Apollo Agriculture, a Kenyan-based AgriTech startup, has secured US$1m in debt funding. The funding was backed by Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund).
The startup admits its plan to use the proceeds to continue scaling its high impact AgriTech solution to reach more smallholder farmers who are unable to access loans from conventional financial institutions.
The startup is also confident that the investment will have positive impacts on food security, and reduce food shortages in rural Kenya.
Apollo Agriculture, which was founded by Benjamin Njenga and Eli Pollak in 2016, uses agronomic machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile phones to provide high-quality farm inputs, and advice that help farmers double farm yields.
Using satellite data, soil data, farmer behaviour data, and crop yield model, the startup assesses credit risks, and customizes each package to the farmer’s specific location.
Apollo said it has recorded rapid growth; adding that, despite the challenges created by the covid-19 pandemic, it almost tripled its customer base.
CEO at Apollo Agriculture, Eli Pollak, said:
“We are thrilled to partner with the ABC Fund. 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.”
Agri-Business Capital fund (ABC Fund) is a blended-finance impact fund that provides catalytic financing to underserved yet profitable segments of agribusiness value chains in developing countries.
ABC Fund has provided a total of US$12 million in funding to three farmers co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire, six small-and-medium agri-businesses in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, and two financial institutions operating in Ecuador, Kenya and Uganda.
Emanuele Santi, Fund Manager for the ABC Fund at Bamboo Capital Partners commented on Apollo funding:
“Apollo is 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 maximise 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.”