“The funding is a shot in the arm for us to strengthen our warehouse infrastructure by setting up cold storage facilities and also our delivery logistics so that we can cater to 6 new markets within Nairobi,” said Dominique Kavuisya, Co-Founder and CEO, Taimba.
Taimba will also use the funds to launch pilot phases in Mombasa and Kisumu city by next year and, as well introduce fruits, nuts and eggs as part of its farm product catalogue.
Founded in April 2017 by Dominique Kavuisya and Joan Kavuisya, Taimba sources from the farmer at prices that are farmer-friendly and then offers the retailers the fresh produce at lower than market prices enabling them to sell to the final consumer at more affordable prices including delivering to their premises.
The platform aims to help cut wastage and make farmer products affordable without undercutting the farmer. The funding was under its gender lens portfolio – GMC coLABS to help Taimba bolster its operations.
Taimba links rural small-scale farmers and delivers directly to informal green grocers, schools, hospitals and restaurants within Nairobi, thereby removing the middlemen and shrinking the agricultural value chain.
It currently has over 2,000 farmers in its portfolio and engages with 15 farmer SACCOs (Savings and Credit Co-operatives) selling produce such as potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and carrots on one side and 310 customers on the other comprising informal green grocers (85%), restaurants and cafés (10%) and Schools and hospitals (5%) based out in Nairobi.
Taimba offers 20-30% higher prices as compared to brokers, which the firm says helps generate better ROI along with direct linkage to urban markets. The platform also helps reduce post-harvest wastage by 50% and partners with financial institutions to provide loans for farmers to purchase certified seeds and fertilizers.
Taimba is working with Technoserve as its farmer outreach partner.
According to Joan Kavuisya, Co-Founder and Head of Product Development, “Taimba will be all about quality fresh produce grown with good farming practices. We plan on using technology to fine-tune traceability through-out the value chain-from seeds used to other farm inputs. We will expand our tech such that eventually there will be a simple solution that farmers and traders have a way to engage and benefit through us.”
For retailers, Taimba offers doorstep delivery of farm produce at lower market rates, helping them to save on 3-4 hours of sourcing time and nearly US$ 2-3 on logistics. Taimba has also rolled out a microloan facility for its retail customers to help them expand their businesses and to overcome liquidity challenges.
Women constitute 83% of informal greengrocers in Nairobi in the aged 22 to 39, and 80% of farmers in Kenya of an average age of 60.
“By delivering more money in their hands, in addition to the convenience of time, the women served by Taimba have an opportunity to create a better livelihood for themselves and their families”, said Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager – coLABS, Gray Matters Capital. She goes on to add, “The team has built a solution that can be replicated in other markets in East Africa with minimal tweaks, and we are excited to partner with them in their growth journey.”
The funding marks the fourth investment by the impact investor in Africa after Rwanda based ARED, Ghana based Redbird Health Tech, and Nigeria based Sonocare. Gray Matters Capital also recently invested in Kenya’s parent advisory turned e-commerce start-up MumsVillage and Sierra Leone head quartered EduFin start-up Mosabi under its global digital accelerator program – GMC Calibrator.
Launched in 2018, Gray Matters Capital (GMC) has committed $5 million over the next 3 years to help early-stage entrepreneurs to scale their enterprises. GMC coLABS investment ticket size is up to $250,000 per enterprise.