Wefarm, Nairobi and London based, farmer-to-farmer digital network, announced in a press release that it had secured USD 5 Mn in additional seed funding. Silicon-Valley-based True Ventures led the round. The funding round had participation coming in from angel investors including founders of Skype, WordPress and the Norrsken Foundation. There was also a significant follow-on investment from LocalGlobe and Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV).
With the world’s population projected to grow from seven to nine billion by 2050 and climate change showing no signs of decline, alleviating pressures on the global food supply chain is paramount. Wefarm is a crowdsourced peer-to-peer network for offline communities that enable the small-scale farmers – many of whom live in remote areas without access to the internet – to connect with one another to solve problems, share ideas, and spread innovation.
Through Wefarm, farmers can ask questions in their language on anything related to agriculture, from battling a crop disease or an infestation of armyworm to best practices for growing cash crops such as maize, tomatoes, coffee and tea. The agritech startup uses machine learning and the power of the crowd to source the very best content and knowledge from a network of over 660,000 farmers, even via SMS.
Wefarm is currently operating in Kenya and Uganda with plans to expand into other areas of Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa imminently. It has a user retention rate of 90 percent and more than 30 percent of farmers actively contribute their knowledge every month.
“We believe farmers are often the best and most relevant source of information and experience for other farmers,” said Kenny Ewan, Founder and CEO of Wefarm. “We’re proud to have created a network that empowers the close to one million farmers who use our service, and we’re excited to expand our reach and product capabilities this year.”
“Wefarm’s mission is incredible, and we’re ecstatic to support Kenny and his team,” said Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures. “The company democratizes technology, promotes the fluidity of information across an entire segment of the food supply, and helps farmers become more productive. Wefarm is the kind of movement True was designed for, and we are excited to empower this business and mission for the world.”
Wefarm will use this round of funding to develop commercial product offerings and build a new set of features. One such feature, which aligns with Wefarm’s belief in putting the farmer first, is Wefarm’s Project Farmlog – an interactive, “smart farming assistant” that works even on feature phones. It will use machine learning to intelligently support farmers both throughout the growing season and also with their livestock, based on the questions they have asked.
True Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology startups. With capital under management more than USD 1.4 Bn, True Ventures provides seed and Series A funding. The investor has funded more than 200 companies and acquired multiple companies.