The round had participation from Accion Venture Lab, Leaps by Bayer, and Flourish Ventures.
Founded in 2016 by Benjamin Njenga and Eli Pollak, Apollo Agriculture uses agronomic machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile phones to deliver a customized package of credit, high-quality farm inputs, and advice that can double farm yields.
Apollo assesses farmer credit risk and customizes each package to a farmer’s specific location using satellite data, soil data, farmer behaviour data and crop yield models. The company generates revenues on the sale of farm products and earning margins on financing.
“It’s everything a farmer needs to succeed. It’s the seeds and fertilizer they need to plant, the advice they need to manage that product over the course of the season. The insurance they need to protect themselves in case of a bad yea, and then ultimately, the financing,” said Apollo Agriculture CEO Eli Pollak.
Today the company has served over 40,000 farmers since inception, with 25,000 of those paying relationships coming in 2020, according to the CEO.
“We are very excited to back the Apollo team on their journey to change the lives of millions of farmers that have been overlooked by traditional financial services companies, by providing them with the right instruments, from optimized financing and farming tools to valuable farming advice. In light of the global pandemic, their mission is more urgent than ever,” Vica Manos, partner at Anthemis, said.
Apollo Agriculture was a recipient of Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) grant, which provided nine companies from seven countries with more than US$9 million to support projects that expand financial inclusion in rural areas. The startup received US$1.09 million to assist in the further rollout of its customised package of farm inputs and advice on credit to rural farmers in Kenya.