ImpactAlpha, July 17 – Apollo Agriculture underwrites and provides credit to small farmers by combining remote sensing, satellite data and mobile money to analyze farms and provide advice, loans and farming inputs, like fertilizer and seeds. The Kenyan startup’s first product is a combination of the three for Kenya’s maize farmers.
Dutch development finance institution FMO and Rabobank Foundation are each investing $250,000 in the startup, to help Apollo expand its lending services. FMO’s investment comes out of its €1 billion MASSIF Fund—a high-risk, early stage fund aimed at supporting entrepreneurs in emerging markets. The 12-year-old fund has made more than 425 investments in 50 countries, with 40% of the investments supporting companies in Africa.
FMO and Rabobank are also partners on a $660 million venture fund in South Africa called Arise. Norwegian state-owned fund, Norfund, has also backed that scheme.
FMO has also secured €75 million ($87.5 million) from the European Commission for another one of its investment vehicles: its NASIRA program, which aims to increase access to capital for African and European entrepreneurs, particularly women and migrants.
Similar to the MASSIF Fund, NASIRA is aligned with FMO’s track record of taking on “the highest risks at an early stage” to “pave the way for other investors.” The €75 million commitment will provide a guarantee to other investors in NASIRA. FMO is looking to raise €500 million ($583 million).