Village Capital has picked 12 startups that will take part in its FinTech for Agriculture accelerator programme in Nairobi, Kenya, two of which will ultimately walk away with US$50,000 each in funding.
The company, which has supported 450 ventures in 30 programs across nine countries since 2009, finds, trains and invests in early-stage ventures solving major social problems through profitable business solutions.
The three-month FinTech for Agriculture accelerator programme which is returning to East Africa for the third time, aims to unlock innovations that increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers. From over 125 applications from nine countries, it has now chosen the 12 most outstanding startups.
The startups include Atikus Insurance, which expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders, Chamasoft, a web and mobile app to automate record keeping for investment groups, Ensibuuko, which builds ICT solutions to enable enterprises to deliver financial services efficiently, FarmDrive, which transforms how smallholder farmers access financial services, and Farmerline, which provides accurate and timely agricultural information to farmers.
Also involved are M-Shamba, an interactive platform for smallholder farmers and traders, Mobipay, which provides tech solutions to various economic sectors to drive commerce and trade, nanoCredit Technologies, which offers lending and de-risking engines, Rangerland Solutions, an online livestock marketing platform, Redcore Interactive, which has developed the remit.ug platform for online international money transfers to mobile money in Africa, SmartMoney, which provides free-of-charge branchless mobile banking, and YieldUganda, which sources high quality, traceable food products for local and export markets.
“Thanks to the pool of talented and innovative startups that applied for a place on our programme from across East Africa, it was a challenging process to select the final 12. We have been truly impressed with the quality of applications received this year,” said John Mulqueen, financial associate at Village Capital.
“We are very excited to get started with our programme, and get down to work. We look forward to building and shaping the innovative solutions our startups are creating, and we believe their work will truly unlock the value of East Africa’s agricultural sector.”
The startups will now commence the three month programme, for which Village Capital has pre-committed US$100,000 in investment to be shared by two startups in the cohort. The winners of the funding will be chosen by the accelerator participants at the end of the programme in June.
“The Village Capital Fintech for Agriculture programme is great for remit.ug because it provides us and other entrepreneurs with an opportunity to grow, and to help a very critical group of people – the financially underserved. We are excited about networking and sharing with other entrepreneurs in the space who are facing the same challenges,” said Stone Atwine, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Recore International, one of the selected startups.
Programme graduates are expected to increase their revenue growth by 4.5 times, and distribute goods and/or services to 200,000 customers within the two years following completion of the accelerator. Village Capital estimates the companies forming the cohort will create 200 jobs over the next two years in East Africa, with an estimated 60 per cent of jobs going to individuals living below the poverty line.
The startups will participate in three workshops to be held in Nairobi, on April 15-18, May 19-22 and June 22-25.