Kenya’s FarmDrive wins Thomson Reuters startup challenge

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Kenyan agri-tech startup FarmDrive has been named the winner of the Thomson Reuters Africa Startups Challenge, beating off competition from 13 other companies to bank the US$10,000 prize.

Disrupt Africa reported in May on the launch of the Africa Startups Challenge, which aims to identify the startups with the potential to leverage new technology and business models to leapfrog current or traditional solutions.

Fourteen startups were eventually shortlisted by hosts Thomson Reuters and VC4A, with FarmDrive chosen as the overall winner and walking away with the prize money.

Launched in late 2014, FarmDrive provides a simple digital record-keeping platform that enables farmers to keep track of their farming activities using a mobile phone. The farmers’ data combined with existing agricultural data is used to develop a comprehensive credit profile, to be used for the farmers’ credit assessment by financial institutions when they need funding.

The other shortlisted startups included Abacus – which provides real-time data on the Nairobi Securities Exchange; Nigerian research e-library Academix; Nigerian agritech firm AgroData; Kenya’s African Markets – a platform dedicated to African stocks; blockchain secured land information database from Ghana BenBen; and Ugandan mobile fintech startup Ensibuuko.

Also making the shortlist are Kenyan FX payments platform Kwanji; Markit Opportunity – which connects smallholder farmers in Kenya with market traders; Kenyan visualisation platform RippleNami; Nigerian record keeping solution for MSMEs SmartFinance; digital commodities exchange from Uganda tech4farmers; investor communications platform The Vault; and Nigerian IoT startup for farmers Zenvus.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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