Apollo Agriculture, the Kenyan agri-tech startup has secured a US$6 million Series A funding round to continue rapidly scaling by partnering with more farmers, expanding its product offerings, and growing its team.
Founded in 2016, Apollo Agriculture offers a mobile-based product suit for farmers that includes working capital, data analysis for higher crop yields and options to purchase key inputs and equipment.
“It’s everything a farmer needs to succeed. It’s the seeds and fertilizer they need to plant, the advice they need to manage that product over the course of the season. The insurance they need to protect themselves in case of a bad year…and then, ultimately, the financing,” Apollo Agriculture CEO Eli Pollak told TechCrunch on a call.
The startup has engineered its own app, platform and outreach program to connect with Kenya’s farmers. Apollo uses M-Pesa mobile money, machine learning and satellite data to guide the credit and products it offers them.
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Apollo’s addressable market includes the many smallholder farmers across Kenya’s population of 53 million. The problem it’s helping them solve is a lack of access to the tech and resources to achieve better results on their plots.
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Apollo Agriculture’s drive to boost the output and earnings of Africa’s smallholder farmers is born out of the common interests of its co-founders.
Pollak is an American who studied engineering at Stanford University and went to work in agronomy in the U.S. with The Climate Corporation. “That was how I got excited about Apollo. I would look at other markets and say, ‘wow, they’re farming 20% more acres of maize, or corn, across Africa but farmers are producing dramatically less than U.S. farmers,’” said Pollak.
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