA – Kenyan agri-tech startup Apollo Agriculture has raised US$1 million in debt funding from the Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund).
Apollo Agriculture is a commercial farming platform for small-scale farmers that uses machine learning and automated operations technology to help them access things like financing, insurance, data analysis for higher crop yields, farming products and optimised advice.
The startup, which raised a US$6 million Series A funding round in May of last year, currently serves about 60,000 farmers, having grown its customer base by three times in the last two years.
It has now added more capital via a US$1 million credit facility from the ABC Fund, a blended-finance impact fund which provides catalytic financing to underserved yet profitable segments of agribusiness value chains in developing countries.
“This funding will support our strong continued growth, enabling us to help more small-scale farmers access high-quality farming inputs, advice and insurance on credit, significantly increasing their yields and income.”Eli Pollak – Apollo Agriculture Chief Executive Officer
Apollo will use the cash to continue scaling its solution to reach more smallholder farmers who are unable to access microfinance and commercial bank lending.
“This funding will support our strong continued growth, enabling us to help more small-scale farmers access high-quality farming inputs, advice and insurance on credit, significantly increasing their yields and income.
“Apollo’s automated, tech-driven approach is designed to help millions of farmers make the transition from subsistence to commercial farmer sustainably. We are excited to have ABC Fund as a strong partner as we continue to scale,” said Eli Pollak, the startup’s chief executive officer (CEO).
Emanuele Santi, fund manager for the ABC Fund at Bamboo Capital Partners, said Apollo was an excellent example of a technology-driven business which is making a real difference to improve the lives of marginalised farming communities in Kenya.
“Apollo’s innovative solution to help smallholder farmers maximize profitability is proven, and moreover, it is directly improving food security and reducing shortages in the region. We are delighted that the ABC Fund now has the opportunity to play a crucial role in scaling Apollo to enable it to reach even more smallholder farmers and continue delivering a positive impact on the ground,” he said.
The startup has also previously received US$1.6-million in funding through three other investments.
In other related news, South Africa-based venture development and investment company, Founders Factory Africa recently partnered with Small Foundation to provide a platform that will design, build and scale over 18 agri-tech startups on the continent.
Founders Factory Africa seeks to invest cash of between US$100,000 and US$250,000 and providing hands-on technical support to the entrepreneurs to grow their ventures.
Small Foundation will work with the impact investor to provide access to networks, entrepreneurs and investors.
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