South African agri-fintech HelloChoice gets equity investment from Standard Bank

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa based digital fresh produce and agricultural market place, HelloChoice, has entered into a 25% equity deal with its long-partner Standard Bank.

The investment will enable the agri-fintech to continue to operate its trading platform and promote market efficiency, solidifying its leadership position as the premiere market place.

HelloChoice, founded in 2018 by Grant Jacobs and Graeme Jarvie, has modernised the traditional way of buying and selling agricultural produce by linking farmers and food producers directly with potential buyers through its platform accessed via its website or mobile app.

“HelloChoice is spearheading the modernisation of agricultural trade as we digitise food production and trade, to help unlock and protect value in this sector so central to nourishing and sustaining life,” co-founder and CEO, Grant Jacobs, said in a statement.

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The strategic investment will enable the company to further fund ongoing tech investment and operational capacity, as it leverages on its complementary offerings and strengths to deliver more innovative services and solutions to customers.

Its business-to-business digital marketplace has proven to be a powerful tool for both buyers and sellers and in its first 30 months of operation, it had over 2,000 users join and traded over R100 million, ensuring better market access and prices for farmers, and faster product access and lower prices for buyers.

Based on this successful track record, in 2020 HelloChoice was invited to partner with Standard Bank on the hugely impactful OneFarm Share hunger relief and food security programme using HelloChoice’s bespoke technology platform to connect farmers with registered charities and feeding schemes.

OneFarm Share matches requests for food relief with excess fresh produce from emerging farmers, commercial farmers and food processors as a reliable, trusted, channel for them to donate their surplus food to help overcome hunger and poverty.

As of 31 August 2021, OneFarm Share had increased the supply and delivery of hunger relief donations to 3,200 tons equating to 12.8 million nutritious meals for vulnerable children and communities.

More than 50% of the produce procured or donated thus far was sourced from 43 emerging farmers, and efficiently distributed to 1 million beneficiaries through 750 registered beneficiary organisations, through key food distribution partners like FoodForward SA.

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The balance of the food contributions came from commercial farmers and food processors.

The recently announced 25% equity deal with Standard Bank will enable HelloChoice to continue in its mission to promote economic prosperity and food security through modernising and digitising agricultural trade.

“Standard Bank’s equity purchase in HelloChoice affirms the bank’s aspirations to play a broader role in the agriculture ecosystem, and forms part of the wider ecosystem strategy, which houses OneFarm and OneFarm Share.  It demonstrates the bank’s commitment to building agri-entrepreneurship and food security in the country,” says Wendy Pienaar, Head of Ecosystems, Standard Bank.

HelloChoice is constantly innovating and will be shortly rolling out its next major mobile app release, including TradeAlerts that uses geolocation and customer profiles to better connect buyers and sellers.

Future releases will include machine learning and blockchain technologies to enhance matching and traceability.

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