Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund Invests in FarmDrive
After keeping our lips sealed for some time, we can finally announce that Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund has joined the FarmDrive family.
The $1 million Spark Venture Fund, launched by Safaricom in 2015, aims to support the successful development and growth of high potential mobile tech start-ups in Kenya through a combination of investment, business development support and technical assistance leveraging on Safaricom’s unique capabilities, assets and market positioning.
FarmDrive is targeting the often overlooked niche of accessible financial services for smallholder farmers by harnessing the power of machine learning, data analytics, and user-friendly SMS systems. This unique combination played a significant role in the Fund’s decision to invest.
“In an era when market uncertainty is creating new challenges for the agricultural sector, mobile-based technology solutions like FarmDrive can empower farmers with the critical access to finance and to help expand their access to other essential services,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
This investment will bolster FarmDrive’s development into a leading data analytics company building tools that drive the delivery of innovative solutions to smallholder farmers, all along the ag value chain. We’re excited for the year to come, and we can’t wait to embark upon this new phase of growth with Safaricom by our side.
Safaricom transforms lives.
We provide voice, data, financial services and enterprise solutions for a range of subscribers, small businesses and government, using a variety of platforms.
As the biggest communication company in East and Central Africa, Safaricom delights over 25.1 million subscribers, providing over 200,000 touch points for its customers and offering over 100 different products under its portfolio.
Listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and with annual revenues in excess of Kshs 150 Billion, Safaricom invested Kshs 32.13 billion in infrastructure this year, providing over 78% of Kenya’s population with 3G coverage and providing 2G coverage to 95% of Kenyans. Safaricom has harnessed its proprietary fibre infrastructure to build a dedicated enterprise business which provides managed IT services to clients in the East African region.
Safaricom pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful service of its kind anywhere in the world. Launched in March 2007, M-PESA now has over 23 million customers and over 100,000 M-PESA Agent outlets countrywide.
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FarmDrive is a Kenyan-based data analytics company developing technologies to address the global $450 billion agricultural funding gap. FarmDrive leverages alternative datasets to create comprehensive credit scores and decisioning tools which financial institutions use to lend to smallholder farmers at the base of the pyramid. This solution is bringing financial services to the untapped market of African smallholder farmers.