Skudu, a South African agritech startup recently raised funding from the pioneering agrifood tech investor, AgVentures, to become the leading online marketplace for agricultural inputs and produce in Africa.
According to AgVentures, in a world where consumers nowadays are spoiled for choice with online marketplaces but the same cannot be said for the buyers and sellers of agricultural inputs and produce, this shows the market is ripe for disruption.
Founded in 2018, Skudu’s innovative platform shortens the agricultural value chain and increases user choice by directly connecting both buyers and sellers. The platform also helps farmers and their advisors improve their input planning and accuracy.
In a press release, the company which is led by agri-industry stalwart, Cobus van der Merwe, commented on this partnership saying,
“We are excited to partner with AgVentures given its deep agri-industry and technology expertise. As Skudu, we want to make it easy for buyers and sellers to find each other. Saving them money in the process and helping them increase their efficiency”.
The investment means Agventures is acquiring a stake in the company.
In revealing why they chose to partner the agri-tech startup, Gerhard Visagie, the CEO of AgVentures share that,
“We were attracted to Skudu, due to their highly experienced management team, ambitious plans and traction gained in a short space of time.”
Adding that they believe the startup is bringing the much needed innovation to the South African agrifood sector with future continental expansion on the table.
Skudu – how the agri-tech operates
In an effort to solving complex challenges with simple solutions, these are three approaches Skudu uses: the Market, Match and Exact modules.
With their Skudu Market module, they makes it very easy for farmers to find the same, or similar agricultural inputs from different input manufacturers, after which enables them request a quote from the suppliers that service their farm location. Farmers receive notification as soon as quotes return and summarized on a single page from where the preferred quote can be accepted. As at now the platform only supports fertilizers and ameliorants, but the expansion to other inputs is planned for the near future.
The Skudu Match module is connecting buyers and sellers of agro-produce on the platform and enabling them agree to as well as capture the terms of the transaction through a blockchain e-contract. It is a first of its kind in South Africa, where Skudu Match will greatly reduce the trading cost of agricultural commodities.
The Skudu Exact gives farmers, or their advisors, control over their farm data and allows for greater accuracy in input planning. It currently allows the planning of soil sample collection and enables users to manage their soil sample data once received from the analytical labs.
AgVenture – agrifood investor
The objective of the venture capital is to unleash the continents’ agrifood potential by securing partnerships with innovative privately-owned agrifood technology companies such as Skudu.
The Skudu funding is AgVentures’ second investment after similarly doing so in FruitSpec, an Israeli startup in 2019 to disrupt the old-fashion paper-based fruit yield estimations with a patented computer-vision based system.
ImaliPay: Nairobi Fintech Startup Raises Pre-Seed Funding Led By TEN13
ImaliPay, a fintech startup helping African freelancers reach their financial goals has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from the Australian venture capitalist, TEN13, reputed for investing in top-tier start-ups.
According to ImaliPay, the primary aim of this newly raised funding is to expand and accelerate their growth and footprint in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya to be a one-stop-shop for gig workers’ financial needs on the continent.
The backing of ImaliPay by TEN13 is on the back of recent chain of events that has elevated the visibility of Africa’s fintech startup scene.
Commenting on the deal, Managing Partner of TEN13, Stew Glenn, said,
ImaliPay in 2020 was co-founded by Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Furusa and Sanmi Akinmusire a Nigerian, who were former colleagues at the leading payments company Cellulant. The fintech company thinks the investment from the venture capital has significant benefits.
In a statement released to the press, Tatenda Furusa said,
It’s a great opportunity for investors to participate in the fintech revolution and a fast-growing segment. Our vision at ImaliPay is to advance financial health and inclusion for gig workers who struggle to manage and access flexible financial services that are often only available to traditional SMEs.
The growth in the African gig workforce is being pushed by the growth in digitization and smartphone penetration. Gig workers constitute a significant proportion of the economy within ImaliPay’s target markets and this market segment is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.
ImaliPay offers gig workers a one-stop-shop of financial services such as the ability to seamlessly save their income and receive in-kind loans through a “buy now, pay later” model tied to their trade.
Bolt drivers in Kenya can now request a fuel loan and payback after 3-4 days, this allows them to get more work done and Safeboda riders in Nigeria can now buy on credit bike parts, fuel, and smartphones to keep their gig moving and reduce any downtime.
Other products to be offered off the platform include insurance and investment options to foster a safety net for this hard-working but vulnerable part of the population.
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