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Safaricom investment sparks Kenya agro ventures

SafaricomFrom MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI  – THE $1 million Safaricom Spark Venture Fund has announced its sixth and final investment in agri-tech startup iProcure.
iProcure is the largest agricultural inputs supply chain platform in Kenya, linking farmers and farmer cooperatives to manufacturers of agricultural inputs.
Through accrued efficiencies, iProcure offers farmers discounts of between 10 and 20 percent every time they purchase farming products.
“We started the Spark Fund with the aim of supporting emerging startups that use technology to transform lives,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
“As it joins the outstanding crop of Spark Fund investees, iProcure will be instrumental in harnessing the power of technology to improve Kenya’s agri-business processes.”
The startup seeks to increase agricultural output in Kenya, which has remained comparatively low to other countries due to challenges including access to and use of quality inputs.
“We share an underlying belief, with Safaricom, that small holder farmers are essential to our nation’s food security, and look forward to playing our part in improving the welfare of farmers across Kenya,” said Nicole Galletta, Chief Operations Officer, iProcure.
Started in 2014, the $1 million Safaricom Spark Venture Fund seeks to make late-seed to early-growth stage investments in startups using mobile technology as an enabler.
The Fund received more than 600 applications to date, out of which it has invested in six startups.
In August 2015, Sendy – a marketplace for businesses and individuals to connect with drivers to make deliveries simple and transparent – became the first investee of the fund.
To access iProcure, farmers dial *283# and then select which input they would like to purchase.
The farmer then receives a voucher which allows them to claim the inputs from an iProcure farm depot or collection point. The company currently covers several counties across Kenya mainly in Central and Rift Valley but has plans to scale to Western and Eastern Kenya this year.

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