Ghanaian startup Farmerline and Rwanda’s Atikus Insurance have been named the winners of Village Capital’s FinTech for Agriculture accelerator programme in East Africa, walking away with US$50,000 in investment each.
Disrupt Africa reported in April Village Capital, which finds, trains and invests in early-stage ventures solving major social problems across the world, had selected the startups for its three-month accelerator programme, which aims to unlock innovations that increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers.
The programme ended with a venture forum earlier this week, with participants ranking each other based on six criteria. Ghanaian startup Farmerline, which is expanding to East Africa and provides agricultural information to farmers, and Rwanda’s Atikus Insurance, which expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders via reimagined insurance and technology risk solutions, came out on top, winning US$50,000 investment each.
“We are proud to have partnered with the DOEN Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation, and Duncan Goldie-Scot to work with the best local entrepreneurs providing alternative financial services through their technology platforms,” said Ross Baird, executive director of Village Capital.
“We are excited about the positive impact that our entrepreneurs can have on improving the income of smallholder farmers–the backbone of the African economy–and eager to see our enterprises’ growth through communities across the continent.”
Eight other startups completed the programme, including Chamasoft, a web and mobile app to automate record keeping for investment groups, FarmDrive, which transforms how smallholder farmers access financial services, M-Shamba, an interactive platform for smallholder farmers and traders, and Mobipay, which provides tech solutions to various economic sectors to drive commerce and trade.
The rest of the cohort was made up of nanoCredit Technologies, which offers lending and de-risking engines, Mifugo.Trade, an online livestock marketing platform, Redcore Interactive, which has developed the remit.ug platform for online international money transfers to mobile money in Africa, and YieldUganda, which sources high quality, traceable food products for local and export markets.
“One of the main reasons we support Village Capital is because of its unique peer selection technique. Therefore the organisation is able to create a pipeline of investments at a much lower cost than other parties and at the same time offers its participants an interesting network. In the end many more entrepreneurs with impact businesses can profit as well as the East African society as a whole,” said Nina Tellegen, chief executive officer (CEO) of the DOEN Foundation.
“I’m very pleased to be supporting these two companies. It has also been fascinating to see the progress of all the teams who have come through the programme over the past three months. They have all learnt so much, from the trainers, the mentors and each other,” said Goldie-Scot.