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Kenyan agri-tech start-up secures US$100k funding

Kenyan agri-tech start-up secures US0k funding

Nairobi-based B2B agri-tech start-up Taimba has secured US$100,000 in funding from US impact investor Gray Matters Capital via GMS coLABS, and will use the investment to strengthen its infrastructure and increase delivery logistics to cater to six new local markets.

Taimba sources agricultural products directly from the rural small-scale farmers and delivers directly to local customers, predominantly informal green grocers.

According to information supplied, the start-up currently has over 2,000 farmers in its portfolio and engages with 15 farmer SACCOs (Savings and Credit Co-operatives) selling produce and 310 customers comprising informal green grocers (85%), restaurants and cafés (10%), and schools and hospitals (5%).

Taimba says by piloting open contracts with Kenyan farmers, it offers 20-30% higher prices as compared to brokers, helping generate better ROI along with direct linkage to urban markets.

"This also helps reduce post-harvest wastage by 50%. To tackle the problem of constrained cash flow, Taimba partners with financial institutions to provide loans for farmers to purchase certified seeds and fertilisers," reads an excerpt from a statement released to the media.

International non-profit organisation Technoserve has partnered with Taimba as its farmer outreach partner.

The start-up is said to have also rolled out a microloan facility for its retail customers to help them expand their businesses and to overcome liquidity challenges.

Dominique Kavuisya, co-founder and chief executive officer, Taimba said, "We are delighted to become a part of Gray Matters Capital's portfolio through the coLABS funding. This is a validation of the work which we have been doing and the impact on-ground delivering value to vendors and farmers through our mobile platform. The funding is a shot in the arm for us to strengthen our warehouse infrastructure by setting up cold storage facilities and also our delivery logistics so that we can cater to six new markets within Nairobi."

The start-up is also planning to pilot in Mombasa and Kisumu city by 2020 and plans to introduce new products including fruits, nuts and eggs as part of its farm product catalogue.

Joan Kavuisya, co-Founder and head of product development, added: "We plan on using technology to fine tune traceability through-out the value chain-from seeds used to other farm inputs."

Women constitute 83% of informal green grocers in Nairobi in the aged 22 to 39, and 80% of farmers in Kenya of an average age of 60.

"By delivering more money in their hands, in addition to the convenience of time, the women served by Taimba have an opportunity to create a better livelihood for themselves and their families", said Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager – coLABS, Gray Matters Capital. "The team has built a solution that can be replicated in other markets in East Africa with minimal tweaks, and we are excited to partner with them in their growth journey."

The funding marks the fourth investment by the impact investor in Africa after Rwanda-based ARED, Ghana-based Redbird Health Tech, and Nigeria based Sonocare.

Gray Matters Capital has also supported two start-ups from the continent - Kenya's parent advisory turned e-commerce start-up MumsVillage and Sierra Leone head quartered EduFin start-up Mosabi as part of its global digital accelerator program - GMC Calibrator earlier this year.

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