BY TOM JACKSON
Based in Nairobi, Apollo Agriculture is a commercial farming platform for small-scale farmers that uses machine learning and automated operations technology to help them access everything they need to maximise their profitability, from financing and insurance, to farming products and optimised advice.
Apollo has already partnered with close to 25,000 farmers so far in 2020, and has now raised US$6 million in Series A investment to continue its rapid growth. The round was led by Anthemis Exponential Ventures with participation from Leaps by Bayer, Flourish Ventures, Sage Hill Capital, To Ventures Food, Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital, among others.
“We are incredibly excited to bring together a world-class group of investors, with expertise across financial services and agriculture, to help power Apollo’s growth in the coming years. Our mission is more important than ever in the context of COVID-19, when health risks, supply chain disruptions, and reduced mobility threaten food security for millions globally. Our digital model has enabled us to continue partnering with farmers to produce more food, despite the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19,” said Eli Pollak, Apollo’s chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder.
Benjamin Njenga, Apollo’s chief customer officer and co-founder, described the opportunity.
“Every farmer, everywhere, deserves the opportunity to farm profitably, and that is not the norm today. There are more than 500 million small-scale farmers globally, and average farm yields per acre across Africa are only 10-20 per cent of those in North America. Apollo exists to change that. We partner with farmers to maximise their farm productivity and profitability,” he said.
Vica Manos, partner at Anthemis, said the Apollo Agriculture team was solving a massive gap in the agricultural space by helping small-scale farmers turn their daily labour into profitable businesses.
“We are very excited to back the Apollo team on their journey to change the lives of millions of farmers that have been overlooked by traditional financial services companies, by providing them with the right instruments, from optimized financing and farming tools to valuable farming advice. In light of the global pandemic, their mission is more urgent than ever,” he said.