KENYA – Kenya-based agritech Apollo Agriculture, which assists farmers in obtaining high-quality farm inputs, finance, and markets, has raised a US$40 million Series B investment deal headed by Softbank Vision Fund 2.
Apollo Agriculture intends to treble its farmer base by the end of 2022 and to develop new products that add value per acre of land with this new funding.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Yara Growth Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, CDC, and current investors like Anthemis Exponential Ventures, Flourish Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, SBI, Breyer Capital, and TO Ventures Food also participated in the company’s newest fundraising round.
“We are continuing to invest in growing fast, serving more farmers, helping them grow their acreage and really hitting the acceleration on the business,” Apollo Agriculture co-founder and CEO Eli Pollak, said.
“And so that’ll be both continued expansion across Kenya but also expansion into new markets.”
The startup intends to use the additional funds to improve its technology and expand its product and service offerings to farmers. The startup has been generated considerable traction since it was founded.
Apollo had worked with 100,000 farmers by the end of last year, with intentions to double that number by the end of this year. It operates a nationwide network of “over a thousand” merchants and 5,000 agents.
Apollo has grown tenfold since the closing of a US$6 million series A in 2020, Pollak said, driven by product financing. Additionally, the agritech has obtained about US$16 million in loan financing for forward lending over the years.
“In the face of sustained macroeconomic and geopolitical volatility, feeding the world is one of the most important challenges facing society,” Softbank Investment investment director Alexia Yannopoulos said.
“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.”
Additionally, the founders’ histories had a significant part in the newest investment. Pollak and Earl St Sauver formerly worked in the United States at The Climate Corporation, where they assisted farmers in utilizing data to make production decisions.
They founded Apollo with the goal of assisting farmers outside the United States in more than doubling their output and transitioning from subsistence to commercial farming.
Apollo assesses farmers’ creditworthiness using satellite photography and artificial intelligence. The firm, which launched in 2016, works through a network of agents that recruit farmers and retailers to its platform.
The agents sign farmers up for the Apollo platform, while merchants use the startup’s “checkout app” to manage point-of-sale, inventory, wholesale orders, and trade credit.