Startups are usually born out of the desire to solve an identified problem. Many startups have come up in Africa with the desire to find solutions to the existing problems in at least their community. Khula is one of these many startups with the desire to make an impact in its community. Khula is an agritech startup based in South Africa and provides innovative solutions aimed at assisting the agriculture sector thrive again, and small African farmers.
The South Africa-based agritech reported that it had raised the sum of $1.3 million in a pre-seed round led by AECI — one of Africa’s biggest agrochemical companies. The company said that the funds will be used to expand its farming software and operations nationwide. South African impact investor E Squared Investments was also a part of the round.
The backing that Khula received from AECI comes with an access to the lead investor’s wide distribution network which is poised to help the platform scale its inputs app. The partnership promises to be a beneficial one for both parties
A statement by Quintin Cross — Managing Director of AECI Plant Health said that “Khula has very attractive fundamentals, a sizable addressable market, app development capabilities, key agri-business networks and a management team that wishes to work with AECI as their preferred agri-input and technical advisory partner”.
Khula came into existence in 2018 and is the brainchild of co-founders Karidas Tshintsholo, Matthew Piper, and Jackson Dyora. It was founded to provide small farmers with the technology that they need to grow and expand their agricultural businesses. What pushed the founders to establish the startup was the fact that Africa has more land space in the world than any other continent and remains the continent that doesn’t maximize its potentials in terms of agriculture. “It didn’t make sense that we have more land than any other continent. And pretty much everyone on the continent is a farmer and we’re buying food more than we were selling. We wondered how that was possible, considering how big of competitive advantage agriculture is?”, Karidas Tshintsholo said.
Khula has a working ecosystem that includes an Inputs App that gives farmers access to approved agricultural inputs and services from local and international suppliers; a Fresh Produce Marketplace — which provides farmers with a platform to sell produce directly to local and international formal bulk buyers; and the Funder Dashboard — which connects institutional investors with farmers who meet their funding requirements. According to the startup, in the three years that it has been operational, it has witnessed impressive growth. More than 3,000 farmers use the platform and at least 100 suppliers in partnership with the startup.
“The reason we’ve gone with this ecosystem approach is that it’s more of a sticky business model. So we want to allow farmers to use our ecosystem to buy the products they need and get the services they need”, Karidas Tshintsholo added.
The company’s goal is to expand in South Africa and eventually take on Africa.