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South African agri-fintech startup HelloChoice raises investment from Standard Bank for expansion.

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HelloChoice, a South African Agri-FinTech start-up, has announced the closing of a major investment from Standard Bank, solidifying its market-leading position as the leading digital fresh produce and agricultural marketplace.

HelloChoice was launched in 2018 by Grant Jacobs and Graeme Jarvie with the goal of modernizing the traditional farm produce buying and selling process. HelloChoice has always been devoted to solving broader food security and socio-economic concerns in this sector, while being self-funded and based on a desire to develop a successful trading community. HelloChoice is the world’s first independent fresh produce trading platform, with the goal of promoting economic success and market efficiency for both buyers and sellers.

The company’s business-to-business digital marketplace has proven to be a powerful tool for both buyers and sellers, with over 2,000 users joining and trading over R100 million in its first 30 months of operation, ensuring better market access and prices for farmers, as well as faster product access and lower prices for buyers.

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Using HelloChoice’s bespoke technology platform to connect farmers with registered charities and feeding schemes, HelloChoice was invited to work with Standard Bank on the very impacting OneFarm Share hunger relief and food security campaign in 2020. As a trustworthy, trusted way for emerging farmers, commercial farmers, and food processors to give their surplus food to help overcome hunger and poverty, OneFarm Share links requests for food aid with extra fresh produce from emerging farmers, commercial farmers, and food processors.

OneFarm Share is currently a national organization that has raised the supply and delivery of hunger relief donations to 3,200 tons, amounting to 12.8 million nutritious meals for disadvantaged children and communities, as of August 31, 2021. More than half of the produce purchased or donated so far came from 43 new farmers, and it was efficiently delivered to 1 million people via 750 registered beneficiary organizations and essential food distribution partners like FoodForward SA. Commercial farmers and food processors provided the remainder of the food.

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HelloChoice will be able to continue its aim of promoting economic prosperity and food security by modernising and digitising agricultural trade thanks to the recently announced 25% equity arrangement with Standard Bank.

“Standard Bank’s equity purchase in HelloChoice affirms the bank’s aspirations to play a broader role in the agriculture ecosystem, and forms part of the wider ecosystem strategy, which houses OneFarm and OneFarm Share,” Head of Ecosystems at Standard Bank, Wendy Pienaar said.

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Co-founder and CEO of HelloChoice, Grant Jacobs explains what this investment means for the expansion of HelloChoice as a digital online marketplace: “HelloChoice is more than a business to us – it’s an uplifting cause to build a thriving trading community that benefits all participating agricultural and food sectors role-players. HelloChoice is spearheading the modernisation of agricultural trade as we digitise food production and trade, to help unlock and protect value in this sector so central to nourishing and sustaining life. The strategic investment will help us to further fund ongoing tech investment and operational capacity, as we leverage our complementary offerings and strengths to deliver more innovative services and solutions to customers in South Africa and across our continent. At a personal level, I am energised by the good work we are doing and the adventure of building an impactful and significant business.”

HelloChoice has always been innovating, and its next big mobile app release, TradeAlerts, will be available soon. TradeAlerts uses geolocation and customer profiles to better link buyers and sellers. Machine learning and blockchain technology will be included in future releases to improve matching and traceability.

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Weddy Thuranira
Weddy Thuranira
Weddy profiles new startups and innovators across Africa and announces funding rounds, mergers, acquisitions and startup partnerships across Africa. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Reach her and the entire news desk at [email protected]

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