On Saturday 1 November 2014, Village Capital and Juhudi Kilimo announced that Futurepump and Ojay Greene have received a venture capital investment of USD $100,000 as the two top-ranked startups in the VilCap Kenya: Innovations for Agriculture 2014 program.
Seven businesses participated in the VilCap Kenya: Innovations for Agriculture program. These early-stage companies are solving some of the biggest problems facing smallholder farmers in Kenya through business solutions, with long-term benefits for farmers and local communities.
Futurepump has created the Sunflower, a low-cost, high-efficiency piston irrigation pump for smallholder farmers.
Ojay Greene sources fruits and vegetables directly from smallholder farmers and sells them to high-end markets, principally supermarkets and hotels, in Kenya.
The Village Capital program, in partnership with Juhudi Kilimo, Invested Development, the Lundin Foundation, and Stitching DOEN, gave mentorship and business development to these entrepreneurs during three intensive workshops over three months. At the end of the program, the entrepreneurs ranked each other, and the two highest-ranked companies received USD $50,000 each in funding. With the investment capital received, Futurepump and Ojay Greene will further develop their businesses to meet the needs of smallholder farmers across Kenya and empower them with sustainable agricultural solutions.
The announcement of the two top ventures was made after the VilCap Kenya: Innovations for Agriculture 2014 Venture Forum, where the entrepreneurs pitched their business plans to a group of angel investors, venture capitalists, potential partners, and customers. Last month as part of the workshops held to empower the startups, the participants had the opportunity to test the market by presenting their products and services during a Customer Forum organized in Thika.
The 5 other ventures featured in the programme are:
Develatech sells low-cost cook stoves (The Jiko Chap Chap) that reduce harmful CO2 and particulate emissions by 87%, boils water in half the time of three stone fire competitors and uses up to 180% less wood.
Edge Group is a cloud-based, offline and self-service Management Information System that enables middle and lower level farmer organizations to manage memberships, inventory and payments at 1/10 the cost.
F3 Life provides commercial credit to smallholder farmers in Kenya and, to our knowledge, is the only commercial credit provider in East Africa or elsewhere to build natural resource management into loan terms.
MobiCrop is an online micro-investment crowdfunding platform that facilitates investments into farming ventures.
Wakala Africa has developed an innovative, drought resistant line of vegetable seeds and is building a local brand that will inspire as much trust and confidence as imported seed varieties.
Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital, and Shadrack Mutunga, General Manager of Juhudi Kilimo, adress the media at the Innovations for Agriculture Venture Forum on 31 October 2014
Attendees at the Innovations for Agriculture Venture Forum held in Nairobi on 31 October 2014
Toby Hammond, Managing Director of Futurepump
Yvette Ondachi, Managing Director of Ojay Greene