- West African agritech start-up Afrikamart has just announced the closing of a $850 000 seed round of financing from leading venture capital groups, including the BLOC Smart Africa fund managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, Orange Ventures, Launch Africa and Teranga Capital.
The proceeds from the financing is said to allow the company to ramp-up its purchases from smallholder farmers across the country. Also, it allows for more efficient logistics management and last mile delivery of 14 fresh types of vegetables directly to street vendors and small retailers, restaurants and hotels in Dakar and Mbour, both in Senegal.
By doing that, Afrikamart will create efficiencies, enhance information and trust in the marketplace, increase the diversity and quality of local produce available to consumers, eliminate late payments by intermediaries, reduce waste (up to 50% of fresh produces is typically wasted), and position itself as the buyer and seller of choice for both producers and retailers. The company was founded in 2018 by three-time entrepreneurs Mignane Diouf, a software engineer, and Albert Diouf, an agricultural commodity trader.
Afrikamart’s end-to-end solution allows a formalization of the fresh food value chain and the empowerment of small market operators. To date, nearly 2 000 farmers have provided Afrikamart with fresh produce; up to 10 tonnes have been delivered per day to 500 regular customers across 4 cities in Senegal. The company expects to have onboarded a total of 5 000 farmers and 2 000 retailers by year-end.
“After launching our small retailer trading program late 2021, we have been overwhelmed by the demand for our solution. The annual fresh fruits and vegetable market in Senegal represents half a billion tonnes and a $1 billion market opportunity. Once we have successfully entered the Senegalese market, we intend to take our tech platform and knowhow to other West African countries,” said Mignane DIOUF, founder and chief executive of Afrikamart.
The chief executive of Smart Africa, Lacina Koné, commented on the successful round: “Afrikamart is one of the most innovative and fastest growing start-ups of Senegal. Investing in such businesses using scalable technology-led solutions is part of the DNA of the Bloc Smart Africa fund and we are extremely pleased to support this agritech local champion for their expansion strategy.