Emata, an East African agri-fintech startup, completes $2.4 million seed funding round

by MMC
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Ematathe agricultural financing solution for farmers in East Africa, announced that it has successfully completed a seed fundraising of $2.4 million, comprising $800,000 in equity and $1.6 million in dollars of retrocession capital.

The fundraising was supported by African Renaissance Partners – the venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs in East Africa and the Horn of Africa; Norrsken Accelerator – an investment arm of Europe’s largest impact technology ecosystem; Zephyr Acorn – an investor in technology start-ups in East Africa; famous Swedish angel investor Marcus Boström; and a global venture philanthropy company – the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

Proceeds will be used to expand Emata’s agricultural loan offering across East Africa – both in its first market, Uganda, and via an imminent international expansion – which will most likely be Tanzania . It will focus on developing its core markets – dairy and coffee. A multicultural company since its inception, Emata’s other businesses are oilseeds and corn, while expansion is also planned in the potato sector.

As East Africa rapidly digitizes, Emata’s business model addresses East Africa’s lack of agricultural finance – by providing automated loans to farmers. This reduces costs and makes it possible to lend to smallholders at rates 5 times more affordable than the informal loans they have often relied on until now. Instant loans and data-driven decisions benefit all farmers equally, without the need for collateral.

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Emata has digitized the entire lending process and is integrated into the agricultural value chain – through its partnerships with cooperatives and farmer organizations – facilitating rapid scale-up. Such partnerships also reduce risks to Emata’s business model, as they provide access to a direct source of repayment – ​​with loan repayments being deducted by Emata’s partners on its behalf. By solving the financing challenge, Emata helps farmers increase their productivity, income and food production.

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In 2022, Emata grew 7x year-over-year, now has 50 farming partners – reaching over 40,000 individual farmers – and has disbursed $1 million in loans.

Emata’s credentials have already attracted worldwide attention. The multi-award-winning company won the coveted “Best Newcomer/Best New Startup” at the Global Startup Awards 2023, beating 80,000 other startups from around the world and was named to the list of 30 Startups to Watch by Yale Africa Startup Review. 2023.

Bram van den Bosch, founder and CEO of Emata, said:

“We are delighted to finalize our $2.4 million seed funding round, backed by leading, impact-focused investors who recognize the enormous potential of digital agricultural lending in East Africa and beyond. Emata challenges farmers to dream big and removes traditional barriers that have made agricultural financing inaccessible for the vast majority. Our solution turns a lifelong struggle into a five-minute process and is already having a concrete impact on thousands of farmers in East Africa.

The need for agricultural finance in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at $240 billion by consultancy Dahlberg, with the value of Emata’s target markets in East Africa at $13 billion.

Other awards won by Emata include “CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa” and “Fintech Abu Dhabi: The Search in Africa”. They are alumni of the Norrsken Impact Accelerator, based in Stockholm, and the Plug and Play Tech Center Accelerator, based in Silicon Valley.

Magdi A. Amin, Managing Partner at African Renaissance Partners, commented:

“We are delighted to support Emata – the digital and affordable solution for farmers in East Africa. Our portfolio is for high-growth companies that use technology to solve real-world problems that Africans face every day. Emata is a perfect fit for us: fast growing, with many competitive differentiators, a digital strategy at its core, and material impact. The company has a bright future ahead of it and we look forward to working closely with its management team.

Kanini Mutooni, Executive Director of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, commented:

“Emata is one of those rare early-stage companies that has a business model where impact is seamlessly integrated; more loans to farmers means increased financial inclusion for farmers who would never have had access to formal credit. This investment represents the sweet spot for DRK and we are delighted to welcome Emata to our Africa portfolio.

Alex Bakir, General Partner at Norrsken Accelerator, commented:

“Norrsken Accelerator invested in Emata because we believe its team and model place it among the top 1% of global impact companies. We are excited to support the team in the next stage of their impact journey.

Mike Mbari, Investment Director at Zephyr Acorn, commented:

“We are excited about this partnership with Emata. With agriculture contributing 25% to East Africa’s economy and employing over 70% of the population, improving access to affordable and flexible financial services, such as credit facilities , is poised to boost economic growth and improve livelihoods. Emata fits perfectly with Zephyr Acorn’s thesis of investing in promising and impactful high-growth startups that use technology to bring vital services to underserved markets in East Africa.



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