Smallholder Agriculture | March 22, 2022

Apollo Agriculture raises $40 million to bank smallholder farmers in Africa

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, March 22 — Nairobi-based Apollo has used satellite imagery data and machine learning to underwrite loans to Kenya’s small-scale maize farmers since 2016. It now works with 5,000 local agents to deliver advice and inputs, like fertilizer and seeds, to more than 100,000 farmers. Apollo offers insurance through partners like Kenyan insurance tech startup Pula.

The company has raised $40 million in a Series B financing round led by Softbank Vision Fund to expand in Kenya, enter new markets in east and west Africa, and “deliver more value per acre,” said Apollo’s Eli Pollack.

Added Softbank’s Alexia Yannopoulos, “Embedding valuable financial services like credit, insurance and advice into the supply chain is critical in supporting a more efficient and sustainable global food chain.”

Agrifood investing

Seven out of 10 of Apollo’s farmers say productivity has “very much increased” since they started working with the company, according to Triodos Investment Management, which provided a $1 million senior loan to the company.

Ceniarth this year provided $1.3 million in working capital to Apollo (for context, see “Ceniarth seeks to build ‘bridges to somewhere’ with its impact-first portfolio). Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and CDC Group participated in the new round.