Image credit: AgFunder

Digitizing the supply chain drove investment increase in African agrifoodtech in 2022

April 19, 2023

Data Snapshot is a regular AFN feature analyzing agrifoodtech market investment data provided by our parent company, AgFunder.

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Africa was the only region globally where agrifoodtech investment increased in 2022, according to AgFunder’s latest agrifoodtech investing report in collaboration with Temasek. Startups raised $640 million in 2022, up from $528 million in 2021.

African agrifoodtech funding has steadily increased since 2019, and investment trends have looked promising over the years. The realization that food systems are highly susceptible to world events and that technology could make these systems more resilient appears to have shocked and spurred industry players into action.

Image credit: AgFunder

A closer look at Africa’s top five deals indicates that the most-funded startups have a supply chain strengthening angle and an overall mission to make food trade easier and more efficient. Almost $300 million was invested in the top five most-funded startups, across two categories — Ag Marketplaces and In-store Retail Tech startups based in Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt.

These startups, such as Wasoko, MarketForce, MaxAB, ThriveAgric, and Apollo Agriculture, offer access to financing, insurance, agronomic advisory, digital ordering systems, and inputs.

Digitizing supply chains and food retail is a key focus for African startups and highlights the fragmentation of the region’s supply chain and retail network creating a hotbed for inefficiency. Informal retailers sell around 40% to 90% of food in Africa.

Startups are working to smoothen distribution for informal and micro-businesses with marketplaces and fintech tools.

Image credit: AgFunder

A comparison between 2021 and 2022 investments in In-store Retail Tech is striking. In 2021, just $26.6 million was invested in the category, and its biggest disclosed deal was Nigeria’s Alerzo with a $10.5 million Series A, according to AgFunder’s Africa AgriFoodTech Investment Report.

In 2022, close to $200 million was invested in the category, with the Wasoko deal being the most significant.

The fact that they tend to embed some sort of financing solution to create a model is becoming an investor favorite and could account for the increase in funding.

Agribusiness Marketplaces are also seeing this spike in investment, with funding increasing from $9.5 million to $130 million in 2022, with ThriveAgric’s $56.4 million debt round leading the way.

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