Wefarm, a Nairobi and London-based startup digital network for small-scale farmers, has raised $13 million in a Series A financing round to scale its network of 1.9 million farmers, in Africa and beyond.
Wefarm says the financing round was led by Silicon Valley’s True Ventures with participation from AgFunder and June Fund, among others.
Founded in 2015, Wefarm is building a global ecosystem for small-scale agriculture with plans to reach over billion people directly involved in small-scale farming.
“We are enormously inspired by how Kenny and the Wefarm team have empowered the world’s farmers, and we see great potential for their future,” said Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures. “The company is not only impact-driven, but the impressive growth of the Wefarm Marketplace demonstrates exciting commercial opportunities that will connect those farmers to more of what they need to the benefit of all, across the food supply chain. This is a big, global business.”
Wefarm Marketplace allows farmers to easily access quality products and services, such as seeds, fertilizers and a range of other non-agricultural items from trusted retailers and brands.
In line with Wefarm’s bottom-up model, all products, services and retailers on the platform have been recommended by Wefarm users and can even be purchased through SMS.
Smallholder farmers lose a lot of time and money due to fake or faulty agricultural products. In part due to this, farm yields in many parts of Africa are just one-fifth of farm yield in the United States or Europe. Poor-quality seeds and fertilisers also limit growth in plants and animals. Given that smallholder farmers grow roughly 70% of the world’s food, Wefarm intends to use its technology to help close this yield gap.
The funding round coincides with the recent milestone of reaching $1 million in total sales from the Wefarm Marketplace in just eight months since launch. The firm also reports that its Marketplace sales are growing at more than 40% month on month and over the next 12 months it aims to diversify into supporting farmers with both financing and delivery.
Wefarm CEO and Founder Kenny Ewan believes the platform’s Marketplace will grow into an expansive ecosystem for smallholder farmers.
“If we can inspire 100 million farmers to work together on one platform, we can fundamentally shift global agriculture and trade in their favour, and this round of funding will take us even closer to bringing this vision for improved farm yields into fruition,” said Ewan.
“It’s about harnessing AI to champion human intelligence. Our network of trust empowers farmers to find solutions to problems by knowledge sharing. In tandem, the marketplace will give them access to first-rate products that help to deliver better produce. The combination of the two has limitless potential to influence and fight the major agricultural crisis we face.”