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Kenya: Apollo Agriculture raises $6 million in Series A financing

Kenya based agritech and financial services startup, Apollo Agriculture has raised $6 million in Series A financing to bolster its resolve to empower small-scale farmers to maximize their profits.

Eli Pollak is the founder and CEO of Apollo Agriculture, a company launched in 2016 that uses mobile technology, machine learning and remote sensing to deliver customised packages of seed, fertiliser, advice, insurance and credit to small-scale farmers.

Apollo Agriculture is a technology company based in Nairobi, Kenya that helps small-scale farmers maximize their profits. The company uses machine learning and automated operations technology to help small-scale farmers access everything they need to maximize their profitability, from financing and insurance, to farming products and optimized advice.

The company was founded in in 2016 by Eli Pollak and Earl St Sauver, both former employees of the Climate Corporation, and Seth Silverman, former head of Kenya operations at One Acre Fund. The founders’ vision is to help smallholder farmers in emerging markets maximize their profits.

The investment allows Apollo to continue rapidly scaling by partnering with more farmers, expanding its product offerings, and growing its team. Apollo has already partnered with close to 25,000 farmers so far in 2020.

“We are incredibly excited to bring together a world-class group of investors, with expertise across financial services and agriculture, to help power Apollo’s growth in the coming years. Our mission is more important than ever in the context of COVID-19, when health risks, supply chain disruptions, and reduced mobility threaten food security for millions globally. Our digital model has enabled us to continue partnering with farmers to produce more food, despite the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19,” said Eli Pollak, Apollo’s CEO and co-founder.

Benjamin Njenga, Apollo’s Chief Customer Officer and co-founder, described the opportunity, “Every farmer, everywhere, deserves the opportunity to farm profitably, and that is not the norm today. There are more than 500 million small-scale farmers globally, and average farm yields per acre across Africa are only 10-20% of those in North America. Apollo exists to change that. We partner with farmers to maximize their farm productivity and profitability.

The round was led by Anthemis Exponential Ventures, with participation from Leaps by Bayer, Flourish Ventures, a venture of The Omidyar Group, Sage Hill Capital, To Ventures Food, Breyer Labs, and existing investors Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital, among others.

Vica Manos, Partner at Anthemis, said, “The Apollo Agriculture team is solving a massive gap in the agricultural space by helping small-scale farmers turn their daily labour into profitable businesses. We are very excited to back the Apollo team on their journey to change the lives of millions of farmers that have been overlooked by traditional financial services companies, by providing them with the right instruments, from optimized financing and farming tools to valuable farming advice. In light of the global pandemic, their mission is more urgent than ever.”

 

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