Nigerian agri-tech startup ThriveAgric has raised US$56.4 million in debt funding from local commercial banks and institutional investors to grow its 200,000-strong farmer base and expand into new African markets, including Ghana, Zambia and Kenya.
Founded in 2017 and fully operational since 2018, ThriveAgric empowers farmers in Nigeria to sell their products to FMCGs and food processors, leveraging its proprietary technology to access finance as well as improve productivity and sales to promote food security.
The technology, an agricultural operating system, works entirely offline, dispatches USSD to farmers, and powers Android apps used by field agents to help digitally collate creditworthy farmers and gather relevant farm data.
The US$56.4 million in debt funding also includes a co-investment grant of US$1.75 million from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment, and will be used to further boost its user base and expand into new markets across Africa.
Over the past 12 months, ThriveAgric’s revenues have increased five-fold, with a year-on-year increase of 277 per cent in farmer numbers. This represents a strong turnaround for the company, which in late-2020 was forced to shuffle its management team as it looked to turn the business around after failing to payout subscribers in time in the wake of a slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new investment takes us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of building the largest network of profitable African farmers using technology, to ensure food security. We look ahead with renewed confidence knowing that our smallholder farmers will benefit financially even more from this new investment,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Uka Eje.
“Despite a volatile backdrop over the past few years, brought about by the global pandemic, ThriveAgric witnessed temporary payment disruptions to our retail crowdfunders. However, we were able to overcome those challenges within a year and maintained company profitability. Our solid financial performance underscores investors’ faith in ThriveAgric.”