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Three African Countries Leading AgriFoodTech Investments

by Victor Adeyemi
three-african-countries-leading-agrifoodtech-investment

Amidst economic challenges in recent years, international investors are showing unwavering interest in Africa’s startup ecosystem. 

Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt in particular are leading in agrifoodtech investment. These countries are at the forefront of transforming agriculture through innovative solutions.

In 2022, these three countries together raised 86% ($546.8 million) of the total $636 million funding for agrifoodtech in Africa. So, how did they achieve this remarkable feat? Let’s find out the strategies and factors that contributed to their success.

How Africa’s “Big Three” Took the Lead 

The “Big Three” pushed faster in terms of startup and funding. This is partly a result of their large economies, but there’s more to it than that.

According to AgFunder’s Report, in the last decade, Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria have collectively secured over $1.3 billion in funding for agrifoodtech projects. 

In 2022 specifically, these three countries accounted for over 86% of the total financing in Africa.

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Africa agrifoodtech investments in the past 10 years
September, 2022 
Source: AgFunder

 

1st: Kenya 

Kenya is currently leading the pack in Africa for attracting investments in agritech companies. In 2022, Kenya pulled ahead of Nigeria in total dollar investments and the number of deals completed.

Overall, Kenyan agritech startups have raised the most funding in the past decade. The country pulled in a total of $608 million. This represents one-third of all the money invested in African agritech companies since 2013 (which is $1.8 billion). 

Here are three top agritech startups in Kenya, ranked based on the total funds they raised in 2021 and 2022:

1. Twiga Foods 

Twiga foods

Twiga Foods operates as a B2B platform that delivers produce from rural farmers to small and medium-sized vendors and retailers.

  • Founded: 2014 
  • Development Stage: Series C
  • Funding: Twiga Foods secured $50 million Series C round in 2021. This is the largest funding round for a Midstream Tech company in Kenya.
  • Future Plans: To build supply chains in food and retail distribution on the continent. 

2. Apollo Agriculture

Apollo Agric

Apollo Agriculture is an online marketplace that provides farmers access to agricultural inputs, financing, and advice.

  • Founded: 2016
  • Development Stage: Series B
  • Funding: Apollo Agriculture raised $40 million in a Series B funding round in March 2022.
  • Future Plans: To facilitate a system where smallholder farmers receive loans to purchase high-quality inputs, agronomic advice, and insurance.

3. Pula 

Pula

Pula Advisors is an agricultural insurance company that offers innovative agricultural insurance solutions to farmers. 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Development Stage: Series A
  • Funding: Pula received $6 million in investment from impact investor TLcom Capital and Women’s World Banking in 2021.
  • Future Plans: To provide agricultural insurance to smallholder farmers across Africa and beyond.

2nd: Nigeria

Nigeria has become a leading market in Sub-Saharan Africa for companies that use technology to help farmers. Investors and organisations around the world are increasingly interested in this country.

The number of deals in Nigerian agritech was similar to Kenya’s in 2022, with 35 deals totaling $154 million. A big investment in Nigeria was the $55 million funding round for ThriveAgric, a company that connects businesses with farmers.

Here are three top agritech startups in Nigeria, ranked based on the total funds they raised in 2021 and 2022.

1. ThriveAgric 

ThriveAgric

ThriveAgric provides data-driven technologies to link smallholder farmers to funding opportunities and lucrative markets. 

  • Founded: 2016
  • Development Stage: Series A
  • Funding: In March 2022, ThriveAgric received $56.4 million in debt funding from banks and investors. This totals $58.15 million raised from 2021 to 2022.
  • Future Plans: The company aims to grow its network of over 500,000 farmers and expand into new African markets like Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya.

2. Agricorp 

Agricorp

Agricorp International specialises in producing, processing, and exporting spices. It provides B2B space for the Food and Agriculture Tech market sector. 

  • Founded: 2018
  • Development Stage: Series A
  • Funding: In September of 2022, Agricorp secured $17.5 million in Series A funding to expand its processing capacity to 7000 metric tonnes.
  • Future Plan: “Project 2025” — to meet the growing demand for spices as an export material. 

3. Releaf 

Releaf

Releaf provides ingredients, such as palm oil, to manufacturers who make food and other consumer goods.

  • Founded: 2017
  • Development Stage: Seed
  • Funding: In 2021, Releaf received a total of  $4.2 million in seed funding. 
  • Future Plan: To advance the industrialization of food processing in Africa.

3rd: Egypt

Coming in third place for attracting agrifoodtech investments in Africa is Egypt. The agricultural sector significantly contributes to the country’s economy. This makes up 12% of its GDP. 

In September 2022, Egyptian agritech startups raised $112 million across 24 different funding deals. 

While overall funding slowed down in the first half of 2023, several Egyptian agritech startups secured substantial funding rounds in 2021 and 2022. Here are some of the leading companies in this space: 

1. Rabbit 

Rabbit

Rabbit offers a new experience to customers compared to traditional grocers and local stores. It focuses on speed and efficiency.

  • Founded: 2021
  • Development Stage: Seed
  • Funding: In 2021, the company raised a record-breaking $11 million in pre-seed funding from investors like Global Founders Capital, Foundation Ventures, Raed Ventures, MSA Capital, and Goodwater Capital.
  • Future Plan: The company aims to transform the future of retail by focusing on speed and customer experience. 

2. Breadfast  

Breadfast

Breadfast offers bread and other household essentials like dairy products, fruits, vegetables, frozen meats, and more through a convenient app. Customers can shop for their daily needs 24/7 and receive deliveries within minutes.

  • Founded: 2020
  • Development Stage: Seed
  • Funding: Breadfast raised $26 million in its latest funding round, which was Series A round held on Nov 03, 2021.
  • Future Plan: To establish itself as a leading provider of on-demand grocery delivery services in Africa and the Middle East

3. Appetito 

Appetito

Appetito offers customers a mobile grocery shopping experience with scheduled deliveries and several payment options.

  • Founded: 2020
  • Development Stage: Seed
  • Funding: Appetito secured a $450k seed round of financing in 2021. The investment was led by a group of Saudi Angel investors, with Ahmed Al Alola as the lead investor.
  • Future Plan: The company wants to grow its business by opening many more warehouses (from 7 to 150) to handle online orders by 2024. 

AgriFoodTech Investment Across Africa 

While Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt have become front-runners in attracting agrifoodtech investments, other African countries haven’t seen the same level of investment.

Although South Africa is number 4 in attracting agrifoodtech investments, it hasn’t seen significant investment in recent years. The second-largest deal on the continent outside these top performers was $19 million in Mauritius.

Additionally, countries with substantial agricultural sectors, like Ethiopia (where agriculture makes up 40% of GDP), haven’t seen much investment in agrifoodtech solutions.

Way Forward

To address these disparities, each country should develop creative programs and form valuable partnerships to encourage individuals and organisations to invest in agritech startups.

With this, we can turn Africa into a continent that not only grows enough food for itself but also thrives through innovation.

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