Nigerian agritech start-up, ThriveAgric, announced a $56.4 million raise in debt financing. The start-up, which had earlier gone through a turbulent period, announced on Tuesday that this amount was mainly secured from local banks and other investors like the West Africa Trade and Investment.
Founded in 2017 by Uka Eje and Ayodeji Arikawe, ThriveAgric is an Agric start-up that provides Nigerian farmers with access to capital and a wider market to sell their produce. The start-up has developed proprietary technology which aside from financial support, improves productivity and sales for farmers.
The company supports Africa’s agriculture sector by helping small-scale Nigerian farmers produce high-quality grains. Harvested grains, including maize, rice, and soybeans, are stored in many of the company’s 450+ warehouses in Bauchi, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina states in Nigeria, before being commoditized and offered to local and global trade markets at a premium price.
From the pandemic in 2020, ThriveAgric has had a hard time being unable to repay investors as the pandemic had deeply affected production output. The start-up was consistently met with vitriol on social media over unpaid fees by hundreds of investors. The company disclosed that it had lost over N100 million in 2020 due to transportation problems.
Things started taking a turn for the better towards the end of 2021 as investors stepped to ThriveAgric’s aid and helped with the funding and restructuring needed to turn the situation around.
The new funding will be deployed towards expanding the company’s 200,000+ farmer base and expanding across Africa into countries like Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya. This is what the CEO, Eje Uka had to say about the funding.
“The new investment takes us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of building the largest network of profitable African farmers using technology to ensure food security. We look ahead with renewed confidence knowing that our smallholder farmers will benefit financially even more from this new investment. Despite a volatile backdrop over the past few years, brought about by the global pandemic, ThriveAgric witnessed temporary payment disruptions to our retail crowd funders. However, we overcame those challenges within a year and maintained company profitability. Our solid financial performance underscores investors’ faith in ThriveAgric.
It is great to see that the market has overwhelmingly backed our farmers, and they are confident in the strategic decisions we have taken. ThriveAgric has increased its footprint to 20 states in Nigeria, and we look forward to a lengthy period of growth as we continue to link African farmers to capital, data-driven best practices, and access to local and global markets for their commodities.”
This is not the first time the company has raised funding. It raised $9 million in 2020, and $1.5 million in 2021, bringing the entire money raised to $67.5million. The company has also been profitable, with its revenue multiplying 5X in the past year alone, reaching a year-on-year increase of 277 per cent in farmer numbers.
This funding will no doubt improve the situation for small farmers in Nigeria, as ThriveAgric has over the years helped farmers earn more from farming. These farmers constitute up to 80 per cent of the country’s agric industry, which is worth $400 million, but live on less than $2 per day. The company enables farmers to sell at better prices (up to 25 per cent higher) by introducing them to bigger markets and food processing chains.