Afrikamart, the West African agritech startup, has announced the closing of an $850,000 seed round of financing from leading venture capital groups including the BLOC Smart Africa fund managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, Orange Digital Ventures, Launch Africa and Teranga Capital.
Founded in 2018 by Albert Diouf and Mignane Diouf, Afrikamart is an agritech distribution platform for fresh produce that offers its marketing services to producers – suppliers – and operates as a digital purchasing center for retailers, hotels and restaurants – customers.
To date, nearly 2,000 farmers have provided Afrikamart with fresh produce; up to 10 tons have been delivered per day to 500 regular customers across 4 cities in Senegal. The company expects to have onboarded a total of 5,000 farmers and 2,000 retailers by year-end.
The startup combines extensive use of digital with its experience in the food value chain to – Facilitate information exchange between suppliers and customers (purchase price, sale price, product availability, harvest and purchase forecasts) – Organize end-to-end logistics with a network of transporters – Optimize financial and product flows according to different purchase and payment terms
Afrikamart said the proceeds from the financing will allow the company to ramp up its purchases from smallholder farmers across the country and efficiently manage the logistics and last-mile delivery of 14 fresh types of vegetables directly to street vendors and small retailers, restaurants and hotels in Dakar and Mbour.
By doing that, the startup will create efficiencies, enhance information and trust in the marketplace, increase the diversity and quality of local produce available to consumers, eliminate late payments by intermediaries, reduce waste (up to 50% of fresh produces is typically wasted), and position itself as the buyer and seller of choice for both producers and retailers.