London-based WeFarm is an agritech startup that focuses on small-holding farms and lets members text their queries. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it answers these questions and serves their needs.
Agritech startup raises funds
In a recent development, the agritech startup has announced that it has raised $11M (approx €9.26M) in its Series A-Plus round of funding. With this funding, the startup has raised a total of $32M (approx €26.95M) in funding, to date.
Investors in this round
The round was led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from new and existing investors, including True Ventures, Rabo Frontier Ventures, LocalGlobe, June Fund, and AgFunder.
Utlisation of the funds
The company says it will use the raised capital to expand its service from an SMS-based tool to a fully online platform where farmers can share knowledge and advice as well as get access to a marketplace of retailers.
Wefarm Founder and CEO, Kenny Ewan, says, “Wefarm is building the definitive platform and network for the world’s biggest vertical. This is perhaps the largest community on Earth and yet it’s been vastly underserved by tech. Today, the community is ready to expand into the online space with us. We have years of learnings and millions of data points to strengthen our first-mover advantage as we build the online expansion of Wefarm for hundreds of millions of farmers.”
What service does Wefarm provide?
Founded in 2015 by Kenny Ewan, WeFarm is a farmer-to-farmer digital network that enables users to share information via SMS. This pandemic witnessed an increase in the demand for these farming inputs, especially in markets with limited movement.
Wefarm’s platform enables farmers to connect to their community, so they can know more, buy smarter, and sell better. To date, 2.5 million farmers have connected with one another for free and without access to the internet via the Wefarm SMS platform. The company claims it was the first technology for leveraging their collective expertise – and pioneering offline tech for the market in 2015.
Today, Wefarm can be accessed online and via SMS – and it is free for farmers to use. The platform enables farmers to share knowledge, and access a marketplace of retailers. Over 37 million knowledge-sharing conversations have taken place on the Wefarm SMS service, while the marketplace has generated $29M (approx €24.4M) in sales, claims the company.
What does the company aim to achieve?
According to Wefarm’s website, there are over 1 billion people directly involved in small-scale agriculture. About 70 per cent of the world’s food is grown by these farmers. Wefarm wants to connect these farmers on a platform so they can more effectively share knowledge and combine their buying and selling power.
The company’s vision is to enable millions of small-scale farmers to fulfil their economic potential.
Using Wefarm, millions of farmers can combine their knowledge and buying power as they tackle global challenges that are impacting their yields such as climate change, limited soil fertility, and growing demands for food worldwide.
Wefarm to launch an online platform
Wefarm is looking for online expansion of its SMS service as a forum-based platform. This will enable farmers to work together to solve problems, support each other, and aggregate their buying and selling power to change the global supply chain.
The launch of a fully online platform comes at a time when internet connectivity is less scarce than it used to be in certain parts of the world.
Kamran Adle, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures says, “By building a highly engaged community of millions of small-holder farmers, Wefarm has created a platform providing greater access to vital knowledge and information, which allows farmers to unlock greater economic potential from their land. In practice that might mean understanding which fertilisers work best, what the market price is for certain goods, or new farming techniques that result in better yields, all of which can make a significant difference to livelihoods.”
Speaking about the market, Adle adds, “It’s also an enormous market with more than 400 million small-holder farmers globally who collectively spend around $400B (approx €336.97B) on farming inputs. There is a huge opportunity for Kenny and the team at Wefarm to achieve incredible scale and we’re excited for the launch of its digital platform which will further accelerate growth.”