Seedstars winner AgroCenta secures third of $750 000 funding from US investor

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Fresh off being named 2018 Seedstars Global winner, Ghanaian agritech startup AgroCenta is hoping to raise $750 000 in funding in a new seed round and has raised about a third of this from a US investor, the startup’s co-founder Michael Ocansey said.

Ocansey was speaking to Ventureburn last Thursday (12 April) at the Seedstars Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the startup was crowned the 2018 Seedstars Global winner and with it $500 000 in equity investment from Seedstars. He said $230 000 of the round had been committed by the US investor.

AgroCenta is an online sales platform started in 2015 by Ocansey and Francis Obirikorang. It connects smallholder farmers directly to an online market to sell their commodities.

The latest funding is being led by German venture capital firm Greentech Capital Partners, which together with other parties has previously invested a total of $200 000 in the company.

The 2018 Seedstars Global winner Ghana’s AgroCenta has secured a third of the $750 000 in funding it aims to raise in a second round of funding

The startup’s other investors include a New York-based family investment trust Isabaltic Trust, Ghanaian investment firm Frontier Business Solutions, SANAD Technical Facility in Jordan, and the World Trade Organisation.

Ocansey said attending the summit was useful as he and Obirikorang were able to meet potential investors as well as mentors who helped give them some pointers.

“These are people who have worked in the industries that you are trying to work in. Some of them have worked in Africa, some have worked in Accra. They have worked with some of the companies we are working with.

“They sort of have the experience with other companies, things that haven’t worked. They can actually give you the heads up on that so that you don’t make the same mistakes,” he said.

Fellow co-founder Francis Obirikorang said in a statement that clinching the top prize at the Seedstars Summit will have an “enormous impact” on this startup’s growth over the coming years.

“I am sure that, just like other previous winners, it will open funding, learning and growth opportunities. In emerging economies, we lack not only the infrastructure but also access to some fundamental tools like networking and mentoring,” he said.

The jury, was an international panel which included Benjamin Benaïm, from Seedstars and Nikunj Jinsi and Theta Capital Group.

Seedstars co-founder Pierre-Alain Masson said AgroCenta took home the top prize because of the disruption they are creating in the farming industry.

“It’s very important that investors know that talent is everywhere and that the way startups and tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets are addressing the underlying social challenges in their home countries, be it agriculture or access to finance, basic education, healthcare or energy supply is a tremendous business trend and opportunity,” said Masson.

Featured image: AgroCenta CEO Francis Obirikorang at a press conference at the 2018 Seedstars Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland (Supplied)

Ventureburn was a guest of Seedstars at its annual world summit which takes place today (12 April 2018) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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