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Tulaa Raises $627k Seed Round for Smallholder Fintech

July 23, 2018

Tulaa, a Kenyan fintech startup for smallholder farmers, has raised $627k in seed funding in a round led by AHL Venture Partners, one of the largest impact-focused venture capital firms in Africa.

The oversubscribed round also attracted investment from other impact investment funds Global Partnerships/Eleos Social Venture Fund, Beyond Capital, and Rafiki Ventures.

Tulaa uses mobile technology and artificial intelligence to enable smallholder farmers to access inputs, credit and offtake markets in Kenya by connecting them to suppliers, buyers and banks. The platform also helps input suppliers, financial institutions, NGOs, coops, and commodity buyers, according to Tulaa.

For input suppliers, the platform can aggregate demand among smallholders to help increase sales to that group as well as build brand loyalty. For banks it can help to increase their loan portfolios with smallholders as well as lower risk and provide access to data for credit risk assessment. Commodity buyers will be able to use Tulaa to aggregate and source quality produce at lower costs, and reduce the risk of handling cash through Tulaa’s mobile money payments.

The proceeds of the round will be used to expand the service to more agro-vet retailers, traders, and markets in Kenya, and to continue the development of the technology platform, especially its AI applications, according to Hillary Miller-Wise, founder and CEO of Tulaa.

“Our main challenges stem from the complexity of managing an ecosystem,” she told AgFunderNews. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to work with excellent enterprise partners such as Syngenta or OCP. We are constantly identifying ways to align incentives for buyers and sellers on the platform, which is as much art as it is science.”

In July 2017, the company spun-out of Esoko, a Ghana-based mobile data service focused on smallholder farmers, and since then has amassed 10,000 farmers on the platform and is already bringing in revenues, according to Miller-Wise.

Having AHL as lead investor was very helpful for raising the round, according to Miller-Wise who added that interest from investors in platform-based businesses like Tulaa was growing.

“Tulaa’s end-to-end platform will improve crop yields while driving improved sales for smallholder farmers and delivering impressive returns to investors,” said Ben Peterson, senior partner at AHL. “We believe Tulaa has the team and the product to achieve great results.”

Image: Tulaa

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