Nairobi, Kenya, November 15, 2018—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, TLcom, and the Global Agriculture and
Food Security Program (GAFSP) today announced a $10 million investment
in Twiga Foods, a Kenyan-based start-up connecting smallholder farmers
in rural areas to informal retail vendors in cities.
The investment was co-led by IFC and TLcom, a Pan-African venture capital
firm, with participation from previous investors Wamda Capital, DOB Equity,
1776 and Adolph H.Lundin. As part of the deal, Wale Ayeni, who leads IFC’s
venture capital activities in Africa, and Maurizio Caio, Managing Partner
at TLcom will join the board.
The Twiga Foods platform uses mobile phone technology to match supply and
demand, aggregating market participants and finding buyers for farmers’
produce in Africa’s large, but highly fragmented fruit and vegetable market.
Twiga’s m-commerce platform enables vendors to order fresh produce, as
and when needed, from farmers across Kenya. The system is a win for both
sides – farmers have guaranteed access to a fairly-priced, transparent,
mobile marketplace while vendors can consistently source high-quality produce,
which is conveniently delivered for free to their doorstep by Twiga. By
increasing efficiency in the supply chain, Twiga is able to reduce waste
and ultimately reduce food prices for end consumers.
"The IFC and TLcom investment will enable
us to reach more farmers, improve efficiency in service delivery and increase
access to high quality produce and foodstuffs for vendors. We will continue
in our mission to provide affordable, quality, and safe food to Kenya's
urban consumers, and reliable markets for farmers across the country."
said Grant Brooke, CEO Twiga Foods.
Twiga will use the new investment to expand
operations and offer new services. Since it launched operations in 2014,
Twiga has grown to work with over 13,000 farmers and 6,000 vendors in Kenya.
The company initially started off matching vendors to banana farmers, but
now works with other produce such as tomatoes, cabbage, mango, potato and
onion. Farmers who sign up with Twiga receive payment within 24 hours.
The company operates collection centers across
the country, in addition to a central pack house with cold storage facilities,
and mobilized trucks and vans for swift collection and distribution of
produce. The smooth logistics system limits Twiga’s post-harvest losses
to five percent, as compared to 30 percent at informal markets, where farmers
typically sell produce.
“Access to markets is a key concern
for smallholder farmers across Africa, many of whom live in remote areas.
IFC’s investment in Twiga supports our thesis that digital solutions in
emerging markets address real time challenges and create more transparency.
Twiga is helping to create a more efficient supply chain that connects
farmers directly to markets, which also increases their incomes,” said
Nikunj Jinsi, IFC’s Global Head of Venture Capital.
“Twiga is proving that smart use of technology
and innovative business models can vastly improve large and inefficient
African markets such as the agricultural supply chain. With capital and
business building support coming from this set of investors Twiga is positioning
for massive value generation, demonstrating the increasing maturity of
the Africa venture capital space”, said Maurizio Caio from TLcom.
Agriculture is a key driver of Kenya’s economy,
accounting for an average of 25 per cent
of total GDP from 2013 to 2017. Along with the investment, IFC’s Advisory
Services team will work with Twiga to support farmers in improving food
safety, environmental and social practices.
IFC supports the mobile technology sector to help promote social inclusion
and business growth. Over the past three years, IFC has invested
over $1.5 billion in telecommunication, technology, and startup companies
IFC’s investment includes funding from the private sector window of the
Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). Donor partners
to the GAFSP include the governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands,
the U.K. and the U.S. GAFSP’s concessional funding allows IFC to extend
its reach into more fragile markets and to invest in riskier projects that
have a strong potential to promote food security and reduce poverty among
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank
Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private
sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3
billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the
power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org
About TLcom Capital
Launched in 1999, TLcom Capital is an Africa focused venture capital firm
with offices in Nairobi, Lagos and London investing in early to growth
stage tech-enabled businesses. Recent investments on the Continent include
Upstream (acquired by Actis), Movirtu (acquired by Blackberry), Andela,
Terragon and mSurvey. For more information about TLcom Capital visit, http://www.tlcomcapital.com/
Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP)
The (GAFSP) is a multilateral mechanism to assist in the implementation
of pledges made by the global community to support country-led investment
plans. GAFSP Private Sector Window (PSW) plays a catalytic role by
supporting private sector investment projects and promoting sustainable
agriculture in developing countries. GAFSP aims to improve the livelihoods
of SMEs and small hold farmers through sustainable solutions to improve
access to finance and reduce risks in agriculture. GAFSP is funded by five
donors including the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom through
DFID, and the United States.
About Twiga Foods
Twiga Foods is a business to business food distribution company that builds
fair and reliable markets for agricultural producers and retailers through
transparency, efficiency and technology. Twiga uses a platform where mobile
technology, a network of food producers, pack houses and vehicles come
together to supply and deliver a variety of produce directly from farmers
to urban retailers. Other Twiga investors include; DOB Equity, Wamda Capital,
1776 VC, AHL Venture Partners and Alpha Mundi. For more information about
Twiga Foods visit, http://twiga.ke