A Kenyan commercial farming platform that provides small scale farmers with the tools to maximise profits, Apollo Agriculture, has raised a $40 million series B funding round to scale its solution internationally.
Agriculture in Africa is a sector whose potential remains fully untapped. About 23% of the GDP of Sub-saharan Africa comes from agriculture and more than 60% of the population in Sub-saharan Africa is a small scale farmer.
Some of the reasons for the impediment in growth is illiteracy of farmers, lack of basic infrastructure ( such as roads, ports, and electricity), use of crude equipment by farmers, poor market penetration, etc.
However, founded in 2019, Apollo Agriculture bundles everything a farmer needs: financing, farm inputs, advice, insurance, and market access, when possible.
Using machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile payments Apollo Agriculture accurately underwrites farm credit risk and has built an automatically managed network of more than 5,000 agents and nearly 1,000 retailers that allows last-mile delivery of farm inputs and services to small-scale farmers.
Apollo will deploy this funding to expand geographically, enhance its products and technology, and keep building its world-class team. The business currently has a strong team across its Nairobi and Amsterdam. It also has remote offices and plans to expand its operations, Software engineering, Data science and marketing teams over the next year.
The raise was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, and which also includes participation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Yara Growth Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, CDC, and existing investors including Anthemis Exponential Ventures, Flourish Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, SBI, Breyer Capital, and TO Ventures Food.
Commenting on the raise, Eli Pollak, CEO, and co-founder of Apollo Agriculture said, “Our mission at Apollo is to ensure that every farmer, everywhere, has the tools they need to farm profitably. Rural communities are the backbone of society, yet have been largely ignored by most technology investors, particularly in emerging markets”.
She also added, “We are incredibly proud to focus relentlessly on farmers and build products with the potential to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. Softbank Vision Fund 2’s investment is a powerful validation of Apollo’s business model and accelerates the rapid growth of our business and team.”
Alexia Yannopoulos, the Investment Director at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said feeding the world is one of the most important challenges facing society.
“Apollo’s platform offers a one stop shop solution to help small-scale farmers in emerging regions to improve crop and livestock outputs. Embedding valuable financial services like credit, insurance and advice into the supply chain is critical in supporting a more efficient and sustainable global food chain,” she said.