SA big data startup The Awareness Company secures Microsoft funding

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South African big data startup The Awareness Company has been selected for Microsoft South Africa’s AgriTech Programme, securing equity investment in the process.

The Awareness Company was formed in April 2018, with the team having previously worked together within research, development and innovation in the public sector. 

The startup uses data-driven storytelling to help people, communities and organisations to become more efficient and impactful. HYDRA, its technology, combines AI, IoT and data analytics to create solutions for agriculture and conservation, safety and security, and smart buildings and cities. 

It is the agricultural aspect that Microsoft South Africa is interested in, and the company has selected The Awareness Company as the beneficiary of its AgriTech Programme. The programme’s main objective is to drive digital transformation in the agriculture sector by collaborating with companies that develop high impact solutions and empower smallholder farmers.

As part of the programme, and utilising the funding, The Awareness Company will develop and roll out three high-impact solutions in the agriculture sector within the next year. These solutions will enable smallholder farmers to improve efficiencies in their farming operations through the use of operational insights. This will allow them to reduce the cost of production, increase yields, strengthen linkages through the value chain and improve farm security.

“The country’s two to four million smallholder farmers play a critical role in driving food security and economic participation, but they face specific and deep-rooted challenges, and the sector is typically underserved in terms of high-tech solutions,” said Priaash Ramadeen, co-founder and CEO of The Awareness Company.

“That’s why Microsoft’s support and investment in helping us as a local, homegrown business to grow and develop solutions that focus on solving real-world problems is so meaningful. The programme is a jump-start that has enabled us to create and update products that synchronise with the work we have already done in the agricultural space to promote sustainable agriculture and food security through intelligent data.”

“Technology – specifically agri-tech – has the ability to empower our country’s smallholder farmers by enabling them to become more productive, efficient, competitive, commercially viable and sustainable,” said Lillian Barnard, CEO of Microsoft South Africa.

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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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