[Nigeria] Farmcrowdy closes on seed funding of $1m
Farmcrowdy, a Nigerian digital agriculture platform which allows Nigerians to venture in and sponsor agriculture, has announced that it had closed on seed funding of $1 million from international and local investors including Cox Enterprises, Techstars Ventures, Social Capital, Hallett Capital and Right-Side Capital; as well as angel investors Tyler Scriven, Michael Cohn, Josephine Group, FC Agro Allied SPV and Dr. Christof Walter.
Launched just over 12 months ago, Farmcrowdy, the only African startup from Techstars Atlanta’s 2017 cohort, connects small scale farmers with sponsors, who invest in farm cycles. A farm cycle can be anything from poultry [3-5 months] to cassava [9 months]. The farmers receive on-the-ground advice from Farmcrowdy’s Technical Field Specialists who also give them training in better agriculture practices and provide them with quality farm input. Prior to harvest, Farmcrowdy works with pre-arranged buyers who assist the farmers sell their yield at harvest and earn a decent margin. The sponsor then gets their original sponsorship +40% of the profit from the harvest, the farmer receives 40% of the profit and Farmcrowdy receives 20% of the profit. Farm sponsors can get between 6-25% returns after harvest depending on the farm type they sponsor.
The brainchild of Nigerian serial entrepreneur Onyeka Akumah, Farmcrowdy has to-date recorded close to 1,000 unique farm sponsors from Nigerians in Nigeria, the US and UK. The company has aggregated a combined 4,000 acres of farmland across 8 states in Nigeria and worked with more than 2,000 small scale farmers. Having raised over 250,000 organic chickens on its poultry farm cycles, Farmcrowdy continues to disrupt the agriculture sector through partnering with Nigerians locally and globally to build a community model for the empowerment of local farmers, and the boosting and production of food for Nigerians, while impacting positively on the lives of farmers and their families.
The seed fund will allow the award-winning startup to scale its operations with plans to expand into a combined 20 states in Nigeria, work with 4,000 additional small-scale farmers and engage a combined 20,000 new farm followers and farm sponsors on it’s platform to learn about the opportunities in Agriculture and partner with farmers.
Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy says “Today’s seed announcement is a remarkable milestone for us and Nigeria’s Agritech industry as a whole - especially having just celebrated the anniversary of our first year of operations in November 2017. It will allow us to build on our earlier traction as we continue to introduce Nigerians to this exciting new category of partnering with farmers for impact and return. We are happy to amplify our work with the farmers across new states in Nigeria while empowering local farmers by hiring more agriculture technology experts to impart knowledge to ensure best practice in farming methods. We’re thrilled that as a Nigerian startup operating for just over a year, we have a group of investors who share in the vision and mission of Farmcrowdy as much as we do.”
Farmcrowdy recently launched their first mobile app which provides an accessible platform for agriculture enthusiasts to experience, learn, do their farming business with real farmers and appreciate agriculture practice first-hand through regular updates, images and videos from the farms. There is now the opportunity for Farm sponsors and farm followers to digitally track the progress of their sponsored farms from their mobile devices. The app has seen close to 5,000 downloads in the 3 weeks since launch, positioning the startup to take on more farm followers and sponsors both locally in Nigeria and globally.
According to Cody Simms, Partner, Techstars Ventures, “Onyeka Akumah and the Farmcrowdy team are changing the global dynamics of farming and agriculture. Techstars is proud and honored to be a continued part of the Farmcrowdy journey via investment from Techstars Ventures, the venture capital arm of Techstars. We first met the Farmcrowdy team at Techstars Atlanta in partnership with Cox Enterprises and were immediately impressed by their vision, execution, and the vast scope of their potential impact to the world”.
Cox Enterprises Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Investments Duncan O’Brien adds, “From the moment we encountered Farmcrowdy, we were very impressed with the work that the startup is doing to empower Nigeria’s farmers. As our planet faces drastic population growth and manages scarce resources, investing in sustainable agriculture is a venture that will reap long-term benefits for us all.”