Wefarm, the digital network for global small-scale agriculture said that part of the $13 million it raised from investors will be used to support the growth of farmers in Africa.
In a Series A financing round led by venture capital firm True Ventures, Wefarm announced it has secured $13 million funding to help scale further its network. It will also use the funds to scale its newly created Marketplace, to connect farmers in Africa, even those without internet access, to the information, products and services they need for success.
Wefarm employs machine learning technology to enable collaboration and trading between small-scale farmers across Africa and around the world. The company is headquartered in London with offices in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Kampala.
Wefarm, which boasts 1.9 million farmers within its network, wants to enable a global eco-system for small-scale agriculture by building the network of trust for those farmers. Wefarm Marketplace, in particular, allows farmers to easily access quality products and services from trusted retailers and brands. These include, among other things, seeds, fertilizers and a range of other non-agricultural items.
Farmers can trust these products, services and retailers because they have been recommended by Wefarm users. These products can even be purchased through SMS, eliminating barriers associated with logistics and technology.
The platform also facilitates transparency and efficiency, reducing the risks of fake or faulty agricultural products creeping up in the marketplace. For smallholder farmers—who contribute to roughly 70 percent of the world’s food—this enhanced transparency results in significant savings in time and money. Besides, Wefarm also intends to use its technology to bridge the gap between farm yields and farming activities in Africa.
Wefarm says its Marketplace is growing at more than 40 percent per month which represents a rapid growth trajectory. The company has so far achieved $1 million in total sales from the Wefarm Marketplace in just eight months since launch. That growth is faster than both Amazon and eBay in their early stages.
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.”
Over the next 12 months, Wefarm plans to diversify into supporting farmers with both financing and delivery, as well as enabling them to trade the commodities and crops they grow. This will enable the company to become a key part of the global supply chain advocating for farmers’ interests.
Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures said that they are “enormously inspired” by the way Wefarm is empowering farmers across the globe. He further added that the remarkable growth of Wefarm Marketplace is a sign of good things to come.
“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”, Callaghan added.
The Wefarm funding came from True Ventures, AgFunder, June Fund, among other investors. It also received significant follow-on investments from LocalGlobe, ADV and Norrsken Foundation.