Kenyan start-up Apollo Agriculture has received a financial boost from Dutch Development Bank FMO and the Rabobank Foundation, totaling USD 500,000. Apollo Agriculture is supplying small Kenyan farmers with high-quality farming inputs on credit, crop insurance and voice-based training. Apollo uses a unique ‘high tech, low touch’ model by leveraging advances in mobile money, machine learning and remote sensing technology including satellite data.
According to Eli Pollak, CEO of Apollo Agriculture: “Funding from FMO and Rabobank Foundation will allow us to expand our lending reach and will greatly accelerate our rate of learning. The more loans we extend and the more data we gather, the more effective our credit model becomes at predicting default. Joint support from FMO and Rabobank Foundation is a tremendous asset in this effort, and we are thrilled to have found such an aligned partnership with two organizations at the forefront of agricultural development finance.”
Apollo Agriculture has received a USD 250,000 convertible grant from FMO’s MASSIF Fund, which aims to take early high-investment risks and act as a catalyst for the growth of the private financial sector and financial inclusion in developing countries. The Rabobank Foundation has provided the start-up with a USD 250,000 loan.
The tech start-up will use the FMO and Rabobank Foundation financing to fund the farmers’ harvesting cycles, further develop the credit model and to expand geographically.
Jeroen Harteveld, FMO’s Fund Manager of MASSIF, said: “Apollo Agriculture is well-aligned with the aims of MASSIF in providing access to finance for entrepreneurs in low-income countries, with a particular focus on rural areas. It also fits with FMO’s focus to finance fintech companies that have inclusive business models. We are helping a young company support small farmers to improve their livelihoods and optimize their produce.”
Albert Boogaard, Head Innovation Rabobank Foundation: “Apollo Agriculture is unique in that it combines a tech-driven approach with strong local knowledge. The combination of different services results in a new business model for farmer finance that has the potential to reduce both the risks and operational costs of lending significantly and at scale. Building analytical models on, amongst others, remote sensing helps to reach previously unbanked farmers. This approach fits very well in the innovation strategy of the Rabobank Foundation.”