Kenya-based agritech Apollo Agriculture raises $40M Series B

apollo agriculure raises $40 million

Kenya-based agritech Apollo Agriculture, which helps farmers access high-quality farm inputs, financing and markets raised $40 million in Series B funding in the equity round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2.

The Series B funding round was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 with participation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Yara Growth Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, CDC, and existing investors including Anthemis Exponential Ventures, Flourish Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, SBI, Breyer Capital and TO Ventures Food.

“Apollo’s platform offers a one-stop-shop solution to help small-scale farmers in emerging regions to improve crop and livestock outputs. Embedding valuable financial services like credit, insurance and advice into the supply chain is critical in supporting a more efficient and sustainable global food chain.”

~ Alexia Yannopoulos, Director at Softbank Investment

Earlier, Apollo Agriculture raised $6 million Series A funding in 2020, ever since it has grown 10 times and accelerated by-product financing. The agritech has also received over $16 million in debt funding over the years for onward lending.

Apollo Agriculture was founded in 2016 by Benjamin Njenga, Earl St Sauver, and  Eli Pollak to help farmers in emerging markets maximize their profits. It started off by working with maize farmers but helping them diversify to other high-yielding crops has been its area of focus.

The company uses agronomic machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile phones to deliver a customized package of credit, high-quality farm inputs, and advice that can double farm yields, starting in Kenya. Apollo assesses farmer credit risk and customizes each package to a farmer’s specific location using satellite data, soil data, farmer behaviour data, and crop yield models.

“We believe that the pathway from subsistence farming to farming as a business means partnering with that farmer and using our machine learning models to identify the farmers with the best prospects of graduating to higher-profitability crops.”

~ Eli Pollak, co-founder and CEO Apollo Agriculture

By the end of 2021, Apollo had worked with 100,000 farmers and further plans to double the reach by the end of this year. It has a network of over a thousand retailers and 5,000 agents spread across the country.

 It plans to use the new funding to refine its technology and deliver more products and services to farmers. The agritech is scouting for growth opportunities in East and West Africa.

 “We are continuing to invest in growing fast, serving more farmers, helping them grow their acreage and really hitting the acceleration on the business. And so that’ll be both continued expansion across Kenya but also expansion into new markets.”

~ Eli Pollak, co-founder and CEO Apollo Agriculture

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