U.S.-Based IFC Leads $10M Series B For Kenyan Mobile Produce Platform

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Kenyan mobile produce platform Twiga Foods has raised a $10 million Series B investment led by U.S.-based International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The m-commerce startup (electronic commerce conducted on mobile phones) secured the investment from the International Finance Corporation, TLcom Capital and the the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with participation from previous investors Wamda CapitalDOB Equity1776 and Swedish oil and mining entrepreneur Adolph H Lundin, according to a press release.

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The startup plans to use the $10 million in funding to expand operations and offer new services that will empower farmers and food vendors. The company has worked with over 13,000 farmers and 6,000 vendors in Kenya over the last four years.

Twiga Foods makes use of mobile phone tech to connect stakeholders on either side of the produce supply and demand, aggregating market participants and finding buyers for farmers’ produce. The company’s web platform also makes it possible for vendors in cities to order fresh produce from smallholder farmers across Kenya’s rural areas.

Since its establishment in 2014, the Kenyan mobile produce platform has raised a total of $30.4 million in funding through eight rounds, according to Crunchbase.

This includes a $10.3 million Series A funding round that was realized in 2017, including $6.3 million in equity and $4 million in debt instruments, according to BiznisAfrica.

Kenyan mobile produce platform
Kenyan mobile produce platform Twiga Foods empowers farmers and food vendors. Photo – AP – Themba Hadebe

Lead investor in the current round, the International Finance Corporation, is a Washington D.C.-based global development institution and member of the World Bank Group focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.

Africa-focused TLcom Capital is a venture capital firm with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London which has previously been involved in Andela‘s $40 million funding round, as well as Kenyan mobile survey platform mSurvey‘s Series A funding round of $3.5 million, which it led.

Earlier this year the African venture firm also made a $5 million investment in Nigeria’s Terragon Group, a data analytics software company, according to the firm.

As part of the investment deal, Wale Ayeni, who heads up IFC’s venture capital activities in Africa, and Maurizio Caio, managing partner at TLcom, will join the Twiga Food board.

Kenyan mobile produce platform participated in MEST incubator

Twiga Foods is a graduate of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a training program, seed fund and Africa’s largest tech incubator based in Ghana.

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology has links throughout Africa, and since launching in 2008 it has already invested over $20 million in African startups, according to GhanaWeb.

Over 350 individual entrepreneurs have graduated from the training program and over 30 tech startups have been launched via seed funding and mentorship courtesy of the incubator.

In addition to Twiga Foods, businesses in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote D’ivoire have benefited from the incubator, with the likes of Kudobuzz, meQasa, Tress, ClaimSync and Saya Mobile finding success under the incubator’s watchful eye.