Wefarm, a London and Nairobi-based farmer-to-farmer digital network has secured $5 million in additional seed funding to develop commercial product offerings and build a new set of features.
The round was led by Silicon-Valley’s True Ventures with participation of Skype and Atomico Founder Niklas Zennström in a personal capacity, WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg, Blue Bottle Coffee CEO Bryan Meehan, and the Norrsken Foundation. Existing investors LocalGlobe and Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) also joined the round with significant follow on investment.
According to Kenny Ewan, Founder and CEO of Wefarm, “We’re proud to have created a network that empowers the close to one million farmers who use our service, and we’re excited to expand our reach and product capabilities this year.
Wefarm has a network of over 660,000 farmers in Kenya and Uganda and plans to expand into other areas of Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa. One such feature, Project Farmlog is an interactive, “smart farming assistant” that works even on feature phones targeted at the over 500 million small-scale farmers producing over 70 percent of the world’s food and spending over $400 billion on farm inputs and other services, annually.
Wefarm enables the world’s small-scale farmers – many of whom live in remote areas without access to the internet – to connect with one another to solve problems, share ideas, and spread innovation. Through Wefarm, farmers can ask questions in their own language on anything related to agriculture, from battling a crop disease or an infestation of army worm, to best practices for growing cash crops such as maize, tomatoes, coffee and tea.
Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures said Wefarm democratizes technology, promotes the fluidity of information across an entire segment of the food supply, and helps farmers become more productive.
“Wefarm is the kind of movement True was designed for, and we are excited to empower this business and mission for the world,” he said.
Wefarm’s data models will be able to track and predict keys issues, such as disease, ripening periods, shortages, drought, soil conditions, farm characteristics and many other vital supply chain issues. With this data, businesses can improve supply chain management and security, evaluate key trends and challenges, and increase sustainability and transparency.
Wefarm’s service works both online and over SMS for knowledge sharing to help farmers produce higher quality product, increase yields, gain insight into pricing, tackle the effects of climate change, source the best seeds, fertiliser, and loans, diversify agricultural interests, and more.