Taimba, a Nairobi-based agritech startup that connects small-scale farmers to urban retailers, has raised USD 100 K from U.S-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital via the gender-lens portfolio, CoLABS.
The funds, as revealed to WeeTracker by GMC, will help strengthen Taimba’s warehouse and delivery logistics infrastructure, as the firm plans to expand its services to 6 new markets in Nairobi.
The capital injection will also help the agritech pilot in Mombasa and Kisumu cities with a new product catalogue, and help it replicate a successful model in other East African countries in the next five years.
Taimba sources agricultural products directly from the rural small-scale farmers and delivers directly to informal greengrocers, schools, hospitals and restaurants within Nairobi.
Using a mobile-based cashless platform, the startup is able to eliminate the middlemen and shrink the agricultural value chain. The startup was founded by Dominique Kavuisya and Joan Kavuisya in April 2017.
The agritech says it currently has more than 2,000 farmers in its portfolio and engages with 15 farmer SACCOs (Savings and Credit Co-operatives) selling produce such as potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and carrots on one side and 310 customers on the other comprising informal green grocers (85 percent), restaurants and cafés (10 percent) and Schools and hospitals (5 percent) based out in Nairobi.
Why The Investment?
Women constitute 83 percent of informal greengrocers in Nairobi in the ages of 22 to 39, and 80 percent of farmers in Kenya average age 60.
“By delivering more money in their hands, in addition to the convenience of time, the women served by Taimba have an opportunity to create a better livelihood for themselves and their families,” said Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager – coLABS, Gray Matters Capital.
She goes on to add, “The team has built a solution that can be replicated in other markets in East Africa with minimal tweaks, and we are excited to partner with them in their growth journey.”
The funding marks the fourth investment by the impact investor in Africa after Rwanda based ARED, Ghana based Redbird Health Tech, and Nigeria based Sonocare.
Gray Matters Capital has also supported two start-ups from the continent – Kenya’s parent advisory turned e-commerce start-up MumsVillage and Sierra Leone head quartered EduFin start-up Mosabi as part of its global digital accelerator program – GMC Calibrator earlier this year.
Benefiting Farmers And Vendors
By piloting open contracts with Kenyan farmers, Taimba offers 20-30 percent higher prices as compared to brokers, helping generate better ROI along with direct linkage to urban markets.
This also helps reduce post-harvest wastage by 50 percent. To tackle the problem of constrained cash flow, Taimba partners with financial institutions to provide loans for farmers to purchase certified seeds and fertilizers.
Dominique Kavuisya, Co-Founder and CEO, Taimba, expressed the company’s excitement over becoming a part of GMC coLABs by way of the investment. According to him, the funding validates the agritech’s strides in delivering value to vendors and farmers, as well as its on-ground impact.
“The funding is a shot in the arm for us to strengthen our warehouse infrastructure by setting up cold storage facilities and also our delivery logistics so that we can cater to 6 new markets within Nairobi,” Dominique added.
Joan Kavuisya, Co-Founder and Head of Product Development, passionate about shortening the value chain to reduce the cost of food and building traceability of fresh produce sources as a way to play her part in sustainable practices, said Taimba will be all about quality fresh produce grown with good farming practices.
“We plan on using technology to fine tune traceability through-out the value chain-from seeds used to other farm inputs. We will expand our tech such that eventually there will be a simple solution that farmers and traders have a way to engage and benefit through us,” he revealed.
Technoserve – the international non-profit organization that promotes business solutions to poverty, has partnered with Taimba as its farmer outreach partner. As for retailers, Taimba offers them the convenience of doorstep delivery of the produce, helping them to save on 3-4 hours of sourcing time and nearly US$ 2-3 on logistics.
Besides that, they are assured of supply of high quality farm fresh produce at lower than market rates. Taimba has also rolled out a microloan facility for its retail customers to help them expand their businesses and to overcome liquidity challenges.