Nairobi based agritech start-up Farmshine has raised a USD 250,000 funding from US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital’s gender lens sector-agnostic portfolio – GMC coLABS.
This new funding marks the second investment by the impact investor in the agri-tech space in Kenya after funding B2B start-up Taimba in July this year. Farmshine also becomes the fifth African start-up added to Gray Matters Capital’s portfolio which includes Rwanda’s ARED, Ghana’s Redbird Health Tech and Nigeria’s Sonocare in the last two years.
The funds raised will be used to hire and train personnel, including field agents, and to further develop the platform to connect the agriculture ecosystem.
Farmshine’s agriculture operating system enables smallholder farmers to aggregate and sell their harvests directly to large commodity companies. This has not been possible in the past because there was no way to exchange accurate information on buyers’ contract offers, or to ensure the trust needed for buyers and farmers to engage in such a contract.
Combined with on-the-ground support from Farmshine’s field officers, the mobile app ensures that farmers are offered clear, fair and reliable contracts from legitimate buyers. Every activity takes place through the app – including contract agreement, production management, crop aggregation, and delivery and payment – ensuring full transparency among each party.
According to Luca Alinovi, Farmshine’s Founder & CEO, “Farmshine’s platform was designed with a farmer-first approach. It can be easily replicated for any value chain in any country, and can scale from thousands to hundreds of thousands of farmers.”
Outlining the investment rationale, Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager – coLABS, Gray Matters Capital said, “Women are often excluded from the formal economy in Kenya, and it is difficult for them to find better opportunities or higher paying work.”
”Farmshine’s platform enables women, who constitute 70% of its farmers, to receive significantly higher incomes by providing access to completely transparent pricing information before they plant, as well as the freedom to select the buyer they would like to supply to.” she says
Farmshine is rolling out its operating system to non-profit partners, expanding into higher-value commodities, and providing supermarkets with traceable products for its customers.