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Gro Intelligence: Startup Founded by Sara Menker Secures $85M in Series B Investment

gro intelligence

Gro Intelligence, founded in Nairobi, with offices in both Nairobi (Kenya) and New York (USA) announces that it has received an US$ 85 million in series B funding from Intel Capital and Africa Internet Ventures.

The Africa Internet Ventures as we understand, is a strategic partnership between TPG Growth and EchoVC. The other participating funding houses into Gro Intelligence’s latest round of investment include the family offices of Eric Zinterhofer and Ronald Lauder.

Investments also came DCVC and GGV Capital who were previous investors of Gro Intelligence. The series B funding also attracted new VC players, namely Dick Parsons, Rethink Food and the Schusterman Family Investments, among other various strategic family offices.

Gro Intelligence we know is an AI (artificial intelligence)-powered insights company that provides decision-making tools, solutions and analytics to the food, agriculture and climate economies and their participants. The company at the moment incorporates over 40,000 data sets and processes north of 650 trillion data points.

Their customer base include governments, financial institutions, agricultural input companies, retailers, food and beverage firm and others.

gro intelligence
Image credit: Grow Intelligence facebook

The Ethiopian born and elated founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, Sara Menker, explains that, food security and climate risk represented an existential global-sized opportunities for the company’s AI-powered decisions and insights platform. And by this, they see a tremendous need for the market knowledge provided by the Gro Platform.

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She further states,

“Our customers have come to rely on Gro as a unique source of actionable data-driven insights about our food supply and models to measure and manage associated climate change risk to physical and financial assets across the globe. We are absolutely delighted to welcome our new investors and continue to be grateful to our existing investors for their support.”

What the latest round of funding will be used for?

The report suggests that, the investment will be used to accelerate the growth and global adoption of the Gro Intelligence’s platform, which will be raising their machine-learning capabilities and delivering localized insights on climate risk, agriculture and food.

According to Trina Van Pelt, the Senior Managing Director of Intel Capital,

“Gro Intelligence is one of the most exciting AI companies and is tackling two of the world’s biggest challenges: food security and climate risk. Their software-based platform will drive compute-powered cross-border knowledge to surface meaningful insights and enable better informed agricultural decisions.”

Further adding that, Intel Capital is really excited to co-lead the investment round because Gro Intelligence’s technology aligned with their stated mission of unleashing the power of data for improving our society.

SEE ALSO |  Kenya's Ilara Health, A Healthtech Startup Receives US$3.75M in Series A Funding

Gro Intelligence, for Yemi Lalude, the Managing Partner of TPG Growth Africa, has had a remarkable journey so far and demonstrated the growing importance of AI in driving a more sustainable food supply in the world. Proudly commenting that, their oufit was proud to have supported the company from its beginnings in Nairobi to the forefront of today’s efforts to make companies and institutions across multiple industries around the world more resilient to climate change and climate risk.

As fate may have it, both Intel Capital and TGP Growth led Gro Intelligence’s series A round funding in 2017.

“With its AI-powered platform, Gro Intelligence is solving, at scale, two of the world’s most pressing problems – climate risk and food security,” said Julia Paliare, Managing Director at the Family Office of Ronald Lauder.

She went to extol Sara’s vision, leadership and experience, along with the remarkable technology and team she has assembled. For her, Gro’s founder has positioned the company for accelerated growth at a time when these issues are of utmost importance to the world.

SEE ALSO |  Damu Sasa Receives US$20K from Villgro Africa to Enhance their COVID-19 Efforts

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Damu Sasa Receives US$20K from Villgro Africa to Enhance their COVID-19 Efforts

Damu Sasa

Villgro Africa, the Kenyan based investor and business incubator has backed Damu Sasa System Limited (DSL) with US$20,000. The funding is to enable them accelerate their efforts at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Damu Sasa is a healthtech startup running an innovative end-to-end blood services information management platform.

The workings of Damu Sasa? 

Damu-Sasa in its entirety works across the blood ecosystem by helping hospitals source blood from donors and from each other. The company again supports screening, preparation of blood products and inventory as well transfusions management. 

Its system helps mobilize donors, tracks their donations while giving them digital access to their donation history.

The DSL team is known for working closely with health facilities and other multi-sectoral partners to increase voluntary donations from across the population. The goal for them is being able to deliver sufficient supply of safe blood while improving tracking and reporting of utilization nationwide. 

Damu Sasa
Damu Sasa app

Damu Sasa tackling COVID-19 spread

During this COVID-19 period, the DSL team has made available online booking for blood donation appointments, personalized booking links for each hospital, evidence based educational articles, blood screening tracking capacity for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and mobile text reminders of safe practices to blood donors.

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According to the press statement released, the co-founder and executive chair of healthtech investor, Villgro Africa, they are thrilled to support the work of the DSL team, who are a young and vibrant company committed to solving a real life challenge. 

He added that by their collaborations with Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange), they are looking forward to being a part of the efforts in managing safe and efficient blood donations in Kenya, and very importantly, in a sustainable model.

Aside the grant, Villgro Africa will also provide technical assistance to enable the team to enhance their capacity with respect to COVID-19 blood management related capabilities while also supporting ongoing fundraising efforts. 

Making his remarks, Dr. Matunda Nyanchama, Chairman of DSL said, “At Damu-Sasa, we are really excited with this partnership because it will help us address key concerns occasioned by the pandemic, improve potential blood donor numbers and hence help alleviate, to the degree possible, the perennial blood shortages.”

The Nairobi based healthtech startup currently operates in countries, having served over 9,000 people with blood. Their efforts have seen them received donations from 55,000.

SEE ALSO |  Ghana's Zeepay Secures US$940K from GoodSoil VC & Plans Its UK Launch in 2021

Story originally published on Villgro Africa

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