Farmcrowdy celebrated its fourth year anniversary on the National Digital Agriculture Day (NDAD). And it also announced the launch of six business units, including Farmcrowdy Foods and Aggregation.
The NDAD is November 14. Farmcrowdy registered the Day in 2018 with the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment. The objective of the NDAD is to highlight the importance of agriculture to Nigeria's economy and promote solidarity among agritech startups as they address the challenges of smallholder farmers.
The fourth year anniversary celebration was held at Filmhouse Cinemas IMAX Lekki, Lagos. It was tagged Farmcrowdy 3.0, suggesting the beginning of another phase for the foremost digital agriculture platform in Nigeria. Since its launch in September 2016, Farmcrowdy has gone through two phases: from being an agro-crowdfunding platform to becoming a Group with subsidiaries like Farmgate Africa and Agricquare.
Farmcrowdy 3.0 would see the agritech startup go beyond agro-financing to using technology to improve the food value chain. Onyeka Akumah, CEO of Farmcrowdy, said, "We will focus on the use of technology to build tools and resources that farmers will need to boost food security in the country through six-business focus".
The six business divisions are:
- Farmcrowdy Insurance
- Farmcrowdy Marketing
- Farmcrowdy Structured Finance
- Farmcrowdy Technology and Data
- Farmcrowdy Foods (E-commerce platform)
- Farmcrowdy Aggregation (Agro-trading platform)
"These businesses would serve stakeholders across the agricultural value chain, focusing on improving yields, reducing costs, and smarter marketing", Onyeka added.
In July, EMFATO Holdings was launched to house Farmcrowdy, Crowdyvest, and Plentywaka. EMFATO replaced Crowdyvest Holdings, which had two portfolio companies: Crowdyvest, a crowdfunding/investment company, and Plentywaka, ride-hailing company.
Farmcrowdy is not the only startup with a holding company. For instance, Google is under Alphabet, a holding company (AKA parent company). Nigerian fintech startup Global Accelerex is under Accelerex Holdings. And one of the benefits of holding companies is that they are protected from losses.
Farmcrowdy at four: The journey so far and what comes next?
In the past four years, Farmcrowdy said it has garnered a network of over 300,000 farmers, cultivated 17,000 acres of farmland, and reared three million broilers birds.
Farmcrowdy was founded in September 2016 by Onyeka Akumah (CEO), Akindele Philips (CRO), Christopher Abiodun (CTO), Ifeanyi Anazodo (CGO), and Temitope Omotolani (COO). So far, Farmcrowdy has raised a total of $2.4 million, including a grant of $325,000 from GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator. Its last funding of $1 million was raised in a seed round closed on March 21, 2019.
"Next year, we intend to go through another funding round", Onyeka said. "We're looking at smart funding that would get us into expanding our operations and, beyond that, expanding what we've seen as successful parts of our model that'd keep us scaling".
According to the comprehensive seven-year-plan which it began to implement in August 2019, Farmcrowdy could become a profitable business in the next 12 months, Onyeka added. And it intends to expand to Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and the Caribbeans.
Through Farmcrowdy 1.0 to 2.0, the agritech company evolved from being a crowdfunding platform for agriculture to capturing value across the agricultural value chain. Hence the six different business units launched in Farmcrowdy 3.0. Farmcrowdy stopped being a crowdfunding platform in August and Crowdyvest was launched in September 2019.
"Farmcrowdy stopped crowdfunding [in August 2019]", Onyeka said. "We noticed most of the loss happen in core farming. But once you go up the [agriculture] value chain, there is more value and more money to be made. So we have moved up the value chain beyond just core production and that has sustained us".
Between August and November 2020, Farmcrowdy announced five new executive hires and some staff were promoted. Akindele Philips, who is also a co-founder, was promoted to the position of CRO from CFO. Linda Obi was promoted to lead Farmcrowdy Foods from being the Head of Operations and Support Services.
Oluwakotanmi Ojo was hired as the new CFO and he would also lead Farmcrowdy Structured Finance. Obiajuru Luya was hired to lead Farmcrowdy Aggregation, which is focused on farm produce production and trading. Babajide Aroyewun was hired to lead Farmcrowdy Marketing. And Tony Udomiaye and Kazeem Onafuwa also joined Farmcrowdy's marketing team from Wakanow and Travelstart, respectively.
In February 2020, Farmcrowdy had also acquired Best Foods Livestock and Poultry Limited at an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was completed 10 months after both companies announced a partnership. And through the acquisition, Farmcrowdy now boasts of killing 120 bulls per day and servicing 30% of the top restaurants in Nigeria.
All you need to know about the six business units unveiled by Farmcrowdy
These are the new six business units unveiled by Farmcrowdy, what they do, and their heads.
1. Farmcrowdy Structured Finance
FC Structured Finance is led by the new CFO of the agritech startup, Oluwakotanmi Ojo. Prior to joining Farmcrowdy, Oluwakotanmi served as the CFO of PAC Holdings.
FC Structured Finance provides farmers and low-income earners in the agricultural value chain with access to capital for investment and input. The loans are provided at single-digit interest rate. FC Structured Finance also partners with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) so farmers can easily access its agricultural loans, and the Shared Agent Network of Expansion Facilities (SANEF) for easy disbursement.
2. Farmcrowdy Insurance
FC Insurance is led by the newly-promoted CRO Akindele Philips. He was previously the CFO of Farmcrowdy. And prior to joining the company, Akindele served as a senior audit associate at KPMG and credit risk officer at Zenith Bank.
FC Insurance provides access to life, health, crop, and property insurance at affordable and convenient premiums for farmers and low-income earners in the food value chain. The premium is as low as ₦100 for a month's cover.
To be clear, Farmcrowdy is not an insurance company. It only enables a seamless access to affordable and relevant micro-insurance policies provided by registered underwriters through FC Insurance.
3. Farmcrowdy Marketing
FC Marketing is led by the newly-hired Vice President of Marketing, Babajide Aroyewun. Prior to joining Farmcrowdy, Babajide was the chief marketing officer at Canary Point. And he had also served as the head of creative and digital experience at Konga for five years.
FC Marketing provides 360° marketing solutions for food and agricultural enterprises. These solutions include public relations, digital marketing, out-of-home advertising, event, and community management.
FC Marketing also manages Agricsquare — a community for agriculture experts, enthusiasts, investors, and farmers.
4. Farmcrowdy Technology and Data
FC Technology and Data is led by co-founder and CTO Christopher Abiodun.
FC Tech and Data provides information and tools for processing and analysing data to help improve farmers' decisions and outcomes across the agricultural value chain. Its services include data and market analysis tools, pricing decision-making tools for farmers, yield projections and optimisation, and GPS and weather data tracking.
5. Farmcrowdy Foods
FC Foods is led by the newly-hired Senior Operations Manager, Linda Obi. She was previously the head of operations and support services. Prior to joining Farmcrowdy, Linda was leading franchise acquisition at Tolaram Group and served as the learning development manager.
FC Foods is a one-stop digital marketplace for fresh food products and groceries. It also manages Meathub, an online meat shop.
FC Foods was birthed during the lockdown, Linda said. And in the past 90 days (as of November 14), FC Foods has completed 3,567 orders. It usually delivers within two days across Lagos. All the food items on FC Foods are from FC Aggregation, except seafood which comes from third-party partners.
6. Farmcrowdy Aggregation
FC Aggregation is led by the newly-hired Senior Manager of Agribusiness and Trading, Obiajuru Luya. Prior to joining Farmcrowdy, Obiajuru served as a strategy manager at Novus Agro and business development executive at Esoko Marketplace. "She's personally credited with setting up the first agro-commodity trade index in Nigeria, as referenced by the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala", Onyeka said.
FC Aggregation provides a network of tech-enabled aggregation centres in rural communities. The centres are managed by youth entrepreneurs using Farmcrowdy's Grainpoint application. About 101 aggregation centres have been set up across the country.
FC Aggregation has an online platform that connects buyers with verified supplier, called Farmcrowdy Trader. FC Trader provides agro-commodity buyers and sellers with insights and competitive pricing across the entire agricultural supply chain.