Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Safaricom Spark Fund Backs AgriTech Startup

Article Image
AgriTech startup iProcure has become the sixth and final African startup to be awarded investment by the Safaricom Spark Fund, which has shared US$1 million between its portfolio companies.

iProcure has developed and is running a supply chain platform in Kenya that connects farmers to the manufacturers of agricultural inputs (feedstuffs, fertilizers and permitted plant protection products permitted for use in organic farming). Farmers using the platform receive discounts of between 10% and 20% when they purchase products using the platform, which uses a mobile voucher scheme.

The investment (details of which have not been released), will enable Nairobi-based iProcure to further develop its platform and expand beyond Kenya's Central and Rift Valley regions into western and eastern Kenya. By doing so, iProcure hopes it can increase agricultural output in Kenya, which is currently hampered in parts by supply chain issues.

"At iProcure we are all about optimizing rural supply chains," said Nicole Galletta, the startup's chief operations officer. "We build both the supply chain technology in addition to 'on-the-ground' infrastructure to ensure smallholder farming communities get the inputs they require on terms that are convenient and affordable. We share an underlying belief, with Safaricom, that smallholder farmers are essential to our nationís food security, and look forward to playing our part in improving the welfare of farmers across Kenya," she added.

"We started the Spark Fund with the aim of supporting emerging startups that use technology to transform lives," said Safaricom Ltd. CEO Bob Collymore in a prepared statement. "As it joins the outstanding crop of Spark Fund investees, iProcure will be instrumental in harnessing the power of technology to improve Kenya's agri-business processes," he added.

Launched in 2014, the Safaricom Spark Venture Fund seeks to "make late-seed to early-growth stage investments in startups using mobile technology as an enabler," says Safaricom. The total fund of $1 million has been invested in exchange for a minority stake or provided as convertible debt -- see this explanation of the fund's goals.

In August 2015, Sendy, a marketplace for businesses and individuals to connect with drivers to make deliveries simple and transparent, became the first investee. mSurvey, a mobile-first research platform that leverages SMS and mobile messaging technology to simplify access to credible, on-demand data, became the second.

Also funded are: Eneza, a mobile-based learning platform that targets students and adults in Kenya and other countries; Lynk, which connects customers with professionals and artisans from fields such as tailoring, carpentry, house helps, waiters, chefs and many others; and FarmDrive, which has developed an alternative credit-scoring model based on mobile phones and machine learning that can enable farmers to have formal access to loans and financing.

For more details, see the infographic below.

ó Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.

Innovation hub


Hot startup of the month: Pan-African fintech KamaPay

This month's hot startup is pan-African fintech KamaPay, which helps individuals and businesses make cross-border payments on the continent.


Afretec awards $3.3M in grants to African research teams

The African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec) has awarded grants worth $300,000 each to 11 university research teams across Africa to advance digital technologies.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Africa Tech Perspectives


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.


Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.


Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

London Tech Week
June 13-16, 2023
Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE
Cybertech Africa 2023
August 1-2, 2023
Kigali Convention Center, Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up